Brodick beach gets beast of a battering

Geotextile bags are exposed and the varying sand levels visible

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The Beast from the East may have spared Arran the worst of the snow but is has left Brodick beach battered and bedraggled.

Days of strong easterly winds have directed powerful waves onto the shore which have eroded the structural defences and washed away tonnes of sand from the beach.

Now prominently visible, the geotextile bags are once again exposed as the sand, which was deposited for protection less than two years ago, has mostly all been displaced, leaving an abrupt embankment illustrating the extent of the missing sand.

Most of the damage was caused over a short period of three days last weekend with an extremely high tide and gusting winds.

Brodick resident John Baraclough said: ‘I estimate that about half a metre of sand has gone from an eight metre wide stretch roughly 750 metres long. This means that roughly 3,000 cubic metres (about 6,000 tonnes) of sand has disappeared over the course of three days.’

As previously reported in the Banner, Scotland’s National Coastal Change Assessment, a two-year study of coastal erosion has revealed that through climate change and the ill-advised removal of sand from Brodick beach in the 1970s and 1980s, Brodick beach could face being eroded by another 100 metres in just 30 years.

The efforts to save and restore Brodick beach to its former glory has been a constant battle against time, tide and bureaucracy, as any efforts to make changes to the shoreline have to be undertaken with the strictest of conditions.

Thankfully, owing to the hard work of the Brodick Improvements Committee, groyns were placed on the beach which prevented some sand migration and large geotextile bags have slowed down further erosion on part of the beach.

On the opposite side of the beach towards Cladach, shifting sands are also in evidence with a build-up of a large sandbank near the old boathouse, while further down the beach protective embankments created by the Brodick Golf Club have been eroded away, with some portions completely devoid of sand.

The most visible improvement came in 2016 with the building of the new ferry terminal across the bay when contractors George Leslie Ltd donated a significant amount of dredged sand which was used to cover the geotextile bags and restore Brodick beach.

Bill Calderwood, chairman of the Brodick Improvements Committee admitted the storms had been a serious setback to save the beach and said the majority of the gifted sand had now been washed away.

However, the fight goes on. He said: ‘We had a meeting two weeks ago to discuss the ongoing issue of Brodick beach. We have already ordered a consignment of rocks which will be used to bolster the groyne and once a suitable grade has been sourced it can be placed in situ.

‘We are also investigating suppliers of suitable sand that can be used and, in conjunction with Marine Scotland and other governing bodies, we will continue to institute and oversee preventative measures and repairs to Brodick beach.’

Funding for the beach repairs in 2016 was raised through the Brodick Improvements Committee, who through their JustGiving page, raised £8,290 from 108 supporters, along with other donations, which contributed towards the maintenance and upkeep of  the public amenity.