Historic North Berwick Harbour Wall Severely Damaged by Giant Waves.

October 30, 2023

In a weekend of dramatic sea surges, the 400-year-old harbour wall at North Berwick has suffered severe damage, causing great concern for this historical site. The North Berwick Harbour Trust reported that the wall had been breached on Sunday, creating a five-meter-wide (16ft) gap, and a further breach occurred at high tide at 03:00 on Monday, partially collapsing the walkway.

This historic harbour, leased from East Lothian Council and maintained by the volunteer-run North Berwick Harbour Trust charity, is a vital part of the local community. The charity, responsible for the conservation and upkeep of the site, is now seeking emergency funding and support to initiate the necessary restoration work. Andrew Duns, the charity’s treasurer, stated that the council would be sending structural engineers to assess the damage. Despite the extensive damage, they remain confident that the harbour can be repaired.

The breach affected the oldest part of the harbour, a piece of sea defense that has stood for about 400 years. Just recently, a team of dedicated volunteers had completed a cleanup operation following the aftermath of Storm Babet, which left debris scattered across the site and caused destruction to kayak racks and timber planters. Mr. Duns explained that a thorough inspection had been conducted on the wall last week, and at that time, it was deemed to be in good condition. However, the combination of exceptionally high tides and this weekend’s powerful storm resulted in the unforeseen damage.

The North Berwick Harbour is not just a historical landmark but also one of the most prominent tourist attractions in East Lothian. It directly employs approximately 35 individuals, making it a significant contributor to the local economy. The breach in the harbour wall poses a substantial setback to both the local tourism industry and employment opportunities in the region.

The charity is now actively seeking emergency funding to expedite the restoration of the harbour wall, striving to restore this iconic site and its importance to the local community.





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