Near the now decommissioned nuclear power station at Dounereay is the small harbour at Sandside. There is something about small harbours. The hint of time past, never to return are difficult to resist. The fact that Ther is now only a FW working boats still based in the harbour shouts out “Come and explore me. Don’t forget about my glory days! I once had a history”. Sandside Harbour is exactly one of those places. Even though the Dounreay Power Station is difficult to ignore, the romance of a small harbour can’t be ignored.
There is not very much written about the harbour, but the quality of it’s built is difficult to miss. The harbour was built about 1830 by Major William Innes of Sandside for a cost of £3000. I’m sure that the Major had some interest in helping the locals by providing a base for trade, but more likely he hoped to cash in on the herring fishery that was providing huge profits for those who had cornered the market. Though this was not to last and the herring stocks collapsed after decades of over fishing.
It seems that there is still a boat working from the harbour, with lobster and crab creels still stacked along the quay and a boat moored within the harbour. The houses and fishing store have now been converted into holiday lets.
A short walk along the coast brings you to fantastic dry stone wall built from field clearance stones at the base and cleaved limestone and sandstone tiles. Topping the wall lichens have made colonies.