Towards the end of the 19th Century when about 50 yawls, manned by 200 fishermen were fishing out of Collieston, proposals to provide a deep, sheltered harbour were widely mooted.
On 17th October 1894, Lady Gordon Cathcart of Cluny Castle, the proprietor of Slains Estate, laid the foundation stone for a pier to be built which would close a gap through the ridge of rocks called ‘the Black Rig’ on the east side of the haven. Locally, this gap was referred to as the ‘North’ entrance. Unfortunately the closing of the eastern entrance led to a considerable accumulation of sand within the new harbour and this, together with the advent of steam trawlers working out of Aberdeen, resulted in a steady drift away from the village by fishermen and their families to Torry.
By the mid 1920s only about a dozen small fishing boats worked out of Collieston and the Harbour Trustees had disbanded. After World War II the pier was in an advanced state of disrepair, battered each winter by furious gales.
An Amenities Committee was formed in 1957 and staged the first of its annual summer Galas the following year. Much of the funds raised over the years went towards pier repairs.
At the end of the 1980s the whole of the inner face of the parapet required renewal. The villagers and lovers of Collieston from far and near, together with Grampian Regional and Gordon District Councils, raised £60,000 to carry out the work in the summer of 1990. To reflect the change of use of Collieston Harbour from commercial fishing to leisure and recreation and to ensure its future, the Collieston Harbour Act of 1894 was updated by Parliament as “The Collieston Harbour Revision Order, 1991” which came into force in November of that year. This Order required re-establishment of the Harbour Trustees. Three village members were elected in December 1991, being joined by four ex-officio members – the area Councillors from Grampian Region and Gordon District, the Minister of Ellon and Slains Church and the Factor of Slains Estate. The Trustees at once established a fund to ensure, as far as possible, that the cost of repairs to the pier might be met as the winter gales dictate.
Now the Pier is once again in need of repair…
Efforts are continuing to raise funds to pay for major repairs to the pier. Even relatively minor, but essential repairs each year cost at least £10,000 or £20,000. This has all to be raised by the village since the pier is owned by us and is not eligible for local authority support.
Check out Tae Save a Puir Pier on You Tube…