Business booming for Buckie shipyard
THE resurrection of the local area's proud shipbuilding heritage took centre stage for Moray MP Douglas Ross when he visited Macduff Shipyard's facility at Buckie Harbour.
The site became a graveyard of dreams – and over 60 jobs – when then owners closed the gates for the last time, but has been enjoying a heady renaissance under the direction of the successful Macduff shipbuilders.
In just two years since being bought over the shipyard is once again one of the town's major employers.
It was a visit which was to leave Mr Ross, accompanied by Buckie Conservative councillor Tim Eagle, very impressed by the revival which has been experienced by the business.
"It's good to see how the shipyard has been significantly expanding," Mr Ross said.
"I was also very encouraged to hear that their purchase of another part of the old shipyard has gone through the council successfully.
"This all represents significant investment by the company in this yard and in the economy of Buckie.
"What I find most encouraging of all is the fact that the yard now has orders for the next three years and is once again a major local employer with I believe 30 to 40 employees. This is outstanding, especially when you consider that all of this has been achieved in just two years.
"It's excellent to see a facility like this being used again."
Mr Ross went on to pledge that the UK Government would continue to work with the Scottish Government and Moray Council to secure further investment in the development of coastal communities.
There was plenty for Macduff Shipyards' managing director John Watt to show the local Conservative MP on his tour of the site, including a new facility which will allow boats in for repairs or refit to be moved between slips, including ones at the new area recently purchased. This is currently contained within a large shed structure at the north end of the harbour site and was formerly part of the Herd and Mackenzie yard.
Mr Watt continued: "It's taken a lot of work to get to this point, there's scarcely a part of the yard which has been left untouched.
"It's been quite busy and I'm glad to see Buckie Harbour getting busier; it was very, very quiet for far too long and, of course, a busier harbour means more revenue for the council.
"This is a tremendous facility in a good location, we've one of the best facilities for slipping boats along the coast.
"We're dealing with a variety of boats – tugs, workboats and fishing boats. In terms of new builds we've been looking at everything from 10m workboats up to 28m fishing boats. The market for fishing boats is busy at the moment.
"Thanks to the work we've done here we can now handle vessels up to 650 tonnes."
Councillor Eagle added: "I'm delighted to have had the chance to see round the yard and the large amount of work which has been done.
"All of this is really good news for Buckie."
Mr Ross's visit to Macduff Shipyards Buckie was just one stop in a busy day touring the local area.
Findochty was the first port of call when Mr Ross had the opportunity t speak to some harbour users before heading to Rathven and the Boormalt malting plant.
After seeing round the shipyard, Mr Ross was off to Mayne's Coaches before spending the rest of the afternoon conducting surgeries in Buckie, Portknockie and Cullen.
Mr Ross said: "It was great to get the opportunity to talk to some of the harbour users in Findochty, a place I've very fond memories of when I went caravanning there with my mum and dad when I was a child.
The harbour has much to offer and I'd urge the council to think strategically when it comes to its future.
"It was fascinating to have the chance to visit the maltings; I've something like 40 per cent of Scotch production based in my constituency but I ten only to see it when it's finished and bottled. The maltings are, of course, a very important stage in making whisky and Boormalt are a major local employer.
"I was also delighted to visit Mayne's Coaches, another major local employer who are investing heavily."