Welcome to the Cruden Bay Harbour section of the Cruden Bay Community Website. There has been a harbour in the vilage for the best part of 200 years which has provided a safe haven for the generations of fishermen who have worked out of what was first known as “Ward of Cruden” and later renamed Port Erroll in recognition of the nineteenth Earl of Erroll who constructed the existing harbour in the 1870’s.
The Slains Castle Estates was later bought by the shipping magnate Sir John Ellerman, known to be one of the wealthiest men of his time, in modern terms his wealth could be compared with the likes of Microsoft’s Bill Gates. When he gave up the estate in the late 1920’s, Ellerman gifted the harbour, along with a sum of £250 to the fishermen of Cruden Bay, on condition that the villagers raise a similar amount by their own efforts to help fund the ongoing operation and maintenance of the harbour. A sale of work was held in the village hall on Saturday 24th March 1923 which raised £200, a massive sum in those days, which was considered sufficient to see the harbour passed over to the management of fishermen who shortly afterwards raised the outstanding balance.
Since these early days the harbour has been run by a management committee and in January of this year the form of the committee changed to incorporate new trustees with experience in organisational management and fund raising. This was felt necessary to help better position the harbour management team to access grant funding for much needed repairs and redevelopment of the harbour area.
Over the years the harbour has seen its use evolve to encompass increasingly popular leisure and sporting industries and has become an important community asset offering a functional service throughout the year drawing visitors from far and wide to the area.
The ultimate vision of the current Trustees and Management Committee is to ensure that within the ever-changing nature of the inshore fishing industry, marine leisure activities and ecology, that Port Erroll Harbour is preserved and protected now and for future generations.
Recognising that the Harbour is not likely to become a self-financing entity as it is a tidal and weather dependant facility, the short term vision looks five years ahead and with plans to source adequate funding to ensure the implementation of a structured redevelopment programme.
The harbour now urgently requires a major programme of civil works to halt, and indeed reverse, the current deterioration of the existing piers. These actions would ensure that the harbour can be appropriately redeveloped to provide significantly improved facilities for all it’s users; this will ensure that the harbour and its adjacent area is available for continued use well into the next century.
As a community harbour it is important to reconcile the needs of the commercial fishermen as well accommodating the ever developing needs of the leisure and water sports industry whilst at the same time ensuring that the ecology of the area and surrounding cliffs are also preserved for future generations.
Cruden Bay Harbour deserves the chance of continued service to its community; the philanthropic gesture of Sir John Ellerman in providing the villagers with an essential recourse may well have fulfilled his wishes these past 90 years, however, the time to preserve this precious village asset for further generations is now upon us, for without the much needed redevelopment we must all fear the worst and soon see these once mighty pier walls crumble, and the safe harbour be claimed back into the sea from which it was first taken.
Cruden Bay Harbour always has been, and always should be at the very heart of its community.