The way forward

In July 2008 this booklet, produced by Portgordon Community Harbour Group, was hand delivered to every household in Portgordon. The objective was to ensure our local community were fully aware of current progress on the regeneration project. It was also aimed at creating further interest to a point where more members of the community would join the group – this is happening now.

We are aware of interest beyond the village and wish to offer those parties an opportunity to read the booklet below

If, after reading about the scheme, you wish to join the Group, we will be more than happy to welcome you - wherever you are in the world. One day when the project comes to fruition you will know that you have played a part in it. Please read on……………..

The booklet begins with:......



A message from the chairman

It seems a long time ago that our small group began its journey towards regeneration of the harbour area. We have achieved a lot in the time from inception until the present day including publishing a comprehensive feasibility study and a detailed business plan. Of course, there is some way to go but there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

Our small but dedicated team has had its motives questioned and its spirit tested, yet continues to move forward, clear in the knowledge that undertaking this challenge is the right thing to do, for it will ultimately bring about a marked improvement to the village and in so doing will enhance the area for the benefit of all. The works done to date have paved the way for the future

We recently received a most encouraging letter from Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who is extremely supportive of our venture. He also made mention of the huge growth in sailing as a sport and leisure activity, now the third largest sport in terms of participation in the United Kingdom. It’s nice to know that someone so well respected and busy can spare time to write to us in such a positive way.

Sir Robin also added “Wherever a Marina has been developed, a number of local jobs are created. These spread beyond those required to manage the Marina itself into support services for boats and facilities used by visitors. It becomes a valuable addition to the local community”

We started with nothing but commitment. We have a lot of support. We want to build on this. In publishing this booklet we are explaining what we are about, where we are at the moment and finally where we intend to be in the future

Potential funders of this project will want us to demonstrate a high level of community support within the village. We would therefore urge everyone in the village to become a member of Portgordon Community Harbour Group . If you do this you will strengthen our bids for funding. Further details on becoming a member are included later in this booklet.

The time is right. The demand is there. Please support the regeneration project. It’s your village, your future.

Thank you,

Ron Billing

Chairman – Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd July 2008



Portgordon harbour is showing signs of neglect, without maintenance it will go into decline, it is inevitable. The unknown factor is when, of course it’s impossible to give an estimation of this since the strongest player is likely to be the weather. Nevertheless there are choices; some of these would be challenging, one in particular, regeneration!

This major challenge has been met head on………………. In 2003 villagers met at a packed public meeting in the Village Hall to discuss the state of the harbour and undertook to make changes that would take it from its neglected state into something worthwhile and at the same time benefit the community.

A small team formed Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd and embarked on a long, but worthwhile, journey with the intention of taking over the harbour from its current owners, Crown Estates. This is well documented and the efforts they have made are generally known locally. However, despite a number of meetings and reports to the community via the media and village hall meetings there remains some doubt as to what is happening and when.

There is the possibility and danger, that without meaningful information being made available the project may seem to be standing still or even abandoned, this is not the case at all.

There is a need to provide more information in a better way. That is why the Group has a dedicated website, but of course this is only one line of communication and we understand not everyone has access to this medium.

The management team feel it necessary to deliver the message that the Group is active and moving forward with its stated aim of creating a Marina, combining pontoons with ramp access and security, which will provide approximately 60 berths, comprising working boats, day boats and yachts. The plan is to achieve this within five years

This booklet has been produced to meet the Groups needs and is being hand delivered to each household within the community.

A number of copies will be available for other interested parties.

We do hope this booklet will answer any questions that you may have and that you will support our aims. The Group is always pleased to answer any questions and can be contacted via the website “” or by way of information links on the harbour notice board


The future

The Group wish to see the harbour developed as a marina and become a visitor attraction that will benefit the community and visitors to the village

There will be approximately sixty berths for leisure craft and small working boats

Facilities might include

Pontoons with access ramp/s Power Water Fuel Toilets Seating Lighting Security Workshop facilities Clubhouse/Heritage area/Training Centre/Meeting place

Once established it is hoped the marina will provide a range of activities aimed at the younger generation and the young at heart, for example, canoe handling, dinghy sailing moving on to yachting. In short to provide a centre for learning seamanship and the disciplines involved under proper controlled supervision.

In an ideal world there might even be a place for something along the lines of a two masted sailing ship based here for training purposes

There is no doubting many possibilities, opportunities and challenges lie ahead. We believe all ideas are good ideas and welcome any suggestions that are put forward

Clubhouse/Heritage/Training Centre/Meeting Place

The Clubhouse would be multifunctional in its use, catering for harbour users and the local community. It would have toilets and basic catering facilities. It would house a permanent heritage display. It would serve as a classroom for training purposes. It will work in tandem with the Village Hall in event sharing. It would be a meeting place for anyone to just drop in. Due to it’s location on the Speyside Way it will receive casual visitors who shall be welcomed and impressed by what is happening.

Finally, it will be a fitting tribute to those with foresight to see the future, whose ideals are not of self interest but rather support a view to improving the village for all



Grants/Sponsorship/Merchandising/Local events

Funding will be vital as we move forward. It is not enough to just have the will – we must also have the means and to a large extent that means finance

As you know fundraising takes many forms, for example:

Grants Grants may well be available and the Group are exploring this fully. We have made a business case to start this process as we progress toward ownership of the harbour

Sponsorship Another option and one that demands particular care to avoid any conflict of interests

Merchandising An important revenue source with definite potential. If we can develop ‘Portgordon Harbour’ as a brand then we can not only increase income but generate publicity as well – we need both. Remember there are Portgordoners’ around the globe who still have feelings for the village and will welcome a souvenir of their former home Many ideas have been put forward already, such as Cups, Mugs, Pens, Pencils, Badges, Key Rings, Christmas Cards, Calendars, Coasters, Model Boats, Books, Pictures, prints and photographs. We will consider everything.

Local events This route has been ongoing for some time with events like Tombola, New years dance, Gala day dance and we hope to step up our local fundraising efforts in the future. This years Raft Race & Gala Day is on 19th July and will be the Groups 5th annual Gala event. We would encourage everyone to attend and support the event. Any suggestions or offers of help would be greatly appreciated. The Gala has become the main event in the village calendar and has rightly returned the harbour area to the centre of the community!



In looking to the future we also must remember bygone days and with this in mind our club house/training centre/meeting room will feature some of the past in the form of artefacts, pictures/photographs and writings invoking memories of times gone by for future generations to enjoy, understand and appreciate.

No one should forget the benefits the fishing industry brought to Scotland. Fishing was vital in economic terms to the well being of the Nation. Portgordon played its part, at one time as many as one hundred fishing boats could be using the harbour, in addition, there were regular visits by cargo vessels – it was a thriving port.

Portgordon was considered a centre of excellence for boatbuilding and built many fine craft with its skilled workforce. Perhaps the most notable vessels to be built in the village were the Steam Drifters – for the first time fishermen were not reliant on the wind alone, they also brought a degree of comfort with the enclosed cabin area that must surely have been welcomed by the hard working crews of the day.

We should remind ourselves and future generations of the high price that fishermen paid. Prior to the arrival of ‘Drifters’ conditions were poor and whilst the sea could be both cruel and kind, loss of life was a common occurrence. Even today fishing can be a dangerous occupation as we all know only too well

A moving and apt quote from Sir Walter Scott really says it all.

“It’s not fish yer buyin – it’s men’s lives”

Let us also remember the founder of the village, Alexander 4th Duke of Gordon who also raised that most famous of regiments, feared and respected throughout the world – The Gordon Highlanders.

This venture will be an ideal platform to launch the next chapter that will one day be history.



History to date including milestone events

Date/Event 1797 Village founded by Alexander 4th Duke of Gordon

1797 1st Harbour built

1854 Portgordon Harbour Act formed

1870 - 1874 Harbour rebuilt & extended

1935 Ownership transfers to the Crown Estate

1947 Harbour closed as a port

1985 Gurkhas carried out major repairs to breach on west pier

1987 Gurkhas carried out repairs to west pier and breakwaters

1988 Gurkhas constructed new slipway

April 2003 Group formed to regenerate the Harbour

December 2003 First New Years Eve Dance

July 2004 First Gala Day, plaque unveiled & seating provided

November 2004 Feasibility study commenced

April 2005 Feasibility Study published

July 2005 Group becomes a Limited Company

July 2005 Second Gala Day

April 2006 Website launched

July 2006 Third Gala Day

January 2007 Business Plan commenced

July 2007 Fourth Gala Day

October 2007 Business Plan completed and submitted

December 2007 Business Plan approved (in principle)

April 2008 Group Committee re-structured

The above are for general information only

All listings are considered key events in the progress of the village and the Groups activities to date.

If you have access to the internet our website is updated on a regular basis – visit “”


Questions & Answers

What will this proposed regeneration cost members of the community financially?

Other than occasionally choosing to contribute on a voluntary basis at local fundraising events the project will cost you nothing. Capital costs for the regeneration will be funded from grants. Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd. will be a charitable organisation with limited liability status. Everyone is working to make this an asset.

I am not opposed to the scheme but I am opposed to paying for it?

The answer to the question above applies. We understand there may be doubts but what we are aiming for will not place a financial burden on any individual in the village. To suggest villagers will have to pay for this scheme is wrong and unhelpful – what we need from the village is support. We are trying to improve things. We are all on the same side.

When will we see changes taking place?

The Group has already made cosmetic changes, however the major part of the scheme depends on finance and that is the Groups focus at present – it all takes time and Office Bearers, although committed, cannot work full time on the project.

I don’t own boat nor do I intend to. Where is the benefit for me?

Portgordon Harbour has been closed for 60 years and has been in decline for most of this time. There seems little prospect of the current owners developing the area. Portgordon Community Harbour Group aim to take over control of the harbour and regenerate the area for the benefit of everyone in the village. The harbour would be owned and operated by the community - for the community.

To go further the group would expect more visitors who in turn may well make use of the current traders in the village thereby adding to their business needs; remember they operate in a commercial world that can only benefit from more trade. If they benefit so should we all. There is also the prospect of creating local jobs as the marina develops. This would all help the local economy. It isn’t just about money – take a look down the road at Findochty, see the people wandering round enjoying the harbour – it just adds life to the area

Will you achieve charitable status?

Yes, provided we can demonstrate our capabilities in meeting the requirements to obtain this.

Will you get Lottery Funding?

We shall be applying for it. Clearly a lot of the money needed for this scheme will take the form of a grant or grants, the Lottery fund being one source. We are working toward this. In addition local funding from Raft Race & Gala Day, New Years Eve Dance and Tombola all generate funds and publicity for the Group and we continue looking at ways to expand our revenue streams

Can you give a date when it will all be finished?

In short No – this is one of the most frequently asked questions, understandably so, however the Group has examined this aspect closely and it would be unfair to speculate because there are so many variables involved. What we can say is we are making progress



Portgordon Community Harbour Group is a Community Group and membership is open to everyone within the local area and others with a keen interest in the redevelopment of the harbour. In other words you are welcome to join us from near or afar.

The Group wish to make membership more readily available

We recognise there is a lot of interest and energy out there and want to cultivate this and add to our growing number of supporters. As a member you will receive an invitation to attend meetings on progress, have opportunities to speak, to agree or disagree on any aspect of the Groups activities – in short you will be helping, influencing and shaping the future

Being a member is free. It does not place any obligation or commitment upon you as an individual. You may or may not attend meetings. What your membership does is show the outside world there is quantifiable support for regeneration of the harbour. This element is extremely important. The external bodies that we aim to involve and help fund the project will want to see evidence of community support. The fact that it seems like a good idea will not wash – hence membership growth is vital in terms of moving forward

There are interesting times ahead – be a part of it. Fill in the application form and post or hand deliver it to Portgordon Community Harbour Group c/o 1 Shore Street, Portgordon. AB56 5RW or Portgordon Community Harbour Group c/o The Lampie Hoose Gordon Square, Portgordon, Moray, AB56 5RG

Any personal information you submit will not be made available to any third party for any reason whatsoever. The Group is committed to the principles of the Data Protection Act

In summary, it is vitally important to the Group and project as a whole to show there is widespread support. We know the demand is there – we need to merge it with support.

Please join us and remember age and ability are not barriers. Together we can make a great place even better!


Application for membership

I hereby apply to become a member of the Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd. I note that in accordance with the Groups Articles of Association my application is subject to approval by the Group’s Directors. Should my application be successful I agree to abide by the Groups Constitution.

PRINT NAME: ……………………………………………………………………………

ADDRESS: ………………………………………………………………………………..


POSTCODE: ……………………………………………………………………………...

TEL. ………………………………………………………………………….

E-MAIL ADDRESS: ……………………………………………………………………..

SIGNED: ………………………………………………………………………………….

Membership approved / not approved on (date): ………………..

Signed: ………………………………….

Director (PCHG)

Membership Number…………………….

Fill in the application form and post or hand deliver it to:

Portgordon Community Harbour Group c/o The Lampie Hoose Gordon Square, Portgordon, Moray AB56 5RG


About Portgordon Community Harbour Group

Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd formed in 2003 with the sole purpose of regenerating Portgordon Harbour.

The Group currently comprises four directors Note: Directors are not paid nor do they receive any financial benefits in this capacity.

In April 2008 the Group restructured and formed a Committee of 12 in order to ensure better community representation and to align the Group for its future transition to Harbour Trust status.

The Group is a not for profit organisation

The Group is aiming to become a charitable trust.

The Group is actively raising funds for the project and will make representations, as appropriate, for grant funding from various credible sources

A feature of the Marina, once complete, is that it will remain a not for profit organisation. All funds generated by the Group will be held in trust form.

The Marina will be self financing and all charges for its use will be made by and approved by the trust with the clear aim of sustainability.

What this means All excess of income over expenditure will be held in trust for the trust.

It is important to understand that income must equal or exceed expenditure and any excess becomes surplus (not profit) that will benefit Portgordon harbour (Marina) in the future

All income and expenditure figures are available at Annual General Meetings with the Directors accountable for the integrity and accuracy of the figures. As a legal requirement the figures are audited independently

Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd - registered Scottish Charity No: SC040805
Patron: Mrs Clare Russell - Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire
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