Towards the end of the 19th Century when about 50 yawls, manned by 200 fishermen were fishing out of Collieston, proposals to provide a deep, sheltered harbour were widely mooted.
On 17th October 1894, Lady Gordon Cathcart of Cluny Castle, the proprietor of Slains Estate, laid the foundation stone for a pier to be built which would close a gap through the ridge of rocks called ‘the Black Rig’ on the east side of the haven. Locally, this gap was referred to as the ‘North’ entrance. Unfortunately the closing of the eastern entrance led to a considerable accumulation of sand within the new harbour and this, together with the advent of steam trawlers working out of Aberdeen, resulted in a steady drift away from the village by fishermen and their families to Torry.
By the mid 1920s only about a dozen small fishing boats worked out of Collieston and the Harbour Trustees had disbanded. After World War II the pier was in an advanced state of disrepair, battered each winter by furious gales.
An Amenities Committee was formed in 1957 and staged the first of its annual summer Galas the following year. Much of the funds raised over the years went towards pier repairs.
At the end of the 1980s the whole of the inner face of the parapet required renewal. The villagers and lovers of Collieston from far and near, together with Grampian Regional and Gordon District Councils, raised £60,000 to carry out the work in the summer of 1990. To reflect the change of use of Collieston Harbour from commercial fishing to leisure and recreation and to ensure its future, the Collieston Harbour Act of 1894 was updated by Parliament as “The Collieston Harbour Revision Order, 1991” which came into force in November of that year. This Order required re-establishment of the Harbour Trustees.
Over time, the management of the Pier and Harbour changed, and is now shared between the two remaining original Harbour Trustees positions representing Aberdeenshire Council, and the Collieston Harbour Heritage Group, which is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. CHHG Trustees are volunteer members of the community and the group has it’s AGM in September to which everyone is welcome to attend.
In the last year, a large amount of repair work has been carried out at the back of the pier and also on the inside wall. Ladders, handrails and guard rails have also been replaced.