A section of a Moray Firth port has been sealed off after sea water carved a hole in one of its piers.
Stonework at the harbour in Cullen buckled as a consequence of waves relentlessly crashing against the outside of the defences, gradually causing them to become vulnerable.
Safety fences have now been installed on the north pier after part of the walkway collapsed into the space affected by the sea water.
Work to repair the damage is expected to be completed later this month at the harbour, which is run by Moray Council. However, it is hoped there will not be any long-term ramifications for the community.
Norman Marwick, secretary of Cullen Community Council, said: “To my eye, it looks as though the natural rock has given way and the harbour wall has been left with nothing under it.
“That part of the wall will have been continually pounded for three weeks. We have not had particularly big waves during that time, but they have been very strong.
“The good news is that the way the damage is at the moment, I don’t think it would affect any boat coming in or out of the harbour.”
A large part of the external wall of the pier has been eroded by the sea water, causing the quayside to weaken.
Part of the walkway has collapsed into the space that has been left by the rubble.
Keith and Cullen councillor Ron Shepherd explained that work to repair the damage was “in hand” with council management.
He said: “The weather here has not been too bad recently. I think that general wear and tear has played a part in it.
“I’ve been told that work to repair it will be done during January. It’s all being taken care of.”
Last year, Moray Council approved increases to berthing fees at its ports in an attempt to address a maintenance backlog, which stood at £7million, and an operating deficit of £135,000 per year.