The Dunbar Harbour Trust issues a regular newsletter with the latest soundbites from the website and announcements of upcoming events and activities. You can receive the newsletter in your email box by enterering your best email on the right of this page.


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On the 7th Oct. 8--9pm, you probably heard a helicopter circling for more than 1 hour, in darkness over Auldhame, clearly audible in our harbour area. It was an Apache helicopter, ‘Hydra 1’, on an Army Air Corps exercise.

Photo from Flightradar 24.

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Caledonia TV were filming a programme for part of a series called ‘Mach à Seo!’ (‘Outta Here’ in English) for the Gaelic channel BBC ALBA. It’s about weekend staycations in Scotland where presenter, Ramsay seen in photo, shows the highlights of what you can do in various  areas. This specific episode is based on a weekend away in East Lothian and Ramsay starts his trip in Dunbar where he cycles part of the John Muir Way to North Berwick. 

Caledonia TV do not currently have a release date although the programme is expected to go out early next year. 

Photo by Researcher Robyn Low

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Charlie Head is currently circumnavigating Scotland, anti-clockwise, SOLO AND UNSUPPORTED, on a paddle-board (SUP) and arrived in the harbour in early-October for 2 days rest, awaiting favourable winds. 

Charlie has previously been round England and Wales and the last leg of his incredible adventures will be going round Scotland, during October ‘til Christmas or thereabouts! He's supporting the ‘DARE 2 EXPRESS’ mental health charity. 

Quote: “I've arrived in Crail after a really beautiful paddle from Dunbar via the Isle of May, when the Northerly winds started and the tide turned against me. Made camp and now food and an early night??”  Track his progress on  www.charlieheadsup.com

Charlie is now passing Wick and heading north.

Read more by visiting his website https://charlieheadsup.com/#scotland

Photos from Charlie's website.  Photo 1, crossing the Firth of Forth.

Click <<READ MORE>> for photo 2: Charlie’s tent at Crail, just before the deluge washed it away that evening.

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‘Switch Off Engine’ signs are being installed around the harbour to encourage people to switch off their engines, also boat engines.  Three more signs will follow soon, given at no cost to the Trust.

The first sign was put up in time to mark Clean Air Day on October 8th  https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/scotland

Photo by Kenny Maule

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Scientists involved in the serious business of monitoring and measuring sea level rises will use Dunbar’s tide gauge over the coming decades. 

How do you measure sea level? In 1917 the Ordnance Survey set up tide gauges in Felixstowe (1913), Newlyn (1915) and Dunbar (1917). Ours is still fully-operational to this day (we should probably have had a wee party three years ago to celebrate its centenary!)


Marine Scotland Information: Summarising the sea level changes around Scotland based on central estimate projections for 2080-90 using the medium emission scenario:

Relative Sea Level - the least predicted rise, about 30 cm by 2095, occurs in the Clyde to Skye coastal waters, as well as the inner Firth of Forth and Moray Firth. The remainder of the mainland experiences approximately 35 cm rise over the same period, while the Hebrides and Orkney experience a rise of 40 cm, and about 50 cm in Shetland.

Storm surges / tides - current estimates do not suggest storminess will increase significantly over Scotland, making the predictions of increases in storm surge heights over the next 100 years small. For example extreme storm surges with return periods of 2, 10, 20 and 50 years are between about 1 and 3 cm by 2095. There is some regional variation.  Currently, the highest storm surge that may occur in a 50-year period raises the sea surface by between 90 and 180 cm. The effect is least on the east coast and in Shetland, and greatest on the west coast. 

Wave height -  significant wave heights north of Scotland will decrease by about 30 cm in the winter.  The other seasons have different patterns of change, although changes are quite small.

UKCP09 projections - Sea Level / Storm surges, Tides and Wave Height Change (medium emissions, 2080-2090 projections)

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Robin Hamilton of the Trust has started a trial of safety rails on the South Pier. If successful, and when funding available, the rails will be extended all along the South Pier, providing safety for the fishermen’s fork-lift which works in this area, and a safety rail for the public and vehicles.

AG Thomson has recently installed this trial length of 17metres in galvanised tubular steel, bolted to the surface of the quayside. 

Don’t trip over it, folks!

Photo by Kenny Maule 

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Photo of the Battery, 'purple-for-polio'

Rotary's 2020 World Polio Day programme on 24 October hails this year's historic achievement in polio eradication: Africa being declared free of the wild poliovirus. 

Paralympic medalist and TV presenter Ade Adepitan, who co-hosts this year's programme, says that the eradication of wild polio in Africa was personal for him. Adepitan, a polio survivor who contracted the disease as a child said "I've been waiting for this day since I was young. But we're not done, we're in pursuit of an even greater triumph --- a world without polio. And I can't wait."

Polio is still endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 1985 there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries; in 2019 there were approx 170 cases in 2 countries following mass vacination programme.

Polio is a serious, viral infection that used to be common in the UK and worldwide. For some people, the polio virus causes temporary or permanent paralysis which can be life-threatening. Cases of polio in the UK fell dramatically when routine vaccination was introduced in the mid-1950s.

Photo by Kenny Maule

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On 4 December 2019 two men returned to their 9m privately-owned motor-cruiser ‘Diversion’, moored on the river Ouse in York. The diesel-fuelled heater had been leaking exhaust fumes into the boat’s cabin while they were ashore, It was a cold evening and the cabin heater had been left running while the two casualties were eating and drinking with friends in the city centre. Both men were overcome by a high level of carbon monoxide (CO) gas and died shortly after entering the boat’s cabin. There were 4 potential sources of carbon monoxide on board: The heater, the boat’s engine, a portable, petrol generator and a meths-fuelled cooker. The MAIB has investigated various fatal accidents where the above were identified as the source of this deadly toxic gas. https://www.gov.uk/maib-reports/safety-warning-about-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-after-the-loss-of-2-lives-on-the-motor-cruiser-diversion

Safety Issues: no carbon monoxide alarm was fitted, the cabin heater installation had not been professionally checked and no servicing had been carried out. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. Symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.

Carbon monoxide can also be a danger when a car engine is running in a garage, or a heater is in a confined space. Sufficient ventilation is good.

The following Scottish Government links provide additional guidance :- 

Photo credit: https://tworivers.insurance

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Have you spotted our cannon in place at its embrasure in the Battery, guarding the approaches to Belhaven Bay? Originally there were 16 cannon installed for defence against Napoleon’s anticipated invasion. The story goes that Edinburgh Castle ‘appropriated’ all our cannon when the emergency was over.




Credits for our cannon’s manufacture and installation:--

  • Bob Fleet -- wood wizardry and painting (Bob spent several unhealthy days turning the barrel on his garage’s lathe, enveloped in sawdust and creosote.)
  • Kenny Maule -- plans, ideas and resources
  • Paddy Crerar & Eric Robertson -- generous free wood supplies
  • Micky McLaughlin -- sturdy metal brackets
  • Pam Maule -- added muscle to help Bob & Kenny for a weighty installation on 16th Oct.

Our cannon is a toddler compared to Mons Meg:  https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/see-and-do/highlights/mons-meg

Mons Meg was once seen as cutting-edge military technology. The six-tonne siege gun could fire a 150kg gunstone for up to 3.2km (2 miles). She is named after the Belgian town where she was made. In 1460, James II had Mons Meg hauled 50 miles to the siege of Roxburgh Castle, 3 miles a day. But the unlucky king was killed there when another of his cannon exploded. Meg’s barrel finally burst in 1681. Dangerous things these cannon!!

Photo 1 by Kenny Maule: Bob makes final adjustments to the trajectory.

Photo 2 by Alasdair Swan: 'Young cannoneers in training'.  Click <<READ MORE>>

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These red rocket-flares were becoming out-of-date, so best to use them up for crew-practice.

Reminder to the public: setting off red rocket-flares is against the law, that’s why the RNLI can use hand-flares only when training.

Photo by Kenny Maule

Have any questions? Give us a call 01368 865 404