MHG33839 - Fishing station, Bettyhill


A fishing station, in use during the 19th century. Consisting of first a boil house, then an icehouse and dwelling house.

Type and Period (1)

  • FISHING STATION (19th Century - 1810 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

Simple and partly ruinous, this grouping of buildings are valuable survivors of a once thriving local industry which operated on the River Naver during the 19th and 20th centuries. Salmon was caught by means of a sweep net and transported the small distance from the shore to the fishing station. Each day's catch was washed, gutted, and cooked in the boilhouse before being salted and packed into wooden barrels, or sealed in large tins. The packed fish was taken along a track to a natural port at the nearby headland and dispatched by sea. A plan of 1810 shows the boilhouse in existence, it is thought that the present boilhouse follows this footprint and contains original fabric (the brick gable ends demonstrate later 19th re-build). In 1846 it is recorded that the ice house was built marking an increase in productivity, it is possible that the 2-storey dwelling house was constructed in response to this. The ice house enabled salmon to be stored before transportation and probably allowed fresh salmon to be packed on ice and dispatched on fast ships to London and other ports.

Between the icehouse and the village is a shallow depression in the ground (formerly a pond) which was used to stock the icehouse with fresh ice in cold weather, otherwise the ice would have been collected and transported from further inland. The Ordnance Survey maps show that there was an outshot to the rear of the boilhouse, this is no longer, however former access to it is indicated by bricked up openings in the rear wall. Due to conservation measures the fishery completely ceased operation in 1992. The ice house and boilhouse are at present (2003) without their doors and windows, it is noted that the roof of the boilhouse is beginning to fail, with slabs slipping. The nearby concrete pier does not appear on the 1st or 2nd edition Ordnance survey maps, most likely being built as a more direct means of dispatching the fish, replacing the short journey up to the headland. It is interesting to note that one can discern a considerable amount of blasting to have taken place at the rocky foreshore, some time in the 19th century. This enabled the fish to be landed and carried up to the station with greater ease. <1>

See the attached records for individual buildings. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NC 6996 6212 (120m by 120m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC66SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish FARR

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Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

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