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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.


Every year, Robin Hamilton of the Trust, inspects our harbour walls for winter damage. Usually this is a manual inspection requiring a crane, several skilled men, and a low tide with good weather. This year Robin asked Jeff (yes, that man above with his trusty drone, again) to help us out. This was a great success, being safer, quicker and free! Our security depends on safe, strong walls.

Photo 1 above by Kenny Maule.   Click <<READ MORE>> below for photo 2 of the damage one average winter can cause.

Dunbar RNLI are searching for a Community Safety Officer to join their team of volunteers.

RNLI: "This role is pivotal to the design and implementation of our Community Lifesaving Plan. You will liaise closely with the Community Incident Reduction Manager and the wider team at the lifeboat station to produce a community lifesaving plan that is aimed at reducing fatalities and serious incidents by targeting particular “at risk” groups with specifically-focused interventions.

See https://www.facebook.com/rnlidunbarlifeboat/ for more details.

If you would like to join a friendly and motivated team, have some of the required skills, and would like to invest some of your time into a community focussed drive to improve water-safety in the area, we would like to hear from you.  Training will be provided to ensure a full knowledge of the RNLI and in particular the work of a Community Safety Officer.

Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any enquiries, or to apply for this role. Our thanks to 'Mr Smith Aerial' for his photograph of Belhaven Bridge."

Local resident and harbour-lover, Jeff Carter, used his drone and professional skills to video the castle.

This amazing video: https://vimeo.com/518058621 gives spectacular views of the castle; turn up your volume for the music.

Photos from Jeff's video company MacLean Photographic. Click <<READ MORE>> below for photo 2

The Harbour Trust's application for a grant of £64,000 from Marine Scotland was successful (hooray!) and will provide Dunbar's fishermen with several improvements. Robin Hamilton is working with A.G. Thomson to complete these works by the funds' specified time-limits. Possible works:---

  • The safety-rail and road improvements along south pier
  • Two sets of branders and ladders at Cromwell
  • Improved moorings in Cromwell Harbour, 
  • Replacement rams for the Harbour Bridge (the safe working of the bridge is critical to the smooth running of the harbour)
  • Plates for the bridge
  • Repairs to the harbour wall in Broadhaven near McArthur Store (see photo of a sudden rock-fall)

 Photo  by Kenny Maule.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is to use surveillance aircraft to check that fishermen are wearing lifejackets at sea.

Tim Oliver of the MCA reports: "Wearing lifejackets or using a safety harness at all times was made compulsory in December 2018 on all vessels, unless a vessel has a documented risk-assessment to show that risks of going overboard are controlled in another way. The move is an element of increased monitoring of the UK fishing fleet that has been announced by the MCA to improve safety and well-being for everyone working on fishing vessels.

The MCA will be taking full advantage of resources and new technology – for example, the use of new fixed-wing aircraft with high-quality cameras onboard. It will use the aircraft to search for pollution at sea, and in search operations. “The planes will also be equipped to observe and report on the operations of fishing vessels which are not complying with UK legislation, for example the wearing of personal flotation devices (PFDs) and lifejackets on a fishing vessel.” said the MCA.

David Fenner, head of fishing-safety at the MCA, commented: “Fishing is still the most dangerous profession in the UK today and, whilst we are seeing improvements in safety, tragically there were seven lives lost in the industry last year, all of which could have been prevented."

The Harbourmaster recently assured the Trust that most Dunbar fishermen now do wear their lifejackets when out at sea.

Photo from MCA’s website.   See more at https://fishingnews.co.uk/news/lifejacket-aircraft-checks


"There's a little grebe in the harbour, just outside your window", came the phone call from my bird-watching friend Andy.

Sure enough, there was! Little grebes are recently unknown in our harbour so this was a very rare occurrence, however they are resident in East Lothian's estuaries and marshes. Look for it wherever there are suitable lakes, gravel pits, canals and slow rivers with plenty of vegetation. In winter it can be found on more exposed lakes, as well as sheltered coasts and estuaries. In summer it has a bright, chestnut throat and cheeks and a pale patch at the base of the bill. It can be noisy, with a distinctive whinnying trill. At 25--29cm the little grebe is a small, dumpy grebe, smaller than a moorhen. It often appears to have a 'fluffy' rear-end, eats insects, larvae and small fish and was busy diving in Broadhaven when I took this photo. It is unlikely to nest here as our 5m. tidal rise prevents it building a stable nest.

Photo credit Kenny Maule.

Interview with Romie Blair (Nessie), inspiration and taskmaster of Dunbar Against Litter.

Founded by Nessie, DAL is a group of like-minded people who would like to see Dunbar as litter-free as possible. DAL works with East Lothian Council, Zero Waste Dunbar, and Viridor as well as businesses and individuals in Dunbar who work at disposing of litter responsibly. Nessie is also a West Barns Community councillor.

“We are all volunteers, picking up litter from our streets, beaches, countryside and roadside and disposing of it in a responsible manner. We also want to spread the word and get people on board. You can volunteer! We have a project of Adopting-a-street - asking people to help clean up an area of the town. We can assist you by supplying bags and we hope to be able to supply pick-up sticks and hi-vis vests where funds allow. We can also help by advising where you can drop off bags that will be collected regularly. Additionally, we have litter bins in areas that the Council cannot reach. These bins are emptied regularly by our volunteers.”

Big Blu (Chris Percy-Davies), who has previously run the pizza van at the harbour, would like to open a seafood kitchen here this summer, starting in springtime. The unit, a converted, timber-clad container-sized building, is expected to be on the hardstanding, near Bisset’s Seafood, once the yachts are in the water and it will be removed from site in the autumn when the yachts need to return to the hardstanding. Chris is awaiting Planning’s decision. The Harbour Trust are supporting this plan on their land. The menu will be mainly seafood, to take away. Big Blu Sea's sample menu:

Cullen Skink
Smoked haddock fish cakes, sorrel sauce
Fried whitebait, shredded lettuce pickles and aioli 
Fish tacos with red cabbage and chimichurri compote
Grilled garlic and chilli prawns
Grilled goat’s cheese, tomato, pickled cucumber, and walnut salad. 
Angel haddock, fish and chips -battered or breaded 
Moules Mariniere (Scottish west coast mussels), white wine and parsley sauce  -small/large
Whole Devilled Dunbar mackerel with mint, tomato salad and new potatoes
Mussels (Scottish west coast mussels) braised in Thistly Cross Cider, Pancetta, white onions, leeks, cream -small/large
Grilled American-style Aberdeen Angus 8oz cheeseburger with melted cheese, onions, tomato, pickles and homemade special sauce on a grilled butter bun. 

Photos from Chris himself. Click <<READ MORE>> below for photo 2 of his proposed position.

So what is sea smoke? It's essentially fog above the water. In order for this thick sea smoke to occur, you need cold air above relatively warm water. When wind mixes that cool air with the warm air immediately above the water, moisture condenses it into fog, or sea smoke. Think about the steam above a boiling pot of water or a warm bath or a hot drink or even an exercising person: it's the same process! 

Arctic sea smoke is sea smoke forming over small patches of open water in sea ice or even above the ice itself. Off the coast of Canada the Grand Banks has the cold Labrador Current mixing with the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, often causing extremely foggy conditions. It is usually not very high and lookouts on a ship's bridge can usually see over it (but small boats may have very poor visibility) because the fog is confined to the layer of warm air above the sea. In the 'old days' they climbed the mast to see ahead.

Jeff Carter's photo above captures this at Dunbar!

A watergaw is a truncated rainbow, see Chas Penny’s photo above. These are not often seen in other countries but we see them due to Scotland’s combination of bright sunshine slanting at a low angle between heavy clouds and a splash of rain.

Written in Lowlands Scots (a.k.a. Lallans) Hugh MacDiarmid's poem is below but this link has Hugh’s explanation in English.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGTlgox5URc ‘Sae noo ye ken, son’. 

       The Watergaw, by Hugh MacDiarmid
Ae weet forenicht i’ the yow-trummle   
I saw yon antrin thing,
A watergaw wi’ its chitterin’ licht
Ayont the on-ding;
An’ I thocht o’ the last wild look ye gied   
Afore ye deed!
There was nae reek i’ the laverock’s hoose   
That nicht—an’ nane i’ mine;
But I hae thocht o’ that foolish licht   
Ever sin’ syne;
An’ I think that mebbe at last I ken
What your look meant then.
Photo by Chas Penny
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