New surf facility hailed as 'great asset' for Thurso
THE new watersports base at Thurso East has been hailed as a "great asset" for the local surfing fraternity.
The facility – commissioned by the Rotary Club of Thurso – was officially opened by Viscount Thurso, Rotary president Carol Rosie and North Shore Surf Club chairperson Jason Simpson on Saturday.
Thurso has been a mecca for watersports, mainly surfing, for a number of years but lacked basic facilities. In 2016 the Rotarians commissioned ideas for a new community project, and it was agreed they should address the need for facilities for surfers in the area.
The site at Thurso East was made available by Viscount Thurso, who said: “Thurso East has been used for several years by surfers on an informal basis, and I’m delighted to support this project which provides the much-needed facilities which will be an asset to the community."
In November 2016 a pre-planning application was made to Highland Council and was given a favourable response. With assistance from North Shore Surf Club members, detailed plans were drafted and full planning permission for the building was granted in November 2017.
The cost of the project was £175,000 and a funding package was secured with the support of the Highland Leader Programme, Caithness and North Sutherland Fund and the Rotary Club of Thurso Community Fund. Norbloc Construction was awarded the contract and construction was completed in July 2019.
The building is timber-clad with a mono-pitched roof and has toilets, showers, a meeting room, a safety equipment store, a covered viewing area and a waste store. There is a hard-standing parking area for up to 20 vehicles, and access steps down the coastal slope to the reef from Lady Janet’s Walk.
Carol Rosie said: “We were delighted to work with our project partners in providing a community facility for watersports at Thurso East. A project of this type has been talked about for a while now, but thanks to the Highland Leader Programme, Caithness and North Sutherland Fund, Viscount Thurso and Rotary’s community fund we now have a great building to support surfing and other watersports or community groups in the area."
Jason Simpson said: "The facility will be a great asset, allowing the club to focus more on training and progression of the talented surfers currently at the club, maximising their potential and hopefully contributing to more local surfers participating in the national team. It also provides basic amenities for the public who wish to watch surfing at Thurso East.
"The facility will have a judging area and video analysis capability so that the local surfers can hone their skills. For the coaches, the facility will provide a venue to practice their lifeguard and coaching skills."