MHG2491 - Sandside Harbour


An attractive harbour built by Major William Innes of Sandside c.1830 for both trade and fishing. The seaward faces of the harbour walls are constructed of vertically laid masonry.

Type and Period (1)

  • HARBOUR (Built, 19th Century - 1830 AD? to 1830 AD?)

Protected Status

Full Description

Sandside Harbour, built c. 1830 by Major Innes, for trade and fishing. Two L-plan piers forming a simple basin. Some of the rubble masonry is vertically set. There are 2-storey, 6-bay blocks set into the hillside, with cottages on the upper floor and stores on the ground floor, and a range of single-storey cottages. Other features include two cast-iron framed crab winches.
J R Hume 1977.

(Location cited as NC 958 660). Sandside: this site, though primarily a fishermen's landing used also for local coastal trade, is worth notice for its `very neat and commodious harbour' referred to in the New Statistical Account. The proprietor who paid for the building of the 'small artificial harbour' was William Innes of Sandside. His letter of 5 December 1835, expressing his satisfaction with the completed work was published by Bremner in 1845. Bremner secured the harbour by the use of boom gates.

The joint mouth of the Sandside and Brackside Burns is backed up by dunes in the head of Sandside Bay sufficiently to have afforded, in early times, a pool or pools to shelter small craft, between the village of Reay (NC96SE 64) and the sea. About half way along the W side of the bay, rock shelves lying at right-angles to the shoreline have been flattened, and the inner end of one shelf cut back to form a primitive quay. A short distance to the N, the two piers of Bremner¿s harbour have improved a pocket in the rocks, making a small harbour with a very narrow entrance to the NE. Both piers are backed with vertically-set kerb stones. It extends out to sea beyond the narrow entrance, the head returning southwards at an oblique angle. The outer tip is stepped. Near the end of its parapet, there is a shelter recess. Eight cylindrical stone pawls are set in the surfaces of the pier and shore quay. Unlike Castlehill (ND16NE 41.00), where the boom closure required two slots on each side of the harbour mou th, Sandside has only a single pair. There are remains of the machinery for working the gates on both sides.
A Graham and J Gordon 1988.

Sandside Harbour, c. 1830. James Bremner. An attractive harbour built by Major William Innes of Sandside for both trade and fishing. It is sheltered at the W by high ground, and looks E over the Pentland Firth and Dounreay. The stonework is varied and excellent, the seaward faces of the harbour walls of vertically laid masonry. Some c. 1830 cottages and a fine three-storey fishing store line the quayside.
E Beaton 1996.

See also:
MHG15134: 1 and 2 Sandside
MHG20373: Fishing store
MHG20374: Boat winch
Jhooper, 14/11/2001

NC96NE 48.00 957 660
NC96NE 48.01 NC 9575 6601 Storehouse (S)
NC96NE 48.02 NC 9575 6610 Storehouse (N)
NC96NE 48.03 NC 9577 6601 Winch
(Location cited as NC 958 661).

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NC 9581 6603 (129m by 125m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NC96NE
Civil Parish REAY
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (4)

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