A fishing village in the Moray parish of Duffus, Burghead is situated on a headland overlooking the Moray Firth, 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Elgin. The promontory, which has been occupied since prehistoric times and was a major centre of Pictland, is crowned by the remains of a Pictish fort incorporating a rock-hewn chamber known as The Well. The modern grid-iron town behind the promontory largely dates from the development of the harbour after 1805.
The ancient mid-winter Yule-fire festival known as 'Burning the Clavie' is continued by the local community, or 'Brochers' as they call themselves, on 11th January (Old Yule Night) each year. The Clavie crew led by the Clavie King take it in turn to carry through the streets the blazing tar-barrel or Clavie, which is made from a whisky barrel and set alight with a burning peat.
The harbour trades in timber and for the tourist there are facilities including a camping and caravan site and a museum.