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VIDEO: Burghead’s legendary Reaper finally laid to rest

A Moray fishing village came to a standstill yesterday as a legendary vessel was safely transported to its final resting place more than a century after being built.

The crumbling Harvest Reaper had sat on the quayside at Burghead Harbour since the 1980s, when local man, David Meldrum, salvaged it as a retirement project.

But – 30 years on – Mr Meldrum never got around to restoring the 1904-built trawler, and its 18-and-a-half tonne hull was left to rot.

Earlier this year, the council ordered it be moved or scrapped to make way for an industrial development.

Burghead Headland Trust stepped in at the eleventh hour to save it, enlisting a local crane and low loader to move the boat to temporary safety at the harbour entrance.

And yesterday, the heavy duty vehicles from Billy Miller Contractors in Elgin and Macduff Crane Hire turned up to move the historic fishing vessel to its new home.

Dozens of locals braved a brisk, albeit bright, morning to watch as the giant relic was paraded through the streets.

Others peered from curtains or sprawled through open windows to take in the sight.

Shortly after 9am, the Harvest Reaper was transported across town, up Park Street and past the Burghead Maltings, before the lorry driver negotiated the backshore’s single track road.

By 10.40am, the vessel was safely resting on a purpose-built stand on the north side of the peninsula beside the village’s 6th century Pictish defence rampart.

Community stalwart, Dan Ralph, assisted with the seamless move alongside his son, Lachie, and fellow residents Ian McKenzie and Martin Threapleton.

Afterwards, Mr Ralph snr, said: “We are very happy with the Harvest Reaper’s last voyage. She’s now in a permanent position.

“She will look dramatic as one approaches Burghead by sea, and in a northerly gale she will still get a good splash of salt water.

“She will be heavily tarred in the spring time to protect her for 100 years to come.”

Secretary Hilary Gloyer watched on proudly as the Harvest Reaper took its final descent.

After it had been lowered into place, she said: “I’m so glad to see it safe.

“My heart was in my mouth the whole morning. I must admit there was a tear in my eye seeing it come down. She will rest in peace now.”

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