Harbour repairs at Collieston get under way

Repair work under way at storm-damaged Collieston pier.
Repair work under way at storm-damaged Collieston pier.

Specialist contractors moved in this week to begin carrying out repairs to a small Aberdeenshire harbour.

Winter storms have taken their toll on the pier at Collieston and work is under way to remedy some of the damage.

It comes as villagers are looking at a long-term project to preserve the historic pier.

An appeal is being put together to raise more than £500,000, which is the estimated cost of major renovation work.

The village’s Pier Group is working closely with Collieston and Slains Community Council on the project and may seek funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund and other bodies when plans have been finalised.

Pier group chairman David Stewart said they were considering a number of options for preserving the pier.

He added: “It will be a long-term project and we will be looking at applying for Heritage Lottery Funding and for funding from other sources.”

“It’s been estimated that a major renovation project would cost between £250,000 and £1 million with the expectation that it would more than £500,000.”

Even relatively minor, but essential, repairs to the pier each year cost at least £10,000-£20,000.

The money has to be raised by residents as the pier is owned by the village and not eligible for local authority support.

Mr Stewart paid tribute to local people who have helped out following storm damage in the past, putting in hundreds of volunteer hours.

The preservation group is holding an event in Ellon next week as part of an on-going programme of fundraising.

A Christmas craft fair will take place in the Kirk Centre on Saturday, November 16, from 1-4pm.

Collieston pier was built in 1894 to provide a safer harbour for the local fishing fleet.

But it caused the harbour to “silt up” and forced young fishermen to head for the steam trawlers in Aberdeen and Peterhead.

By the late 1950s the structure had fallen into disrepair after years of pounding from north-easterly gales.

Sir Douglas Ritchie had retired to the family home in Collieston and in 1957 set up a local amenities committee.The aim was primarily to raise money for the maintenance of the pier,