Subscribe to our newsletter here


There is a lot happening in Dunbar Harbour, so we will keep you informed with our news articles and newsletter. Subscribe to our newsletter on the right of this article and come back to this news page often to read more. If you have news related to Dunbar Harbour then please send us a message using the form at the bottom and we will publish it here.


Fresh from her recent rescue the unpowered, star-crossed Sally Belle was towing from Victoria Harbour into Broadhaven for some work on her undersides whilst awaiting spare parts. Work completed her owner decided on June 24th. to return to Sally Belle's temporary berth under the castle.

To save blushes various, we won't give all the details but she ended up on Broadhaven's rocks on an ebbing(!) tide. As she 'lay down', fortunately her tall and substantial mast avoided the nearby houses. There she lay until the next high tide at 6am the following morning. A quick hoik and tow and she was 'home' at her berth; a short but exciting, unpowered voyage.

Now when are those spare parts arriving?

Photos by Kenny Maule.  Click <<READ MORE>> for photo 2: half-afloat.

Nol receiving his RNLI Bravery award

 Interview with the intrepid Nol       

  • Nol, you’re a Dunbar man, born and bred? Aye, I was born in Room #3, The Lothian Hotel.
  • Was your family originally Italian? Yes, from Tuscany, Italy; came in the early-1900s.
  • And school? Left school at fifteen but I’d already been working for my dad in the hotel since the age of ten. Worked all my life and never a dull day, well, maybe one or two
  • And teenage years? Always in the old outdoor swimming pool, whistle round my neck, in charge of the wee boats then later as a lifeguard.
  • Note: "Nol Togneri received the RNLI Bravery award in the 1960s after saving a girl at sea, keeping her afloat until the lifeboat attended to rescue them as they were drifting out to sea. These awards are usually reserved only for RNLI crew, risking their lives at sea."
  • This video shows how Noll developed the skills needed for confidence in the water:-
  • https://www.facebook.com/paul.togneri.1/videos/10206005929422715/UzpfSTE2OTUyMTEyMDc6MTAyMDY5NDQ2NDczMzAwNzY/
  • So the old pool at Bayswell, was really ‘Baywatch’? We all remember those beauty competitions. The pool was packed in summertime.
  • Did you ever go off the high diving-board? Aye, an’ once I broke the springboard on the way doon.
  • You’re always barefoot, why’s that? Do not like wearing shoes!
  • Where did you work after the Lothian Hotel? Oh, every smart hotel, The Marine in Troon, Old Course Hotel, St. Andrews, Caledonian Hotel….
  • So, the start of a 5-star career? Aye, but sometimes catering’s a demanding life.
  • Have you worked overseas? Did an apprenticeship in Paris, in Fouquet's Brasserie, an historic restaurant on the Champs-Élysées. “Une table pour deux, monsieur?”
  • Did you work in catering all your life? No, I worked as a steel erector on the 300ft tower at Blackcastle, Innerwick, logging crew in the Borders, salmon fishing at Goswick, then Eves Taxis and buses.
  • Everyone’s seen you kayaking off and away, or disappearing in your powerboat. Where do you go? Across the bay to the Tyninghame estuary for a few camping nights, or to the Bass Rock. Tyninghame estuary has changed a lot with the sand channel shifting, very tricky now.
  • Where was your furthest kayak trip? May Isle with Doc Ballantyne.
  • She’s a nice motorboat, your “Wildfire”. When and where did you start with boats? Age of 10, first kayak. Father had a speedboat; he started a Waterski Club. Then a 20ft Cabin Cruiser for 30 years, many expeditions with the family. 20 years on the Lifeboat Crew. Is that enough?
  • Your son Paul also uses ‘Wildfire’.  Does he listen to his dad’s safety advice?  Aye, or he’ll get a clip roon his lugs if he disnae.
  • What’s your best advice to youngsters starting in boats? **Safety First** radio, lifejackets, flares, anchor. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.

Photo 1, Nol receiving his RNLI Bravery award from Princess Margaret. 

Photo 2, Nol dives off the Gripes; not recommended nowadays, even for fit, young men.

Click <<READ MORE>> below for photo 2










Ewan and Fiona are a couple with a love of history and have plans to change the old Methodist Church's use but retain its historic significance. As you will probably know, it's the oldest Methodist Church in Scotland, dating back to 1764. Ewan is an architect, Fiona a former Health and Social Care lecturer, and both have a close interest in regeneration and in Dunbar in particular.

They intend using the space as a venue for small events, intimate weddings and celebrations for up to 100 people, less than the current capacity of 240. Their Planning Application shows restoration of the church to maintain all the original features. They intend using local trades people for the work, which will include a new heating system and significant roof repairs and even a film of the restoration. One of the more costly jobs will be the restoration of the stained glass windows, originally from St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, using a specialist church-restoration company who will take out the windows, refurbish and replace them. This will allow viewers to fully appreciate these windows from outside and in. The building will then be re-named ‘The Harbour Chapel’.

Photos from Fiona's archive.

Photo 1: outside of the 'Harbour Chapel'.

Photo 2: Click <<READ MORE>> below for internal view.

On Tuesday June 16th, Dunbar’s Offshore lifeboat (ALB) crew had a late-night call out in thick fog to assist a broken-down yacht drifting in the North Sea. The Coastguard paged for RNLI help at 11.20pm after receiving a call that the 12-metre Sally Belle yacht was stranded without power 22 miles east of Torness, having suffered a cylinder-head gasket failure and no wind on this calm and foggy night.

The ALB launched from Torness and reached the vessel shortly before 1am. A tow was quickly set up and the crew made their way back to Dunbar Harbour, taking special care in poor visibility. ALB and yacht arrived back at the harbour at 5am and, after guiding the yacht to a safe berth in our Victoria Harbour, Gary Fairbairn, coxswain for Dunbar’s ALB, said: “Given the fog conditions we couldn’t take any chances but we succeeded in towing the yacht to safety without incident.”

Much more on the star-crossed Sally Belle later in this newsletter!

Photo 1 by Nick Mailer, a yacht sandwiched 'twixt 2 ALBs.

Click <<READ MORE>> for photo 2 of Sally Belle at her temporary berth, by Kenny Maule












It all happened so very quickly starting at 11.40am on 30th May. 

Dunbar Coastguard, two Inshores (ILB) and an Offshore (ALB) plus a helicopter were tasked this morning to a small pleasure-craft near to Dunbar harbour. The vessel, with a three-man crew aboard, had suffered engine failure 200 metres northeast of the entrance to Dunbar Harbour and had begun to drift towards the rocks. What had started as a routine call-out to help a small craft quickly became a multi-agency emergency.

First, the Dunbar ILB suffered a mechanical issue soon after launching was no longer able to assist, and dropped the anchor, however a fantastic effort was made by two nearby sea-kayakers who rushed to the pleasure-craft, gave assistance and managed to pull it away from the rocks. This was a remarkable effort by them, not easy in kayaks, and undoubtedly prevented any escalation of the incident.

Dunbar’s ALB was quickly activated from Torness and North Berwick’s ILB was also called. A land ambulance attended the incident as a precaution along with 4 fire engines as the ILB had suffered a suspected engine fire.

Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 151 from Inverness, which was already airborne for a different call-out, attended the scene and circled many times just off the Battery, much to the unexpected entertainment of watching adults and children.

All parties were brought safely into Dunbar Harbour without further incident.

Quote from the RNLI: “All the agencies worked together to ensure things didn’t get out of hand.”  Note: If you see someone in difficulty, or something you are concerned about on the shoreline, beaches, cliffs, mud or water, then call 999 immediately and ask for the Coastguard.

Photo1: the kayakers (Gavin Ross and his pal) 

Click <<READ MORE>> for photo 2: the ALB.    Both photos by Kenny Maule

East Lothian Council hereby give notice that act the following restrictions will be introduced:
Parking Suspension on Victoria Street on both sides for approximately 30m West of Lamer Street.
Parking Suspension on Lamer Street on both sides for approximately 25m South of Victoria Street.
Monday 1st June ------- Monday 27th July 2020

see photo above from the East Lothian Council

Friday 29th, the day after the Scottish Govt announced that most non-contact sports may resume, there was a queue of anglers, SUPs, kayaks etc...
All maintaining the rules and happy to be back on the healthy water at last. Quote: "Nae bugger oot there tae contaminate ye!"

Next Month ......

Looking Forward:
Next month we'll have an 'in depth' interview with a 'weel kent' boatman:---
Noll Togneri, as he remembers the outdoor swimming-pool in its heyday, with his characteristic ducking and diving.


May's quiz; Where is this above inscription? "ORDNANCE SURVEY 1913"

Click <<READ MORE>> for the answer.

Next month we'll have an article on 'projected sea levels' around Scotland

"Spring is sprung, ?
The grass is riz, ?
I wonder where the birdies is...." 

A shag under the bridge, with his mating crest. Hint: the harbour is the wrong place to look for a mate. Head out to the Scart Rock disco-dance.

Photos by Kenny Maule

All the mature gulls are also 'getting it together'. First ask Aunty to avert her eyes then click <<READ MORE>> below for the gulls.


Fatal: man overboard from the creel boat Sea Mist (BF918) Macduff, Scotland. 27 March 2019 

The skipper/owner of the single-handed creel boat Sea Mist (BF918) became entangled in the back rope while shooting creels, and was pulled overboard. No-one witnessed the accident however, the skipper’s son, who was nearby on his own fishing vessel, saw Sea Mist circling and raised the alarm The son discovered one of his father’s boots entangled in a back rope. Sea Mist’s skipper had attempted to cut himself free. He was not wearing a lifejacket at the time. Following a sea- and air-search, he was recovered deceased from the water. 

There have been 33 recorded fatalities on UK creel boats/potting vessels since the beginning of 2007, 20 of which were a result of either falling or being dragged overboard with the gear. 

Safety lessons 

  •  A physical barrier between him and the back rope could have prevented this accident. 
  •  He was working alone on deck without a lifejacket or personal locator beacon. 
  •  He had carried out some sensible safety precautions: he was carrying a knife, unfortunately his attempt to cut himself free was not successful.

Full Marine Accident Investigation reports: www.gov.uk/maib

Photo from the full report

Have any questions? Give us a call 01368 865 404