With bracing breezes and booming ship horns, Aberdeen South Harbour’s open day definitely captured the north-east’s attention.
Sunday marked the first time many were able to see one of Aberdeen’s biggest maritime projects in person.
With queues of traffic building up before the gates opened, the open day at the new Port of Aberdeen South Harbour was a busy one.
Curious individuals and families were quick to pick up a ticket to get a sneak peek of the new £420 million quayside.
Visitors have been watching the harbour grow with interest
The new South Harbour expansion was officially opened on Friday by Princess Anne.
Leaving a plaque in her place, the royal also unveiled a specially designed accropode to commemorate the opening.
The accropodes are concrete blocks designed to resist the action of waves on breakwaters and coastal structures.
Almost 9,000 have been laid in the area to create a calm space in the harbour.
Fran Tomlinson and Stephen McHugh from Ferryhill have been watching the harbour’s progress since the first block was laid.
Miss Tomlinson said: “We have witnessed it growing when they first started making those large concrete things.
“Our daily escape was coming down on the bikes and seeing how the harbour was growing.
“It is nice to get an idea of the scale of the harbour. It’s just nice to have an opportunity to come down.”
Standing in front of the city’s landmark giant letters which were moved from Castlegate to the new harbour – a popular photo point – booming horns blare intermittently.
It is coming from two large ships where people have been invited to have a look around.
And apparently have a go at blasting the horn.
Not wanting to brave the long queues, Miss Tomlinson added: “I am a bit jealous of the children getting to honk the ship horns.”
Over 10,000 ‘happy smiley people’ on the quayside
Those not getting onboard the ships are not short of entertainment.
Various stands and stalls dot the quayside and marquee area from agencies like RNLI, police and various construction and logistics companies.
A variety of local cuisines are also available with several businesses selling out of food within a couple of hours.
George Reid and Sandy Anderson visiting from Inverurie were a little worried at first about getting in following reports of busy queues in the morning.
Mr Reid added: “We were a bit worried about traffic issues but we had no problems at all.”
When asked about why they wanted to see the new harbour, Mr Anderson said: “It’s a big project for Aberdeen and it will be great to have all the big ships coming in.”
While it was a little “breezy” towards the end of the event, the day was hailed as a massive success.
Head of communications at the Port of Aberdeen, Jordan Hawkins, said: “It’s been an amazing day as part of the official opening of Aberdeen South Harbour.
“We’re really pleased with how it’s gone. There’s been lots of happy smiley people on the quayside and people getting to go on some of the vessels and see how they work.”
“We’ve had 10,000 people through the doors today on the quayside seeing a wide range of exhibitors from stakeholders that work in and around the port and also getting the opportunity to sample the delights of a dozen local caterers.”
Inspiring the next generation
The expansion allows cruise ships travelling around the British Isles to stop off in Aberdeen with the first arriving in May and encouraging more tourists to visit the city.
With the project being in the works for around 12 years now, Mr Hawkins said it was good to show everyone that the harbour is open for business.
“I think what today has given us is an opportunity to capture the imagination of the public,” he added.
“It’s good not only for the port, it’s good in terms of jobs, for attracting investment and really creating opportunities for the local supply team as well.
“Today was really about just giving people an opportunity to see this amazing project firsthand.
“There were lots of young people here.
“Young people who maybe haven’t seen or heard much from the harbour before and this could be, who knows, an opportunity to inspire the next generation of people into a career into the maritime industry.”
Here are some of the best photos captured on the day from our photographer Kami Thomson.