How Scottish villagers bought their harbour – and saved their future

28th Sep 2016

Guardian Feature on Community Shares Scotland and Portpatrick Harbour:

'Coastal towns often face higher levels of inequality, lower wages and higher unemployment than other parts of the UK. The top five areas voting to leave the EU were all coastal communities in Essex, East Anglia and Lincolnshire. Dumfries and Galloway, on the west coast of Scotland, voted to remain but only by a slim margin.

In Portpatrick, a local seaside village, tiers of pastel houses stretch down to a small harbour where boats are moored. The place is so picture-postcard pretty, it’s hard to imagine that the harbour was almost left to rot – and with it, the future of the village – until local residents raised enough money a year ago to buy it.

As the closest port to Northern Ireland, Portpatrick was once the main crossing to Donaghadee. But over time the ocean smashed away two grand piers as well as Portpatrick’s future as a transport hub. When the crossing moved to nearby Stranraer, sailor numbers dwindled. Villagers knew that to get them back, they needed to improve the harbour with modern moorings and improved toilet facilities while keeping its charm, or risk losing precious tourist revenue to competing harbours up and down the coast....