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“No scene for me like the bounding sea;
No couch like my cabin pillow!
No fair domain like yon ocean’s plain —
And my coursers, the breeze and billow!”

The Heliotrope.

PETERHEAD, like the neighbouring ports already noticed, has rapidly increased,
within the last twenty years, in all those means, which facilitate and secure the
advantages of trade and commerce. Though long and deservedly resorted to as a
delightful watering place, remarkable for the salubrity of its air, and the beauty of its
situation, the activity of trade was still unknown to its Inhabitants. Its only harbour, a
small basin dug out of the rock, was rarely enlivened by anything that could aspire to
the title of shipping; for in Cromwell’s time, about twenty tons of boat-freight was all
that its diminutive port could lay claim to. The spirit of its inhabitants, however, with an
accurate perception of the natural advantages of the Port, and aided by government in
the preparation for a new era in commercial enterprise, has achieved wonders. An air
of prosperity animates the whole town: the harbour is filled with goodly traders; imports
and exports cover the quays: industry has received a stimulus which communicates its
happy influence to everything around; and Peterhead now holds an enviable station
among the Ports and Harbours of Great Britain.

The point of land on which the town is built, is the most easterly of the mainland
of Scotland. It forms the northeast side of a bay, and is connected with the country,
on the northwest, by an isthmus eight hundred yards in breadth. On Keith-Inch, so
called from the Earl Marischal, are many elegant and substantially built houses; and
on its south-side is an old Castle, erected in the sixteenth century, by George, Earl
Marischal, after the model of one which he had seen in Denmark. Down to the close of
the sixteenth century, Peterhead was only a small fishing-village, and the stranger, who
now passes through its populous streets, and busy harbours, will readily perceive how
much has been accomplished in the interval.

THE HARBOURS are both handsome and commodious- and, having two
Entrances from the south and north, and being equidistant from the Forth and Moray
Friths are much reported to by vessels frequenting the east coast of Scotland. The
annual revenue is under the management of commissioners incorporated by Act of

Parliament. The South Harbour has a depth of between twelve and fourteen feet
water at medium springs, and from eight to ten at neap-tides; but the North Harbour,
during spring-tides, has full eighteen feet water, and at no tide less than fourteen. The
Quay extends to 3350 feet in length; and connected with the harbour is an excellent
graving dock. The shipping belonging to the port amounts to about 12,000 tons; and
the number of vessels that annually take shelter in these harbours, may be estimated
at two hundred and forty. The leading articles of export are grain, meal, eggs, butter,
cattle, fish, and the produce of the fisheries: the imports are groceries, clothing, flour,
salt, iron, timber, coal, lime, and bone-manure. Shipbuilding has long been carried
on to a considerable extent; and in the present day no port of the kingdom sends out
vessels more remarkable for fine proportion and elegant combination of strength and
beauty. During the last half century, Peterhead has carried on an extensive trade with
Greenland, and Davis’ Straits; and takes rank next to Hull in the whale fishery.

The lighthouse, which stands on the Buchan Ness, at the extremity of the south
bay, is of the utmost importance, both as regards the interest of the general trade of the
port, and the prosecution of the herring fishery, which is carried on with great success.

The neighbourhood of Peterhead is renowned for its granite, which is of a
reddish colour and closely resembles that on the west bank of the Lago Maggiore in
Italy. The beautiful pillars in the British Museum, and the Duke of York’s column in
Waterloo-Place, are specimens of it; and materials for many of our public buildings,
such as the docks at Sheerness, have also been furnished from the quarries of

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