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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 18/11/2020

Scotland’s oldest ship, an A listed harbour and an iron age dwelling are all set to benefit from funding as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. 

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced funding of £194,349 to 18 community-based projects to protect, promote or engage with Scotland’s coastal or waterway heritage as part of its Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund

Grants of £3,000 to £20,000 have been awarded to projects which deliver benefits to the local community through outreach and educational activities, repairs to stabilise historic or marine structures, developing traditional skills and increasing understanding of Scotland’s coasts and waters heritage. 

The Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund is a one-off competitive fund which launched in March to celebrate Scotland’s Themed Year. The projects awarded funding are:

Cromarty Harbour Trust, Highlands: £20,000 

The funding will assist with improving the safety and resilience of the access to the Smeaton Mole, the outer pier of the A-listed Cromarty Harbour. 

Urras nan Tursachan, Western Isles: £19,920 

The Exploring the landscape of Calanais project will train local volunteers to survey and record the coastal landscape at Calanais, the intertidal zone and the waters of Loch Roag using geophysics and traditional survey techniques to gain new insights into the site. 

The Unicorn Preservation Society, Dundee: £19,045 

The funding will support a project to increase interpretation and understanding of HMS Unicorn, the oldest ship built in Britain still afloat, which is currently at risk. The project will deliver structural modelling to further improve understanding of the vessel’s condition and forms part of a larger project to see the ship moved to the A-listed East Graving Dock in Dundee to create a Maritime Heritage Centre. The structural modelling will provide a way to test the resilience of the ship to the effects of climate change and provide information on how to mitigate the negative consequences of the natural environment. 

The project will also facilitate group sessions to develop interpretive and educational material, improving access to the HMS Unicorn collection. 

The Whithorn Trust, Dumfries & Galloway: £19,000 

The Machars Waterborne Project will focus on the water-related archaeology on the Machars peninsula in Galloway. The two-part community archaeology project will offer training workshops on lidar visualisation and analysis and interpretation to enhance understanding of coastal archaeology which will help to create a valuable resource for the management of sites affected by climate change. The project will involve an online community of local and remote volunteers and local secondary schools. There will also be hands-on activities to construct a traditional coracle and canoe and a travelling exhibition will be created to engage a wider audience in coastal and water-related heritage. 

The Scottish Crannog Centre, Perthshire: £18,723 

The funding will assist with repairs to the walkway and decking surrounding the Scottish Crannog Centre – a reconstruction of an iron age loch dwelling that sits in Loch Tay – to ensure continued visitor access to the site and museum and improve its resilience. An outreach project between the Scottish Crannog Centre and a local primary school will take place to create a poem that will be inscribed on the bridge at the centre. The project will also explore the importance of the Crannogs to communities from an intergenerational aspect, considering how the community shares stories and myths. 

Climavore CIC, Highlands: £13,816 

The Collective Coast project will focus on the coastline and waters of the Isle of Skye and working with intergenerational and marginalised groups to capture oral histories. As part of the project, recordings, a short film, an exhibition, a series of radio shows and a cookbook will be developed. 

The Glasgow Canal Co-op, Glasgow: £13,416 

The funding will allow the Glasgow Canal Co-op to recruit a dedicated Heritage Engagement Officer to research and promote the heritage elements associated with the Glasgow canal area and increase the understanding of these through community engagement activities. 

Seven Lochs Partnership, Glasgow: £13,250 

Seven Lochs: A History Shaped by Water is a project which will engage local school children and community groups to explore how archaeological and historical evidence can help recreate the past. 

Kilcheran, Oban: £9,250 

The funding will support a project to engage a wide range of people in the research and training of traditional basket weaving. A feasibility study and business plan will be produced with the potential of providing sustainable livelihoods which could rejuvenate coastal communities where fishing has declined as well as address plastic waste in the oceans. 

Portsoy Community Enterprise, Aberdeenshire: £8,625 

The funding will support the installation of flood defences to protect access to the B-listed Sail Loft Bunkhouse which is at risk of flooding due to climate change. This will ensure the continued use and increased resilience of the building which is currently run as a hostel. 

The Papay Development Trust, Orkney Islands: £7,950 

Kelp Store - Restore the Shore is an intergenerational project which will engage the local community in coastal protection, restore and create local heritage assets and upskill a new generation of volunteer stone workers to ensure that valuable local knowledge is passed on. As part of the project, a stretch of a cassie sea defence will be rebuilt, a new dry-stone kelp dyke will be built and a manual providing guidance to other Scottish islands and coastal communities will be developed. 

Seafield Seafront Trust (SCIO), Shetland: £6,283 

The funding will support a project to undertake condition surveys of listed structures at the shorefront of Seafield to inform the SCIO in the development of a master plan for the long-term development and management of the site for community use. 

Swan Trust, Shetland: £5,000 

Funding will support the sail replacement of the Swan which is a fishing vessel built in 1900 which is now primarily used as a community resource through educational events and sail journeys aimed at youth and volunteer groups. 

Urras Sgire Oighreachd Bharabhais Community Company, Isle of Lewis: £5,000 

The funding will support a survey to inform approaches to repair an important coastal cemetery in the Western Isles which is currently at risk due to coastal erosion, ensuring that it is protected for the future. 

Room 8 Studio, East Lothian: £4,988 

The Mobile Coast project will encourage a deeper appreciation for the coastal environment and coastal heritage through immersive filmmaking. The project will reach out to often excluded individuals and groups to deliver five participatory film making workshops to create at least five short films. 

Friends of St Ninian’s, Orkney: £4,083 

The funding will support a project to engage local volunteers to produce a GIS resource to collate archive material about Newark Bay cemetery and chapel into one platform. This will include a geophysical survey that will be available to the community, researchers and the public. 

The Historic Assynt, Highlands: £3,000 

The funding will support a project focusing on the oral history of the fishing industry. The project will develop a collection of stories and memories of the fishing industry in Assynt, specifically Lochinver, where the fishing industry has declined rapidly. The stories will be disseminated through presentations and a booklet. 

Old Torry Community Centre Association SCIO, Aberdeen: £3,000 

The funding will support a project to develop an ecomuseum for the area. An interactive map will be developed with the wider community and a pictorial timeline showing the changing social, transport and business usage of the coastal and waterway heritage will be created. 

We are pleased to support these 18 projects as part of our Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund. This funding will support a wide range of community outreach activities as well as crucial repairs to historic maritime structures which not only encourages people to engage with our coastal and waterway heritage but helps to ensure it is protected for future generations.

From Dumfries and Galloway to the Highlands and Islands, these projects cover a wide geographical spread and showcase the fantastic work that goes on within communities across the country to harness, highlight and help to place a spotlight on Scotland’s diverse coastal heritage.

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at HES

The Coasts and Waters Heritage Fund was launched to empower communities to protect, promote and engage with Scotland’s coastal and waterway heritage as well as adapting to the effects of current challenges such as climate change. What the range of projects have shown is that our coastal heritage is a fabric that runs through communities, both in terms of sense of place but also how it has shaped people’s lives as well as how coastal communities are continuing to adapt to the effects of current challenges such as climate change. I am confident that these projects will deliver significant benefits to local communities throughout Scotland and I look forward to seeing the progress unfold over the next few months.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES