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Portsoy Old Harbour.jpg
Portsoy Old Harbour
Portsoy is located in Aberdeenshire
Location within Aberdeenshire
Population1,734 (Census 2001)[1]
OS grid referenceNJ589660
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBANFF
Postcode districtAB45
Dialling code01261
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°40′59″N 2°41′17″W / 57.683°N 2.688°W / 57.683; -2.688Coordinates: 57°40′59″N 2°41′17″W / 57.683°N 2.688°W / 57.683; -2.688

Portsoy (Scottish Gaelic: Port Saoidh)[2] is a town in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The original name may come from Port Saoithe, meaning "saithe harbour".[3]

Portsoy is located on the Moray Firth coast of northeast Scotland, 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Aberdeen and 65 miles (105 km) east of Inverness. It had a population of 1,752 at the time of the 2011 census.[4]

Portsoy is known for local jewellery made from "Portsoy marble" (which is not marble, but rather serpentinite). The annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival was started in 1993 to celebrate the 300th year of the harbour.[5][6]

Portsoy, notably the harbour, has featured in BBC period dramas “The Camerons” and “The Shutter Falls” and a Tennent’s Lager advert parodying the 1949 film Whisky Galore!. It was also the principal location for Gillies MacKinnon’s 2016 film Whisky Galore!, a remake of the 1949 film; Portsoy represented the fictional island of Todday.


Portsoy became a burgh of barony in 1550, under Sir Walter Ogilvie of Boyne Castle, and the charter was confirmed by parliament in 1581.[7][8]

From the 16th century until 1975, Portsoy was in the civil and religious parish of Fordyce.[9] It lost its status as a burgh in 1975 and became a part of the District of Banff And Buchan.[10] In 1996 administration was transferred to the Aberdeenshire council area.[10]

The "Old" Harbour dates to the 17th century and is the oldest on the Moray Firth. The "New" Harbour was built in 1825 for the growing herring fishery,[11] which at its peak reached 57 boats.[12][unreliable source?]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Scotland's Census Results OnLine Archived 7 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland database". Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Scottish Parliament: Placenames collected by Iain Mac an Tailleir" (PDF). Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Locality 2010 / Portsoy". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Scottish Traditional Boat Festival". Portsoy Community Enterprise. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  6. ^ Banffshire Journal, 11 Aug 2009 Archived 12 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Groome, Francis H. "Portsoy". Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland. Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Ratification of the burgh in barony of the town of Portsoy, with certain other privileges". Records of the Parliament of Scotland. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Parish of Fordyce". ScotlandsPlaces. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Burgh of Portsoy". ScotlandsPlaces. Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Portsoy". Banffshire Coast. Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Images of Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, Scotland". Scottish History Online. Retrieved 14 October 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]