Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk

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Skullomie (5163)

Current Priority
2
East
261700
North
961450
Site Type
Harbour; Quay; Sea-Wall
Period
C19th

A massive dry-stone rubble quay built in the late C19th (Hume 1977, 320) and said to have been constructed for the use of the people of Tongue. However, it was inconveniently placed for access by land, with a dangerous sea-approach, and was thus little used (Hume, ibid; Beaton 1995, 85). The quay is built onto a rock-islet and linked to the shore by a causeway, which is constructed in two parts at a slight angle to each other, which creates the harbour at the S. The landward stretch of the quay runs for c 74 m to the NE before turning slightly to run for c 76 m to the NNE, where it terminates on the rock-islet. The S edge of the quay has three stair-wells built into the structure, and a ramped high-tide launch attached to the SW end. On the surface of the quay there are a number of vertical stone mooring-bollards as well as a portable iron fish-gutting table. At the seaward end of the quay there is a large sea-wall which has been breached and has tumbled over the surface of the quay. There is also a great deal of damage to the NNE tip of the quay where there is a large quantity of dressed blocks strewn across the intertidal zone. The road which leads down to the quay has been revetted at the SW where it meets the quay as there is a small inlet where water rushes through at the S. This revetment has been badly damaged by the force of the water that comes through here. The NE and SW ends of this quay are being badly damaged by the force of the waves that hit it. This process is probably being aided by the manual removal of stones from the fabric for use in surrounding settlements. This allows gaps into which the water is forced and it can dislodge surrounding stones and wash out smaller packing-stones which give the structure stability. This is a monumental site, very impressively built, and requires to be surveyed in the light of the effect that wave-and-storm action is having on it in an attempt to preserve its structural integrity.

29/05/2013 Not much changed since the description, but evidence that structural decay of the quay, the slipway and the sea wall have worsened. The east seaward end of the quay is badly damaged allowing water to penetrate the rubble core causing subsidence. There was evidence on our visit that an attempt to backfill and stabilise the quay was underway using material excavated from the beach adjacent to the slipway. The massive sea wall on the north side of the quay is badly damaged and tumbled. The west end of the stone slipway is damaged.

Condition and current recommendations:

Condition
Fair
Action
Visit - assess condition of the site ;
Survey site - topographic and photographic survey ;
Monitor site, as part of a local group project

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Record 13: 9 on map 13 in North Sutherland Survey: Coastal Zone Assessment, 1998

Other records:

NMRS
5804
SMR
MHG12559

ShoreUpdates

1 ShoreUpdate accepted and 0 pending.

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29th May, 2013 by NOSAS
Survey Information
User:
NOSAS
Date:
May 29, 2013
Tidal state:
mid
Site located?:
Yes
Condition Information
Proximity to coast edge:
intertidal
Coastally eroding?:
active sea erosion
Is there a coastal defence?:
no
Other threats?:
structural damage/decay
Description:

A massive dry-stone rubble quay built in the late C19th (Hume 1977, 320) and said to have been constructed for the use of the people of Tongue. However, it was inconveniently placed for access by land, with a dangerous sea-approach, and was thus little used (Hume, ibid; Beaton 1995, 85). The quay is built onto a rock-islet and linked to the shore by a causeway, which is constructed in two parts at a slight angle to each other, which creates the harbour at the S. The landward stretch of the quay runs for c 74 m to the NE before turning slightly to run for c 76 m to the NNE, where it terminates on the rock-islet. The S edge of the quay has three stair-wells built into the structure, and a ramped high-tide launch attached to the SW end. On the surface of the quay there are a number of vertical stone mooring-bollards as well as a portable iron fish-gutting table. At the seaward end of the quay there is a large sea-wall which has been breached and has tumbled over the surface of the quay. There is also a great deal of damage to the NNE tip of the quay where there is a large quantity of dressed blocks strewn across the intertidal zone. The road which leads down to the quay has been revetted at the SW where it meets the quay as there is a small inlet where water rushes through at the S. This revetment has been badly damaged by the force of the water that comes through here. The NE and SW ends of this quay are being badly damaged by the force of the waves that hit it. This process is probably being aided by the manual removal of stones from the fabric for use in surrounding settlements. This allows gaps into which the water is forced and it can dislodge surrounding stones and wash out smaller packing-stones which give the structure stability. This is a monumental site, very impressively built, and requires to be surveyed in the light of the effect that wave-and-storm action is having on it in an attempt to preserve its structural integrity.

29/05/2013 Not much changed since the description, but evidence that structural decay of the quay, the slipway and the sea wall have worsened. The east seaward end of the quay is badly damaged allowing water to penetrate the rubble core causing subsidence. There was evidence on our visit that an attempt to backfill and stabilise the quay was underway using material excavated from the beach adjacent to the slipway. The massive sea wall on the north side of the quay is badly damaged and tumbled. The west end of the stone slipway is damaged.

Management Information
How visible are the remains? (above ground):
highly visible (substantial remains)
How accessibile is the site?:
easily accessible- no restrictions
The site is:
is well known; has local associations/history
Comments and recommendations
Recommendations:

The quay is redundant and so at high risk of rapid decay now that the structure of the quay has been breached. Check ownership. Are there any plans for re-use or renovation? Is there a management plan?

Maintain priority 2 to highlight the management issues for the monument.