04 October 2022

Refurbishment of Macduff Cross completed

A major refurbishment of the iconic 18th century Macduff Cross has been completed.

Since March, contractors Aberdeen Straight-Way Ltd have been working carefully to safeguard the attraction – known locally as ‘The Anchorage’ – for many years to come.

A key element of the project has been the removal of the crumbling concrete platform which was formerly accessed by steps and replacing it with a path which allows the area to be far more accessible.

During the process, the teams have tried to be sustainable wherever possible – using reclaimed timber and Caithness slate from our material store.

Solar lighting has been installed along the new path providing a safe route for pedestrians and two existing memorial benches have been refurbished along with an information board.

Meanwhile, a wildflower mix has been sown which will increase biodiversity and reduce maintenance costs when it develops. Native broom has been planted to help stabilise the slope and will create a visual barrier along the new path. 

The project has been made possible thanks to a significant funding award of £113,299 from the Place Based Investment Programme.

Macduff Cross was erected in its current form in 1783 by the Earl of Fife to mark the occasion of the town becoming a Royal Burgh. 

The present viewing platform and concrete steps appear to have been laid out in their current form in 1983 in celebration of the Cross’s bicentenary, however old photos and a painting show some sort of viewing area dating back to the 1900s. 

In recent times it’s been identified that the platform and landscaping surrounding the Cross are in need of improvement to address structural issues relating to the position of the monument on top of the coastal slope.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Environment Team commissioned Banff company Addison Conservation and Design to prepare initial ideas on how this important landmark might be improved in terms of the appearance of the platform beneath the cross and its general setting.

In early 2020 a public engagement exercise was carried out and a final design was agreed which resolved the structural problems and aimed to improve the area for locals and visitors alike.

Cllr Doreen Mair, chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, said: “I am very impressed with the repairs to the viewing platform and steps leading to the Macduff Cross itself and the installation of the new path and improved landscaping will make this a wonderful attraction for local residents and visitors alike to enjoy for many years to come.”

Chair of the Macduff Development Partnership, Councillor Ross Cassie, added: “I am delighted that Aberdeenshire Council supported this refurbishment project with funds from its Place Based Investment Programme. The Anchorage continues to play a very poignant role in the town and this improvement work will be very much appreciated by our community.”

Andrew McNair, chair of The Way Trust, said: “All at Straight-Way are pleased to have been involved with this historic renovation project and hope it will be enjoyed for years to come. We give special thanks to Krystyna Pytasz of Addison Conservation & Design for her commitment in designing new life into this landmark.”