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Coastal heritage groups sail away with grants

The Swan in Shetland.
The Swan in Shetland.

The north of Scotland’s strong coastal heritage has been recognised with £200,000 funding from Historic Environment Scotland.

In Shetland, the Swan Trust sailed away with £5,000 to support the sail replacement of a historic Fifie fishing boat built in 1900, now used in educational events and sail journeys for youth and volunteer groups.

Trust chairman David Goodlad said the support “will enable us to continue to provide life changing sail training experiences for many years to come”, adding: “Fishing is, and has always been, an important part of Scotland’s heritage and economy.

“Swan has a significant role in keeping this heritage alive, and we are proud to be able to offer the public the chance to experience sailing one of the last Scottish Fifies.”

Cromarty Harbour Trust was awarded £20,000 to improve the safety of the access to the Smeaton Mole, the historic outer pier of its A-listed harbour.

Cromarty Harbour. Supplied by Historic Environment Scotland

Trust chairman Colin Dickie said: “The project complements work already done on the structure of the linked Smeaton Mole and World War 1 Inner Admiralty Pier which has been brought back into operation and is starting to attract commercial activity.”

Climavore was granted £13,816 for the ‘Collective Coast’, a project focusing on the waters on Skye to capture oral histories. Recordings, a short film, an exhibition, a series of radio shows and a cookbook will be developed.

Project manager Shona Cameron said: “By gathering histories and memories, customary practices and recipes from residents, past and present, we hope to deepen the understanding about the island’s coastal heritage.”

A total of £3,000 was awarded to Historic Assynt for its project on the history of the fishing industry, helping develop a collection of stories and memories of the finishing industry in Assynt, specifically Lochinver where the fishing industry has declined rapidly.

Lochinver Harbour. Supplied by Historic Environment Scotland

In the Western Isles, Urras nan Tursachan was granted £19,920 for a project to train volunteers to survey the coastal landscape at Calanais, the intertidal zone and the waters of Loch Roag.

Another £5,000 has also been awarded to Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company to support a survey which will inform approaches to repair an important coastal cemetery in Bragar, which is currently at risk due to coastal erosion.

Development manager Ivan Brown said: “This survey will supply us with solutions to how stop or slow down the erosion at the coast and so protect the cemetery for years to come.”

In Orkney, Papay Development Trust was awarded £7,950 for ‘Kelp Store – Restore the Shore’ to rebuild a stretch of a sea defence.

The Friends of St Ninian’s on Orkney has also been awarded £4,083 for a project to collate archive material about Newark Bay cemetery and chapel.

Portsoy Community Enterprise was granted £8,625 to install flood defences to protect access to the B-listed Sail Loft Bunkhouse in the village.

Postsoy Sail Loft Bunkhouse. Portsoy. Supplied by Historic Environment Scotland

The bunkhouse, which is currently run as a hostel, is at risk of flooding as a result of climate change.

David Urquhart, chairman of Portsoy Community Enterprise said: “The project is to help restrict the flooding to our B listed Sail Loft building that is run as a high class Bunkhouse.

“With climate change we are seeing more often higher levels of water and it will be good to protect this building of interest.”

A total of £3,000 has also been awarded to the Old Torry Community Centre Association to develop an ecomuseum.

Kilcheran, in Oban, was given £9,250 to fund a project in the research and training of traditional basket weaving.

The Seafield Seafront Trust, in Shetland, was awarded £6,283 to undertake condition surveys of listed structures at the shorefront of Seafield in North-A-Voe.

HES has awarded a total of 18 projects across Scotland almost £200,000 as part of Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters.

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at HES, said: “This funding will support a wide range of community outreach activities as well as crucial repairs to historic maritime structures which not only encourages people to engage with our coastal and waterway heritage but helps to ensure it is protected for future generations.

“These projects cover a wide geographical spread and showcase the fantastic work that goes on within communities across the country to harness, highlight and help to place a spotlight on Scotland’s diverse coastal heritage.”

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