A DESIGNER Observation Shelter has been built on a cliff-top close to Stonehaven, thanks to the generousity of a former local businessman.
The £100,000 shelter was built at the RSPB Fowlsheugh nature reserve using money bequethed by George Anderson, who died in 2006.
The shelter has been dedicated to the memory of Mr Anderson and his wife Moyra, who left behind a wish that it be built on the site to allow people to enjoy the spectacular views of the coast and seabirds whatever the weather.
First year pupils from Mackie Academy cut the ribbon at the shelter’s official opening, which was also attended by Mr Anderson’s friend Ken Malcolm.
Built by Perth Architects Bell Ingram Design, the project was managed by Director Iain Cram.
“The brief was centred around the wishes of George and Moyra Anderson. They used to enjoy coming here to sit on a bench and walk along the cliffs and our instructions were to allow people to enjoy the views that they enjoyed, even if it was raining, and so this is what we have tried to achieve.
“The position of the shelter is very important as we wanted to make sure that the windows offer the best views possible. You can see Dunnottar Castle out of one of the windows and that positioning was deliberate.
“We set out to create a space for contemplation not a hide for hardened bird spotters. We wanted somewhere for people to admire the view in a calm atmosphere.”
The stone used in the building of the shelter came from Denfind, a quarry in Angus, and was selected to give the impression of dry stone walling. The internal timbers are oak and all the wood in the building is from renewable sources.
The shelter was constructed by Montrose firm Pert-Bruce. Jamie Pert and Craig Bruce are the Managing Directors. “It was good to work on and the whole team enjoyed it despite the location being on a cliff edge and the construction work happening during one of the worst winters in living memory.
“Now that it’s finished it has a very comfortable feel to it. In the rain and wind you can sit there and watch the seabirds being buffeted by the wind and the waves lashing against the shore and yet still feel very safe and cosy in the stone shelter.”
According to East Scotland Reserves Manager Simon Busuttil it is one of the most beautiful buildings ever built by the RSPB.
“It is built to nestle into the ground,” he said. “The roof is a sedum mat that we hope over time will self-seed with local grasses so that the shelter disappears into the landscape. It’ll take a few winters to weather in and lose its new freshness but after that we hope it will take on an almost Neolithic feel.”
The shelter is open to the public from dawn to dusk. There are regular RSPB guided ‘Pick Out A Puffin’ walks at the reserve throughout the summer. The walks last for two hours and are free but booking is essential.
To book or for further information call 01346 532234 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org For June the walks take place every Thursday at 7pm and on Sundays the 12th and 26th at 2pm.