iTransfer partner, SEStran hosted a workshop for partners to discuss their experiences and discuss new ideas on ferry landing design in North Berwick on 10 December.
Before the workshop began partners experienced an exhilarating experience on a Seafari boat trip, which provided a close up view of Bass Rock, one of the world’s major seabird nesting sites. The trip also gave partners first-hand experience of the embarkation and disembarkation process within the harbour. Wet weather gear was provided for the trip and was definitely needed to avoid a good soaking from the sea-spray once the boat got up to speed!
The landing design workshop was then hosted at North Berwick Yacht Club. Representatives were present from iTransfer partners included Gravesham Borough Council, Port of Ostend, the Institute for Sustainability and SEStran, plus the latter’s
sub-partners East Lothian Council and Maid of the Forth, as well as the Harbour Trust, the Seabird Centre and Halcrow. An overview of previous iTransfer landings design work was provided by those partners involved. This included the trans-national exchange of knowledge and experience between partners that had helped inform the pontoon constructed at Gravesham. This was then followed by presentations and a full discussion of the issues at the North Berwick harbour and the best approaches to take to address them.
The key challenges in the North Berwick harbour are accessibility for the vessels coming into the harbour as well as accessibility for passengers themselves, both from the sea-side and to the boats.
For boat access, the main problem is the tidal range which makes it impossible to use the main harbour at low-tide. A concrete pier has been provided outside of the harbour but even this is covered for part of the day at high tide, making the harbour inaccessible for boats at certain times.
For passengers the key issue is that the pier approach walkway is on a slope. This can be slippery after it has been covered by high tide and a lack of provision of hand-rails and metal barriers is a problem. Due to the weather and sea conditions, the pier is badly eroded and in need of renovation, so it is a good opportunity to not only repair the existing structure but to also raise the height of the landing at the same time. This would enable boats to access it at high tide and mean that a lower gradient pedestrian walkway would be required to reach it. It was agreed that, although they did not have the same type of exposed conditions as at North Berwick, lessons could be learned from experiences at Gravesham and Ostend and the partners would facilitate knowledge exchange between their respective engineers, and designers to inform the final design.
The workshop concluded with lunch and then a visit to the existing landing pier followed by a tour of the Scottish Seabird Centre, which is located by the harbour.