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. 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.

Boat beached at Moray harbour as users hit out at council over its ‘awful state’

Dennis Slater, Chairman of Hopeman Community Association at Hopeman Harbour
Dennis Slater, Chairman of Hopeman Community Association at Hopeman Harbour

Users of a Moray harbour have hit out at the local authority for its “shocking” condition after a boat became beached on a sandbank.

The vessel, Hercules, was being moved from Burghead to Hopeman when it stuck-fast on silty debris due to the low tide.

The eight-foot raft was a bigger boat than normal for Hopeman harbour, which is more commonly home to leisure crafts, and it is understood its skipper mistimed the tide.

That miscalculation left it stranded in no more than an inch or two of water.

They were forced to wait about eight hours before managing to get itself moving.

With the harbour having been dredged just once over the last few years by Moray Council’s £2.5 million “white elephant” dredger, the Selkie, and harbour fees increasing by 60% since 2016, some boat users have criticised the local authority and claimed they are “paying for nothing”.

Ian McCulloch owns a pleasure boat and keeps it moored in Hopeman and witnessed the Hercules as it ran aground on Wednesday.

The vice-chairman of the Hopeman Boat Owner’s Association, he claims that the council need to do more for the users, especially after increasing harbour fees by such a significant amount.

He said: “We are now paying a fortune each year, about £400, and nothing ever gets done to keep the harbour in good condition.

“This Selkie situation is getting beyond a joke and the harbour is steadily worsening with each passing day.

“It’s not only stopping the boys from enjoying their pastimes, but there may be serious health and safety problems if it continues to deteriorate.”

A lack of dredging has resulted in salt and sand building-up at the entrance to the harbour and to the inner harbour as well, causing access problems.

The Selkie is a controversial boat.

Launched to significant fanfare and amidst claims it would save the council money and generate cash, it has been marooned at Buckie Harbour for about six months due to issues about staffing the vessel.

Chairman of the Hopeman Community Association and former Moray councillor Dennis Slater believes action needs to be taken as soon as possible before something serious happens, like a boat being severely damaged.

>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter

He said: “The state of the harbour is absolutely shocking and we have been promised for three years that something would be done and there was a plan of action in place for dredging and other work to be done in harbour.”

“It seems like the council are all talk and no action and I think heads should be rolling.

“I have offered to work with anyone to see further developments at the harbour and when I was a councillor I did try to find a positive way forward.”

A Moray Council spokesman said: “Harbour fees compare favourably with those in Aberdeenshire and Highland and have to reflect the cost to taxpayers of maintaining the facilities for boat owners.”

It is understood there has been minimal movement on efforts to provide the Selkie with a crew.

A recent statement from Moray Council explained: “The dredger has had two years of operation – Hopeman was dredged in year one.”

“In 2018, we had work outwith Moray and in August and September weather and tide conditions prevented our planned return to Hopeman.

“We will be back at Hopeman as soon as possible before the start of the season.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in