Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Culbin - a question for our readers

Is there anyone that can satisfy AyeRight's curiosity?
'The Culbin has the longest sand dunes in the UK, stretching from Nairn to Findhorn bay.Back in WWII, there was a concern that the flat sand bays along the Culbin might have been used as a landing spot for airplanes or gliders.In some places you can still see the remains of the defences that were installed against this perceived threat, uniformly planted upright pine telegraph pole size posts. Some are now mere stumps others have been chopped down.It is thought that the poles were settled into the soft sand by placing them into old wooden herring barrels, these being filled with stones and rocks.AyeRight’s question for readers is does anyone know as to how the barrels themselves were dug into the sand? The areas concerned are covered daily by the tide and never fully dry. If you try digging a sand/water mixture quickly fills your efforts. A piece of local history we are trying to resolve!'


Anonymous said...

With great difficulty!
Maybe the herring in the barrell swum down

dr-grigor said...

At Aberlady only a scatter of the poles remain and from the surface there is no sign that concrete was used. Most appear to have been cut off shorter than those over at Burntisland but the most likely explanation of this is local deposition burying the poles deeper. I did some digging to confirm that the poles, like those at Burntisland, had been set in concrete. This proved to be the case and was an informative exercise. Digging was difficult, the waterlogged sand pouring back into the hole, demonstrating a difficulty that would have been encountered by the original constructors. Clearly the shuttering box served the dual function of keeping sand and water out of the hole until concrete could be poured.

Nairn said...

Many thanks Doc - this is getting to be like a community forum!

BBC Radio Scotland's Out of Doors program was broadcast from the Culbin a few months back, and it was here that I first heard about the posts in herring barrels.
A lot of research (Not by me) revealed that the barrel story had been told to one of the folks on the program by a man walking his dog some 20 minutes before the show was broadcast - the shuttering and concrete make much more sense but the herring barrels gives a much better myth to the tale!