Collieston and Slains

The picturesque village of Collieston and parish of Plains are situated on the north-east coast of Scotland, some twenty miles north of Aberdeen.


Once a thriving and prosperous fishing community, the construction of Collieston’s pier in 1894 inadvertently hastened the demise of the local fishing industry due to the sand build up, so many fishing families left the village to pursue their trade in Torry, Aberdeen.

For older fishermen and their wives who chose to remain in the village, fishing continued to be the focal point of their lives. Collieston became famous for speldings, split and dried haddock or whiting, and day trippers and holiday makers would flock to the village’s Bakery and Refreshment Rooms for a ‘Spelding Tea’ or to buy a ‘take-away’.

Collieston has attracted countless visitors for many years. One famous visitor who stayed in a house on the pier for a short time in 1930 was Aircraftsman T.E. Shaw (Lawrence of Arabia).

Collieston Now

At the beginning of the 21st century former fishermen’s houses, modernised and well-maintained, stand huddled together on terraces overlooking Collieston’s pier, the picturesque harbour and the safe, sandy beach.  Bordering the village, the Forvie National Nature Reserve is popular all year round with walkers and birdwatchers.

Collieston has a cosmopolitan population of around 200 and a variety of community groups to cater for all ages and residents in the village and the wider parish of Slains. 

2 thoughts on “Collieston and Slains

  1. I thought I would send you a copy of the letter I have sent to Aberdeenshire Council. I really do hope the toilets stay open.

    I would have preferred to write a letter but after 5 minutes of looking I have been unable to find an address.
    Looking at a Collieston website I see that you want to close the public toilets at Low Town, Collieston. This is a disappointing decision. As you can see I live in the English midlands, 500 miles away from the north east. But in recent years I have made an annual ‘pilgrimage’ to the village, partly to celebrate my connection with it through the Walker family – fisherfolk many of whom almost inevitably finished up in Aberdeen – and partly because I find it such a beautiful place.
    And there is another thing. My great aunt Annabelle Bruce – ‘Bella of the Bog’ – led the successful protest when the water board wanted to shut off the Bog Wall well in the thirties.
    So it seems that it would be wrong of me not to protest against the closure of the Collieston toilets. Whatever the weather I have never visited the village without seeing other visitors, even in cooler weather. Walkers pass through, people like me visit for a couple of hours, children and their parents enjoy the beautiful, clean, sheltered beach.
    I don’t always have to use the toilet when I visit but I’m getting on now and I can imagine that in future it will be a necessity and a welcome sight. It is an essential amenity which I am sure is used and greatly appreciated by thousands of people every year. Next year I hope we can show our grandchildren the north east for the first time but do not want to have to work the visit round the ability to get to a toilet.
    The other proposals for closure? I cannot argue personally for them but as a general principal, if Aberdeenshire is serious about attracting tourists (even more important in future if the current depression in the oil industry persists), huge efforts should be made to keep all well-used toilets open. Anything else is a false economy.
    Sandy Wood – Grandson of Agnes Jane Bruce from Low Town Collieston (1880-1955)

  2. Hello, I am emailing from South Africa, as a child we had a weekend cottage in Collieston and spent all our weekends out there, so many fond memories, my parents house was at the top of the hill through Collieston, it had a wall around it directly opposite the retired sea captains cottage, which we were always told was the bridge of a ship. It was in the days of speldings being put out on racks and folk coming from far and near to buy, I can still smell them, as the retired sea captain had a rack outside his door. as children what a free life we had rolling down the Brae Head and Dr. Campbell coming out at lunch and supper time with a great bell and ringing it so it could be heard by us all to go home to eat . The byre down somewhere close to the shop where I was sent every morning for fresh milk straight from the cows. the flag used to go up outside the shop if anyone needed the Dr. Mrs Middleton who lived behind us had the switchboard, and only means of commuication to the outside world, in her house. There were weekend and holiday children all playing happily with the children who were lucky enough to live there. Walks and exciting projects over the moors with the banks down to the sea awash with so many wild flowers, primroses and cowslips. Going along the pier on a stormy day and laughing and dodging the waves coming over the wall and getting soaking wet.
    Lovely to find this page and keep in touch with the village, feel so blessed and fortunatel to have been a native of both Aberdeen and Collieston for many years of my life
    Kind regards, Val Smith (nee Goodbrand)

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑