The Pier
Collieston viewed from Cransdale in 1957. Waves, fuelled by a north-easterly wind, are crashing against the Pier wall. Built in 1894, the Pier had had to endure more than one hundred years of pounding by the North Sea and had sustained some damage along the way.

By the late 1950’s the Pier was in a sad state of repair. Sir Douglas Ritchie, who had recently retired to the family home in the village, proposed the formation of a Collieston Amenities Committee. Formed in 1957, its purpose was to raise money for the maintenance of the Pier as well as the unique system of roadies or paths that ran throughout the village.

To the rear are the relatively calm waters of the protected harbour. Clearly visible on the horizon behind the crashing waves is the headland known as the Braehead, a popular vantage point for both locals and visitors.
  Aerial View  
A southerly view taken circa 1950 which clearly shows the houses huddled round the harbour in the foreground and the patchwork fields of the surrounding farmland to the rear of the village.

Collieston’s first name was appropriately enough Seatown. Collieston comes from Gaelic and means ‘a hamlet nestling between the hills’. Legend has it that when nearby Forvie, to the south of the present day village, was blown over by a catastrophic sandstorm in 1413 the survivors found a safe haven of refuge there.

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The Collieston Auxiliary Coastguard Company was called out to assist after the drifter ‘Stephens’ ran aground in bad weather some 200 yards offshore on the Forvie Sands on November 8, 1956. For their part in the successful rescue of the ship’s 10-man crew by breeches buoy, the Company was awarded the Board of Trade Shield in 1957 for the best wreck service of the year.

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  First Gala Day  
Sir Douglas Ritchie (left) and Richard (Dick) Donald (right), a resident of the village and Director of Aberdeen Football Club, are standing in front of a stall and marquee at the first Gala Day in 1958.

By the mid 1950’s the Pier, built in 1894, was in a sad state of repair. Sir Douglas Ritchie, from an old Collieston family and formerly Vice Chairman of the London Port of Authority, had retired to the family home in the village and proposed the formation of a Collieston Amenities Committee.

Formed in 1957, its purpose was to attempt to raise money for the maintenance of the Pier and the unique system of roadies or paths that ran throughout the village. The first Gala Day to raise money for this conservation task was held in 1958. The Pier was duly repaired and Gala Day has been a feature of village life every summer since.

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Food Factory
The food label, incorporating a tartan design, is from one of the last tins of black pudding to be produced at Maclean’s Scotch Food Factory in Collieston. The company, whose registered trade mark was ‘Gillie’, operated from their factory location in the High Town area of the village in what was previously the old stable block of Slains Lodge.

The factory closed in the early 1960’s and the building was subsequently bought in the early 1980’s by Barratt Construction who converted it into houses and renamed it Forvie Court.

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  Holiday Time  
A group of holidaymakers enjoy a picnic on the Pier on a fine summer’s day in the 1950’s. The line of the road running from the harbour up to the village is clearly identifiable as is the row of cottages, formerly Coastguard Cottages, now private dwellings.

‘Buckies’, the white house traditionally built gable-end to the sea, was the village tea-room for a few years during the 1980’s and proved to be a popular destination for holiday-makers after a relaxing day on the beach.

Evidence of the villagers’ involvement in the smuggling trade during the 18th Century can still be seen by way of the small window, or ‘smugglers’ windicky’, built under the chimney of ‘Buckies’. A lamp would have been placed here with the intention of signalling to a schooner carrying contraband out in the bay.

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Teacher and pupils of Slains School in 1955. The children who went to Slains School lived in Slains, Auchmacoy or Collieston. The building, visible behind the children, was demolished in 1968 and replaced by a new one.

Most of the pupils who lived in Slains came from local farming families, while those from Auchmacoy were from families who worked on the Auchmacoy Estate. The Collieston children came from a variety of family backgrounds with many of their parents working in and around Aberdeen.

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Circa 1959 the Ingram brothers, Jimmy, Jack and Dick, are doing some maintenance work on Dick’s boat ‘Gipsy Queen’. By the mid 1950’s the beach had become a popular spot with both locals and tourists, many of whom can be seen either sitting on the sand and rocks at the foreshore or paddling in the sea.

Beyond the Pier several houses have either been renovated or extended, including the house in which Lawrence of Arabia stayed. Painted white and with a raised roof and much enlarged gable, it stands out in the centre of the top third of the photograph.

The house to its right has also been extended with bay windows on the ground floor and dormer windows on its now raised roof.
Traditional long line fishing continued in Collieston into the 1950s. By the end of World War 2 there were very few boats fishing full time, it was however still very much a family affair.

A young female relative is seated next to Andrew John Walker. He is preparing bait ready to lay it into a wicker skull, two other skulls are sitting on the fence behind him. The bait, either mussels, mackerel, or lug worm is in the enamel plate on his knee. Another, more elderly relative is seated working on a line suspended from a tripod frame.

Behind the group is the row of two storey houses known as Jubilee Terrace. The Walker’s shed with its luxury of running water is to the left of Andrew John.
The dormer windows on the upper storey are the original – they have subsequently been modernised.

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  Forvie becomes a National Nature Reserve  
The Sands of Forvie looking south from Rockend circa 1950. Forvie’s unique moorland, dune system and beaches led to it being declared as one of Scotland’s first National Nature Reserves in January 1959.

The salmon fishermen’s bothy at Rockend is clearly visible in the foreground. The long established fishery in nearby Newburgh was operational until the end of the 20th century when declining stocks of wild salmon meant that it was no longer commercially viable. Malcolm Forbes, on behalf of the Cruden Bay Salmon Company, last fished it in 1999.
....copyright collieston's century 2003