The Tarbat Discovery Centre is a museum, as well as a learning and activity centre, dedicated to displaying and preserving the heritage of the intensely historic Tarbat peninsula.
Housed in the refurbished Old Parish Church, it is the site of the only Pictish monastic settlement excavated in Scotland to date and, as such, is of national importance. The Church is in itself an historic time line of six churches that have stood at the same location, with the remains of the crypt dating from as early as the 8th century.
The Centre displays many of the artefacts uncovered during the extensive archaeological investigations of the site along with local exhibitions, parish records, photographic archives and more.
Although the loss of sixteen vessels in the Moray Firth storm in November 1826 brought many applications for lights on Tarbat Ness or Covesea Skerries, it was the former location that was given priority.
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse was engineered by Robert Stevenson and the light was first exhibited on 26 January 1830. The lighthouse bears two distinguishing broad red bands and is 41m (134ft) high. According to local tradition, the site of the lighthouse was once a Roman fort and later used for witches' covens.
Tarbat Ness is a place of special interest for the observation of migratory birds, and seals and dolphins can also be spotted from the headland. There is an interesting walk around the peninsula from the village of Portmahomack.
Portmahomack has a small harbour and a broad, sandy blue-flag beach, edged at low water with rock pools and with natural barriers at both ends. Its idyllic location makes it popular with leisure crafts. Portmahomack lies inside the Moray Firth Special Area of Conservation and if you’re very lucky you might spot a dolphin or two playing out in the bay
The village also boasts a nine-hole golf course with a Cafe and bar that welcomes visitors, several places to eat such as the Carnegie Cafe, The Caledonian Bistro, and a village shop and Post Office.
Portmahomack features a fine cast iron fountain by the harbour (dated 1877) which commemorates, in Gaelic and English, the introduction of ‘gravitation water’ (piped water) to the village.
Just outside Carnegie Hall, Portmahomack's community hall, you'll find the recently refurbished St Colman’s Well, named after St Cholmaig (or St Colman). Portmahomack is known in Gaelic as ‘Port mo Chalmaig’ or St Colman’s Port.
Tarbat Discovery Centre
Tarbat Ness Lighthouse
Beach & Harbour
Fountain & Well