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Caithness.org News Bulletins -  November 2002

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Relentless Sea Undoes Work At North Pier 13 November 2002

The hardcore put in a few days ago by council workers as a temporary measure has been partly washed out by the sea before the concrete could be put on top.  Bad weather has once again been the culprit.  Property owners in the lower areas round the harbour area are at risk if the pier wall were to collapse and the outer harbour took the full brunt of a bad storm.  The Highland Council postponed the second phase of the works on the piers but it now looks as if that decision is catching up on them.

North Pier - Working From Dawn To Dusk 9 November 2002

Work went on all day on Saturday 9 November 2002 to fill the hole in the north pier with aggregate.  The repairs are temporary and it is hoped that this will hold things until next spring when bigger works may start.  200 tonnes of aggregate were being put into place prior to concrete being put on top next week.  The hole in the pier low down below the water is still there and might possibly lead to further damage but this was the best option in the time available.  Highland Council agreed to fund the repairs as the Wick Harbour Trust does not have the funds to do the work.

North Pier - Highland Council Investigates and Makes Temporary Repairs 8 November 2002

Highland Council agreed to make investigations into the damage sustained at the pier at Wick Harbour and to put in place some temporary remedial workCouncil workmen and engineers were on site and expected to have to work over the weekend to complete.  Major works are required to safeguard the pier for the future but it will not be possible to start this until at least next spring as winter weather will make it too difficult.

North Pier, Wick Damaged In Weekend Storm 5 November 2002
The north pier at Wick sustained major damage with a large hole appearing in the top having been punched from underneath by the huge tidal surges and storm that affected the whole harbour area.

The large hole in the surface concrete is clear to see but what is not known is how the storm has affected the rest of the concrete along the length of the pier and what if any damage has been sustained by the main wall.

Pictures of Damage

Some work was carried out on the pier in a first stage that was to have continued last year.  The second stage of remedial work was not carried out and the worst fears of some folk may now begin to be realised over the coming winter with many more storms yet to come.  Last winter may not have been as bad as might have been expected and saved the pier from the damage that some have been predicting and which seems now to be underway.

The entrance to the outer harbour is also suspect as the end of the piers are apparently undermined and require work to prevent collapse.   Time may be running out as more damage can happen at any storm if it takes the same direction as the one that occurred at the weekend.  

Businesses in the harbour area took no chances and put up the sandbags just in case there was a repeat of the storm.  Luckily things have calmed down and there was no heavy weather.  The road at the Shore has been completely cleared and reopened.   Material that was often moved back at the edge of shore street has this time been removed to prevent it being thrown up onto the road again.

The main concern of people with low lying properties is when there will be another big storm and will the pier stay in place.   People whose grandparents have long memories remember that the wick river used to flood far up river when the sea was pushed in by storms.  Even as far up as the Safeways supermarket was in the past flooded. 

Te surges of water coming into Wick Bay are held back by the pier.   From time to time it is possible to see the waves running up the Wick river but they generally lose their force before they reach the main bridge at Bridge Street.   The question on everyone's lips is - "Is that about to change in one catastrophic episode at another storm?"   Certainly there were many folk out at 1.00am the other night watching the storm at its height wondering if this was the night.  There was damage to the pier and walls along Shore street but fortunately not the worst scenario of total collapse. 

Other Damage and Clearing Up Pictures