Expert divers are “using their fingertips as eyes” as they plunge into chilly Banff Harbour to carry out emergency repairs on a historic pier.
The water at the north-east port is “like pea soup”, meaning the men have to rely on their skills and experience as they work for hours at a time beneath the surface.
Shearwater engineers were drafted in to complete the project at the end of October after previous contractor Lochshell walked out amid a dispute with Aberdeenshire Council.
During the delay, concerns were mounting that parts of the port could be washed away if left in a state of disarray for much longer.
The main objective, for now, is to steady the east pier, which could otherwise crumble in the face of winter storms.
Team working around the clock to protect Banff Harbour
The crew currently on site tell us how they are using lark inter-connecting blocks – essentially “huge Lego bricks” – to bolster the pier.
The men are working at the harbour from 6am to 9pm every day at the moment, putting in “a bit of extra effort” to make sure the scheme is completed on time.
We visited on Thursday, November 4, on a day when choppy seas and howling winds underlined the threat to the much-loved harbour.
Watch our Banff Harbour video at the top of the page for an exclusive insight.
Have a look back through our coverage of the saga:
- July 1 ‘Banff Harbour could be finished’: Fears for port as repairs are abandoned amid contract dispute
- August 4 ‘An impossible scenario’: Banff Harbour engineers quit again amid warning repairs could take an extra year
- September 7 Banff Harbour: Contract torn up amid fears storms could destroy pier left in disrepair