Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Revealed: Rubislaw Quarry on sale for £150,000 – but tough laws could limit new owner’s plans

It is understood the price tag for the Aberdeen landmark is more than double the amount owners paid in 2010.

Drone photo of Rubislaw Quarry.
The iconic Aberdeen landmark was put on the market earlier this month. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

Rubislaw Quarry was offered to potential buyers – said to include city chiefs and rival flat developers – before it hit the market.

The Aberdeen landmark, famed for supplying the granite for buildings across the north-east and beyond, went up for sale at the beginning of September.

But this came after previous attempts to offload it hit a brick wall.

Construction boss Hugh Black, who bought the site with former oil consultant Sandy Whyte in 2010, told us it was time for someone with “more time and energy” to take it on.

It is being advertised as a “one-of-a-kind opportunity” to snap up a unique piece of history – with great potential.

It is estimated that over six million tonnes of granite were extracted from the quarry over a period of 200 years.

Sales agents, however, declined to name a figure.

And when pressed, Mr Black said the quarry is “too valuable” to put a fixed price tag on.

Although he insists it is “open for all offers”, The Press and Journal understands the sum recently put to interested parties is £150,000.

This is said to be more than double the amount Mr Black and his business partner paid to get their hands on the hidden gem 13 years ago.

However, the sales brochure does not mention the raft of strict rules limiting future development there…

Rubislaw quarry is located at the heart of Aberdeen’s west end. Image: Jim Irvine/DC Thomson.

We take a deeper dive into the unusual sale  – including:

  • Why current owners decided to part with Rubislaw Quarry after 13 years
  • Who are some of the potential buyers
  • The legal restrictions in place that could hinder development
  • And what exactly you can do with the quarry – should you go for it

Is Rubislaw Quarry a money pit?

Mr Black and his business partner purchased Rubislaw Quarry in 2010, with ambitions to turn it into an attractive tourist destination.

At the time, the landmark was put on the market for offers over £30,000.

Sandy Whyte (left) and Hugh Black pictured at Rubislaw Quarry when they bought it in 2010. Image: Simon Walton.

And we understand the pair parted with £60,000 on their new crown jewel.

In the years after, Mr Black had a go at several projects to utilise it and make that investment worthwhile – including trying to erect a granite heritage centre there.

The £6 million scheme, however, fell through in 2018 after the powerful lands tribunal refused his plea to lift the strict rules preventing him from developing the site.

The sale of Rubislaw Quarry hit our headlines in 2010. Image: Mhorvan Park/DC Thomson.

But more on that later.

In 2020, the quarry opened to the public for the first time in 50 years as a watersport venue, offering canoe and paddleboarding sessions.

But that was also short-lived, with Mr Black admitting that it proved to be too much of a “financial risk” to carry on with it – even though the programme was “successful”.

The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Barnie Crockett, canoeing at Aberdeen’s Rubislaw Quarry in 2020. Image: Jim Irvine/DC Thomson.

‘It’s like selling a house – time to move on’

After trying to make it work for more than a decade, Mr Black has now decided to let go of the seven-acre black hole for good.

And while the quarry went on the market in September, we understand some parties were approached with an offer as early as July.

One of the potential buyers was Canadian developer Carttera – who Mr Black spent years quarreling with over the firm’s plans to build luxury flats along the edge of the quarry.

Design images of Carttera's proposed 245 flats along the edge of Rubislaw Quarry.
Carttera were given permission to build 245 flats along the edge of Rubislaw Quarry.

His and other objectors’ campaign against it was, however, quashed by the council and the proposal was given the go-ahead.

City chiefs are also believed to have been given the opportunity to add the quarry to their list of assets.

When questioned about the offer, the local authority refused to comment on the “commercially sensitive” matter.

But Carttera considered purchasing the quarry a “liability” as bosses turned it down.

Public demonstration against the submitted plans by Carttera in 2018. Picture of (L-R) Hugh Black and William Sell.<br />Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

Still, Mr Black remains positive “someone will buy it” and likened his decision to put it on the market to selling a house.

“We’ve already put in 13 years of effort and it’s been very positive,” Mr Black said.

“We’ve managed to raise the profile of the quarry and there is certainly potential to do things there – but our time is up.

“We are selling the quarry so it’s up to the new owners to decide how much time and effort they are going to invest, and what they want to do with it.”

One of the design images for Mr Black’s proposals for a museum at Rubislaw Quarry.

What would you like to see at Rubislaw Quarry? Let us know in our comments section below

So what can you do with the quarry?

There is little that can be done with Europe’s largest man-made hole.

Like most properties of such value, Rubislaw Quarry comes with a specified deed of conditions – or in other words, a list of can do’s and can’t do’s for whoever owns it.

This is exactly the predicament Mr Black found himself in when it came to bringing his plans for a granite museum to life.

In order to put the structure in place, around 120ft of water would have to be drained from the beauty spot.

If it had gone ahead, the heritage museum would have featured an underwater restaurants and diving bell trips.

Additional alterations to the tree-lined area surrounding the water-filled expanse were also required, as the museum would need walkways, a viewing platform, a staircase and parking spaces.

And none of this is allowed under the current prohibition clauses in the document.

The exact wording of the terms is: “The central quarry proprietors shall not develop or seek to develop any part of the central quarry subjects.

“And in order to preserve the amenity of the quarry, subjects generally shall not permit or allow any other occupation or use of the central quarry subjects for any purpose other than as a designated quarry site, green belt or amenity ground in its existing and/or natural condition.”

These temporary steps were put in place during the water sport programme in 2020. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson.

Or said in plain English, the quarry must remain as it is and nothing can be upgraded or built there – unless you convince the lands tribunal to tweak the contract.

That is an option – and it is possible.

But as it stands now – little can be done on site due to the strict legal limitations.

Why would you buy Rubislaw Quarry?

Mr Black said Rubislaw Quarry is an unmissable opportunity for new owners to “contribute to Aberdeen’s future”.

And he insists “there are many things” that could be done with it to further promote the granite industry’s long-standing history, while benefiting Aberdonians.

How exactly the lucky owner would like to proceed with it, is totally up to them.

Mr Black said: “We spent a number of very happy and successful years over there but someone else maybe has more time and energy than I have at the moment.

“It’s a very valuable asset to the city, and someone will be interested in buying it.

“We’d be more than happy if they had a similar vision to ours to take forward but we can’t dictate that.”

Read more: