Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Gills Harbour Works Repair Storm Damage

30th March 2014

Photo Gallery

Photograph of Gills Harbour Works Repair Storm Damage

Works have been going on at the Inner Basin of Gills Harbour, on the North coast of Caithness, during the past few weeks.

The project, which is being undertaken mostly using large back-hoe excavators, is mainly aimed at removing boulders and loose jagged rocks from the Basin's sea-floor.

Those became scattered on the seabed there as a result of the exceptional sea-storms of the winter of 2012/13 and caused obstructions to the small fleet of registered creel-boats based at Gills.

The remedial contract, at the Scottish Mainland's most Northerly port, is being undertaken by Pentland Ferries Ltd's Gills Harbour-based 'direct labour squad', under foreman Donnie Shearer, of Upper Warse, Canisbay. It includes repairs to re-instate resulting storm-damage.

The project at the community-owned small port has been awarded grants totalling £25,000:00 from Marine Scotland's Fishery Harbours section, from its 'emergency winter storm-damage restoration fund'. It is designed to remove the offending materials from the Inner Basin 'to maintain its continued safe operation'.

The undertaking has had a tight deadline, with works to be concluded 'by the end of the 2013/14 financial year'.

Mr Bill Mowat, Gills Harbour Ltd's chairman, said that its fishing-boat operators appealed to him in the Autumn to find out whether remedial works were eligible for assistance from Marine Scotland's fisheries harbours emergency 'repair grant scheme'.

He said : 'We provided as much information as we could to Marine Scotland and we were pleasantly surprised at the most helpful attitude of its staff dealing with our subsequent application. We wish to publicly thank the team who dealt so expeditiously with this matter'.

Gills Harbour is best known as the Caithness terminal for Scotland's most successful 'Mainland to Island Group' year-round Roll-on, Roll-off (RO.RO) passenger and freight ferry seaway across the Eastern end of the Pentland Firth to St. Margaret's Hope, in Orkney, 15 miles away: the Firth's 'short-sea route'. The success of Pentland Ferries Ltd is measured by the fact that it receives no public subsidy on its thrice-daily return crossings with the modern 2,400 tonne catamaran ship Pentalina.

The port has been used in recent years by survey-boats and research vessels involved in the early stages of the long-term project to generate large quantities of 'renewable' electricity from the fast-flowing tidal streams of the narrowest East end of the Pentland Firth. All four of the Crown Estate's seabed leases lie near Gills, including MeyGen Ltd's Inner Sound scheme between one mile and 1.5 miles away.

But Mr Mowat added: 'There has been a small-boat fishery from Gills Bay for many generations, back to the days of cod caught by hand-lines and dried for export to Mediterranean lands.

'As well as actual landings, Gills Harbour now serves as a collection point where catches of velvets, edible-crabs and lobsters are loaded on to trucks with aerated sea-water-filled 'vivier tanks' to keep the animals alive for arrival at the main markets in Spain and France.

'Gills Harbour's eight-metre wide 'hard' concrete slipway, which is available at almost all states of the tide, is used by fishing boats from other harbours for sub-surface weed-cleaning from their hulls, for inspections of propellers and other minor repairs'.

'It is also used as a loading point by some Orkney boats purchasing chandlery and fishing gear manufactured in Wick by Caithness Creels Ltd.'

Billy Magee, Lower Gills, Caithness, KW1 4YB.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

New Ferry For Pentland Ferries Arrives SafelyThumbnail for article : New Ferry For Pentland Ferries Arrives Safely
Scotland's most modern + environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient ROPAX ferry ship rge MV Alfred, arrived AM today (Wed 09.10.19 at St Margarets Hope.   The boat went round to Kirkwall immediately at the end of 9,000+ miles voyage from the Strategic Marine yard near Ho Chi Minh city (ex.  
Gills Harbour Ltd Awards Contract To Local FirmThumbnail for article : Gills Harbour Ltd Awards Contract To Local Firm
Gills Harbour Ltd, the community-owned body that owns & operates the busy little port on Caithness's North Coast, has awarded a remedial contract to a Wick-based company.   The deal, won in a competitive tender, has gone to builders/civil engineers Messrs GMR Henderson Ltd, of Martha Terrace in Wick.  
Latest Update From Gills Harbour To Caithness Transport ForumThumbnail for article : Latest Update From Gills Harbour To Caithness Transport Forum
Tidal Turbines Returned To Meygen Site In The Pentland FirthThumbnail for article : Tidal Turbines Returned To Meygen Site In The Pentland Firth
The big offshore construction vessel Seabed Stingray (8,878 tonnes) arrived in the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound from the Cromarty Firth's Nigg Energy Park around 07:00 on Monday (15.10.18) morning with a very special cargo on board.   The 121 metre-long vessel was in the narrow strait between Gills Bay and Stroma Island to replace two of the four 'pioneering' tidal turbines that had been lifted out from SIMEC Atlantis Energy's MeyGen site last Summer for inspection and modification at Nigg.  
Heavy Offshore Construction Vessel Viking Neptun In Pentlnd FirthThumbnail for article : Heavy Offshore Construction Vessel Viking Neptun In Pentlnd Firth
Picture by Gills Harbour Ltd's Hon Sec Lyall Rennie, of Lower Warse, Canisbay KW1 4YB shows the busy Pentalina ferry in foreground approaching the harbour and passing by the heavy offshore construction vessel Viking Neptun.   Deployed on Friday 20th July to recover two Andrtiz 1.5 MW turbines for warranty repairs from the Pentland Firth's Inner Sound from SIMEC Atlantis Energy plc's seabed lease, known as the MeyGen site, just off Gills Bay ( just over 1 NM) in NE Caithness.  
Protest Mounting Over Certain Gills Bay/John O'Groats Bus Services To Be Cancelled
Since the news came out in the John O'Groat Journal that Stage coach are to change bus services for Gills and John O'Groats protests have been getting louder.   the proposed bus timetable changes from 20th August which effectively abolish the direct route from Wick to John o'Groats and Gills.  
New Office-bearer For Gills Harbour Ltd
Gills Harbour Ltd, the community body that owns and runs Gills Harbour on Caithness's North Coast, has a new office-bearer.   At its recent Annual General Meeting, Mr Mark Gibson of Northern View, John O'Groats KW1 4YS, was unanimously appointed as the body's Vice-Chairman.  
Gills Bay Crossing Busiest Sea Route In CaithnessThumbnail for article : Gills Bay Crossing Busiest Sea Route In Caithness
OFFICIAL FIGURES SHOW MORE PEOPLE AND CARS SAILED ACROSS THE PENTLAND FIRTH FROM CAITHNESS TO ORKNEY IN 2016 FROM GILLS BAY THAN ON ANY OTHER ROUTE.   Official figures recently published by Scottish Government 'spending watchdog' body Audit Scotland show that the so-called 'short sea-route' from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope was the busiest seaway to Orkney across the Pentland Firth in 2016.  
Take-over Of One Inner Sound Meygen Contactor By A Venerable Larger One
One of the contractors that has been operating in the Inner Sound for Atlantis RL's MeyGen site has been taken over by another, a much-larger one.   See note on Insight Marine Services Ltd of Cornwall.  
Gills Harbour AGM - Tuesday 21st March 2017Thumbnail for article : Gills Harbour AGM - Tuesday 21st March 2017
Notice of Annual General Meeting: On Tuesday 21.03.2017 @ 19.30.   Gills Harbour Ltd: A Community- owned trading Company limited by guarantee.  

[Printer Friendly Version]