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Assurance given after concerns over Thurso harbour safety


By Gordon Calder


The concerns were centred on a part of the harbour area at Thurso's Riverside Road.
The concerns were centred on a part of the harbour area at Thurso's Riverside Road.

A CAITHNESS councillor says he is relieved there are no safety issues at a section of Thurso harbour after concerns were raised by local fishermen.

Councillor Struan Mackie contacted Highland Council after wooden fenders at part of the harbour in the town's Riverside Road showed signs of "significant deterioration".

The fenders protect steel piling which helps supports the pavement and road above. A sewage pipe is also located there.

Councillor Mackie says two of the wooden fenders are badly weathered and need to be repaired, although he is pleased the steel piling is structurally fine.

He says the deteriorating fenders can be seen at a point along from the historic Old St Peter's Church.

Councillor Mackie, who represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness, contacted the local authority after concerns were raised by creel fishermen who moor their boats there, and also by a member of the public.

Staff from Highland Council's harbour board, which is responsible for the facility, have said the steel piling is safe.

A close-up showing the deteriorating state of wooden fenders at Thurso harbour.
A close-up showing the deteriorating state of wooden fenders at Thurso harbour.

Councillor Mackie said: "Staff have been back in touch to let me know that the deterioration is on wooden fenders and is not the actual piling. These wooden planks sit in front of the steel and add protection, and it is that wood that is being eroded, particularly on two sections.

"The integrity of the structure itself does not appear to be at risk, which is a great relief given that it is an actively used part of the harbour and a public thoroughfare.

"Council staff will be doing a further inspection to ensure that they have inspected the structure in its entirety, which is welcome. Ward councillors received a detailed update by email from senior harbour staff.

"I am delighted they have taken the concerns seriously and have ensured that the piles are fully inspected.

"I am relieved there is no structural problem but would like to see the wooden fenders reinstated as soon as possible, as they are deteriorating. This seems to have been ongoing for a while but the situation has become worse in the past couple of months. I think a big element of the problem is wear and tear."

A Highland Council spokesman said: "Previous inspections have deemed the structure to be sound. However, it is regularly monitored and is expected to be inspected again next month during low tide."



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