Harbour News 19 June–10 July 2023

52 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 7,600 boxes from six Scottish trawl and seven Anglo longline landings. The Scottish effort west has dwindled with the boats either returning home for their summer refits or the lack of monkfish quota has forced them to change grounds. As yet there is no sign of squid returning to Rockall this summer so boats may well be forced to fish northern and eastern waters for the remainder of the year. The Anglo fleet continues to fish the deep-water edge, landing their stock species of hake and ling weekly. As in the case with the Scottish fleet, the Anglo owners are taking their boats home to undertake annual repairs with the added bonus of saving on quota for the winter months when the prices tend to rise.

The shellfish sector saw a slight resurgence with twenty-five prawn trawlers landing and taking ice, combined with the efforts of the resident fleet.

The usual mix of boats contributed to non-fishing activity.  There were seven calls from fish-farm tank ships for fuel and crew changes, the luxury inshore cruise vessel Hebridean Princess made a couple of scheduled visits in pretty mixed weather, the MCA tug Ievoli Grey called in for fuel and a 24-hour layover, workboat Laura M arrived to install the pontoons and breakwater and the Dutch yacht Steady returned for a series of charter trips. Leisure yachts have also been abundant in recent weeks with the eight harbour moorings filled on more than one occasion.

Shore Street Project Update

We are pleased to report that the disruptive works are all but complete.  The roads, pavements and cycleway have been resurfaced and fresh road markings applied. The Scottish Water pumping station kiosk is fully commissioned and the paved promenade complete. Outstanding tasks include installation of lighting, signposts and railings all of which will be done with minimum disruption. The sea wall is faced with recycled Moine, which was quarried at Braemore junction to make way for the new gorge visitor centre.  The integral wooden bench features are constructed of recycled West African Ekki railway sleepers to replicate the appearance of the sheet-piled pier.

The eight sets of bollards were recovered from the tug tender Calshot. The Calshot tug pulled the great ocean liners that once visited Southampton.  The tug was licensed to transport 556 passengers in first and second-class saloons and decks. During the peak of liner visits Calshot manoeuvred famous names such as the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Mauritania in and out of Southampton. She also ferried world famous film stars and politicians to the key side from ships anchored outside the docks. At the outbreak of World War II, Calshot was appropriated by the Admiralty for use at Scapa Flow. In 1942, she was transferred to the River Clyde where she acted as tender to the two Cunard Liners RMS Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, transferring approximately 1,500,000 servicemen. In 1944 she returned to Southampton for the build up to D-Day. After the war she was returned to the Red Funnel Line.

On 27 February 2021, ownership was transferred from the Tug Tender Calshot Trust to a private company, Woodshack Limited. The new owners planned a three-year restoration program. After over a year of inspection and evaluation, the restoration project was halted when it was established that the extensive deterioration of the ship would necessitate a complete rebuild. This rendered the project unviable and Calshot was dismantled during the summer of 2022. Woodshack Limited very kindly donated the bollards to the Ullapool promenade project.

The widening of Shore Street has been a challenging project for the contractors especially given some unforeseen issues including the dilapidated condition of essential services located beneath the pavements.  In order to avoid excavation in future years, repair and replacement works had to be undertaken, necessitating an extension to the project duration. The harbour would like to thank the homeowners, businesses and wider community for their patience and understanding over the past ten months.  We hope all the effort has been worthwhile.