Fraserburgh Harbour Needed To Be Deeper

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Fraserburgh harbour on the east coast of Scotland had to be made deeper as the fishing boats that were traditionally used were being replaced by larger ships and the draft in the bigger vessels mean't they were just skimming the granite bed as they traveled in and out.

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The harbour at Fraserburgh was built to cater for the herring fleet and the vessels which consigned the cured herring to Europe and as the fleet increased a further enlargement of the harbour facilities was required. The prominence in Fraserburgh in the herring trade resulted in the demise of the neighbouring ports of Sandhaven, Pitullie and above all, Rosehearty, which in the 19th century rivalled Fraserburgh as a herring landing port.

Accordingly, the dependence of the town on fishing is obvious but with the decline in the herring fishery at that time due to a lack of sufficient stocks, Fraserburgh has developed a substantial white fish, pelagic and shell fish fishing fleet. This change in fortunes of Fraserburgh meant that a large scale modernisation of the harbour was necessary and this really commenced with the deepening of Faithlie Basin in the mid 1950’s. However, within the last 25 years most of the harbour has been deepened. The slipway constructed in 1981 was replaced in 2000 by a state of the art six berth facility now some ten years old in 2010, and storm gates were introduced to the harbour in 1986 to replace the old boom system. In 1992 the ship repair and port facilities were given a major boost with the completion of a large drydock accommodating the demands of the fleet. The new fish markets built in 1987 were upgraded in 2007 to included fully refrigerated facilities. The completion of the fish markets was the start of a major expansion of fishing at Fraserburgh in pelagic, demersal and nephrop species.

We arrived out our hotel and settled in, we had our own rooms bed & breakfast, with a daily allowance for an evening meal. 

We had a pontoon set up in the harbour with a crane sat on it. We had the dive systems and compressors on the pontoon as well. The idea was simple we would use a standard rock drill with a tungsten bit and  3ft shaft we would then drill down and place charges attached to cortex, the cortex lead from numerous charges were all brought together and a detonator attached. When ready hook up to the battery and Boom this would create a large plume of water.

If you click the link it shows the water plume after a blast

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Drilling underwater into Granite rock is a long slow process, once we had drilled and blasted we had to wait for the water to clear a little. Once we had a little more visibility we would inspect the effects and if all went to plan we would have created large boulders. The crane would lower down a steel sling, the diver would then attach this around the boulder, which usually was the size of a transit van, once tightened the diver would clear the area and watch as the boulder was raised making sure he was above it at all times.

This contract was the best one yet clear water and I was learning how to set charges and the effects of them.One of the side effects of the blasting in the harbour was some decent size fish would be stunned, so we quickly collected as many as we needed with the support boat. Fresh fish supper, another side effect was all the shell fish, crabs and lobsters, moved to just out side the harbour wall, so again we would dive down at the end of a shift and collect a few for an evening meal. This meant our daily meal budget became beer money !!

Sadly this contract finished after about 6 weeks. The next one was on the River Hull, what I didn't know at this time it was my last !!

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