On the coast of the Moray Firth is the ancient settlement of Nairn, (Inbhir Narann) first believed to have been settled in the 4th century, when a Christian, monastic cell was established. In the 1000’s it is chronicled that a settlement was built up at the mouth of the River Nairn by Norse people.
Nairn was granted a Royal Burgh charter By Alexander I in the 12th Century which gave the townspeople certain trading rights. This status was lost in 1312 but was reinstated by James III in 1476.
In mediaeval times Nairn had the distinction of being a trading centre on the border of the Gaelic speaking fisherfolk to the West and the Scots speaking farmers to the East. This was highlighted by King James VI when he visited the town in 1589, when he remarked that the main street was so long that the inhabitants of one end spoke a different language from those at the other. Nairn’s success was futher enhanced by being a regular port of call for ships from foreign countries.
In 1820 Thomas Telford built the harbour, which further aided the development of the town, being home to 400 fishermen and their families and a fishing fleet of 60 boats by 1850.
The coming of the railway in 1855 brought a new type of industry to Nairn – tourism, with Dr John Grigor extolling the benefits of the favourable climate and the restorative powers of the sea water. The many Victorian villas in the west end of the town having sprung up around this industry, and the seaside resort image first established in Victorian times remains.
With glorious, long sandy beaches and beautiful views across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle it is a wonderful part of the Scottish coast. When visiting you may be lucky enough to see the resident school of Dolphins, seals and many species of wading birds such as Curlew and Oyster catchers. There are many coastal walks to enjoy and to the east there is the Culbin Sands nature reserve at Kingsteps and to the west a viewpoint.