Portlethen Shore has also been known as Portlethen Harbour and Portlethen Creek (creek:- an old name used for sloughs and inlets) however it is mostly just known as the shore to the local folk that stay in the village.
If you look closely at the point at Portlethen shore on the eastward side you will notice the concrete remnants of an old pier. There are no records of when the original pier was built or what it looked like when it was built however we now know that Thomas Telford was approached to build a new pier and road here in 1810. From this information it’s probably safe to assume that the original pier was likely to have been built in the 1700’s, and probably under the guidance of the owner of Portlethen estate.
There are still a number of boats to be found on the pebbled shore of Portlethen although today, they are mostly all used for pleasure and no one utilises this haven as a base to make their living from. This is where our own family boat is and it’s one of the few that still makes regular trips out to the sea, mainly in the summer months.
It’s hard to imagine that this was once a busy working harbour and at in 1881 there were 37 small fishing boats crammed into this small creek, employing a total of 89 men. How did they all manage to fit in?
Up until 1980 there was a Salmon Fishing Station based here and a railed slipway ran down the middle of the shore into the sea and although you might still see some remnants of this after a stormy day, generally speaking, you wouldn’t know that there was ever anything on this shore other than the pebbled beach that you see today.
The firm Joseph Johnston and Sons of Montrose gave up the salmon fishing rights in 1980 and since that date Salmon Fishing, from its base in Portlethen Shore, stopped and has never returned. The only indicator that this was once a Salmon Fishing Station is the Salmon Bothy that is located at the eastern side of the shore. The Bothy is now owned and lived in by my brother Ron.
The paths around the shore have changed somewhat over the years courtesy of my father and brother who have built a road that gives private vehicular access from the top of the shore around to the bothy. In the past there was a path that zigzagged up the western slope of the shore between four anti-tank blocks (now buried in earth) leading to the parking /turning point for cars and another path that lead from the shore directly to the bothy at the north east of the shore. The “new” road replaced an existing footpath that lead from the bothy to the car park/turning area.
Portlethen Shore was the base from where all our coastal adventures used to start from – whether it was a trip out in the boat, some rock fishing to the north, beachcombing and building bonfires to the south, it all usually started out from Portlethen Shore.