Argyll and Bute Council brings Dunoon’s iconic wooden pier back to life

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Published Date: 

7 Mar 2016 - 16:26

£2.83million structural repair and building refurbishment completed on time and in budget

Argyll and Bute Council’s £2.83million* structural repair and refurbishment of key elements of Dunoon’s iconic Victorian-era wooden pier is almost complete, with local companies making a significant contribution and a new venue being created for hire.

Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, Dunoon-based Councillor Dick Walsh, was delighted to see the project completed, saying: ‘’It is really pleasing to see this project reach the finish line. As probably the best remaining example of a Victorian-era wooden pier in the country, the first phase of the refurbishment of Dunoon Pier is a flagship project for the council.

‘’The refurbished waiting room will be available for hire for events, conferences and meetings. In fact, we are so pleased with it we are looking to use it for area committee meetings from April.

‘’Beyond this work, we are eager to lobby for further funding at national level to fulfil our long-term ambitions for both the pier and its buildings – bringing all the pier buildings back in to viable economic use and securing the pier head. We are fully committed to exploring any and all opportunities to preserve this iconic structure for future generations, which is why the council has agreed to make any freed-up capital available for a second phase of work.

“This second phase could involve the structural repair of the northern arm of the pier, which provides vehicular access, work to the pier head on the seaward side and to its southern end and the refurbishment of the 1930’s tea room and Signal Tower building.   

“In the short-term we will be looking to bring forward options to consider the scope of the second phase of the works and how the pier might be managed and operated.

‘’As a council our whole strategy is based on creating jobs and I’m sure that, by bringing the buildings on the pier back into use, we’ll do just that.’’

Dunoon Grammar School has also been involved in the project, intending to use reclaimed timbers from the pier to create benches and wooden artworks.

The pier will be opened to the public at the beginning of April, once the minor snagging works are complete. The first event to be held on the new pier will be the Dunoon Ride and Run on Saturday 2nd April. More information is available at:

The work on the pier itself (Phase 1A)

Work has been carried out on around 30% of the total pier area and has seen extensive work to the substructure.

  • Over 150 of the timber piles have been inspected, with 68 being replaced and a further 9 encapsulated**
  • Over half of the longitudinal ties have been replaced or repaired (56 out of 98)
  • Almost 90% of the bracing below the water level has been replaced
  • Around 35% of the decking boards have been replaced

The buildings (Phase 1B)

The waiting room

Major work was required to save this building, including the rebuild of the west shore face, with 15 new windows installed and scallop-shaped shingles applied to match the original features.

Inside new toilets have been installed in the central service area, allowing what were the first and third class waiting rooms to be restored to their original dimensions.

New heating and ventilation systems have also been installed, replacing the old gas fire heating system.

The remaining work will see the installation of veranda decking and an access ramp.

The harbourmaster’s office

The work to repair the roof is now complete, as well as the external decoration, matching the other pier buildings.

After the installation of new guttering and the internal decoration work this element of the project will be complete.


A local contractor, G H Currie Blacksmiths and Forgemasters were appointed to design and fabricate new gates and signage at the public access on to the pier, which combined elements of the Victorian heritage of the pier along with modern materials to give a final design which acknowledges Dunoon’s heritage and looks to its future.

Local contractors

A number of local businesses have contributed to the project:

  • Shearwater Marine Services, Dunoon – major sub-contract package to provide diving and marine support. All employees are resident in Dunoon and surrounding area
  • John Tyre & Sons, Dunoon – providing metalwork
  • Cowal Building Supplies, Dunoon – main source for all general building materials
  • Ross MacArthur, Dunoon – Plant and labour hire
  • West Coast Tool & Plant Hire, Dunoon – plant hire
  • Campbell’s Decorators, Kirn – providing cherry picker and operators
  • Storie Argyll Ltd. – plant and labour for the installation of the foul drainage connection to the local sewer network
  • GH Currie Blacksmith, Sandbank – design, production and installation of the new gates
  • DC7 Vending, Dunoon – drinking water supplies
  • Steven Gibson, Dunoon – electrical services
  • Gleaner Oils, Dunoon – fuel supply
  • Argyll 1st, Dunoon, site welfare service
  • Hunter’s Quay, Dunoon – accommodation



The works to restore the pier buildings are being co-funded by the Scottish Government / Local Authorities joint Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. £300,000 was awarded in 2014/2015 and a further £50,000 has been awarded for 2015/2016.

**Encapsulation method

A unique new encapsulation method that not only protects timber piles from aggressive saltwater environments and marine animals but also strengthens deteriorated piles with a durable, light-weight and non-corrosive reinforcement.