Project Background

The COALIE Survey Project focuses on the structures such as abandoned harbours, beacons and fishtraps that are dotted along the North Ayrshire coast near Largs, Hunterston, Portencross and Ardrossan. The project is generously supported by Historic Scotland.

We are particularly interested in placing the sites we find in a broader context – both in terms of the history and the geography of the area. Many of the sites we will be investigating are underwater much of the time and difficult to access. Some have never been mapped and in some cases are newly discovered.

We will be posting regular updates on our blog page as the project develops.

Hunterston to Largs looking north (J. Benjamin, WA C&M 2013).

Much of the archaeology COALIE seeks is hard to intrepret without detailed historical research or local knowledge, so we are working directly with local individuals and community groups, integrating their knowledge and experience, with marine and coastal archaeology specialists at WA Coastal & Marine and RCAHMS.

Ardrossan to Portencross looking northwest (J. Benjamin, WA C&M 2013).

The Study Area

The project will focus on a 20km stretch of the North Ayrshire coast, from Largs to Ardrossan, an area that was particularly affected by the winter storms this year. The primary focus will be a series of traps for fish on Hunterston Sands; and serving as inspiration for the project logo, the remains of a vernacular harbour on Brigurd Point which may even be of Roman date!

Brigurd Point from the air, the image is 500m across (J. Benjamin, WA C&M 2013)

The project has developed from the the success of the Project SAMPHIRE and the initial intertidal survey at Hunterston Sands in September 2013 initiated by local community reports and undertaken with them.

Get Involved

If you would like to get involved in field surveys or have finds and sites you would like to look into in more detail in this area of the Outer Clyde please get in contact. We’re particularly interested in shipwrecks, lost harbours, old fishtraps and other sites and finds along this coastline: we want to hear from you.

Other WA Coastal & Marine Projects

Find out about our other projects in Scotland here.