Dunoon is a highlands resort town on the Cowal Peninsula looking
out across Holy Loch from the Firth of Clyde in the Argyll and
Bute Council Area.
The first Dunoon Pier appeared in 1835. The
pier was enlarged and a new waiting room constructed in 1867 to
cater for the growth of paddle-steamer traffic and this was
further improved with a larger 400 foot jetty in 1881. The pier
was again rebuilt in 1895 resulting in the two-berth structure
broadly as it exists today, with the exception of the modern
roll-on/roll-off facilities for vehicles which was added in
The pier entrance building is very striking
with red-tiled roofs and strongly detailed timber in chocolate,
cream and yellow. A promenade balcony erected in 1937 has not been
renewed, though the much-altered entrance buildings from the Pier
Esplanade do remain.
Overlooking the pier, is a large statue to
Robert Burns' love Highland Mary, also known as Bonny Mary O'
Argyll, which is located on Castle Hill, just below the remains of
the 12th century Dunoon Castle.
Fleets of paddle steamers brought holidaymakers
from Glasgow to Dunoon and many other piers right up to the late
1960s and the pier is still visited by the last sea-going paddle
steamer in the world, P.S.Waverley. A regular car and passenger
ferry service to Gourock Pier across the loch still operates, run
by Caledonian MacBrayne.
Starting in Spring 2004, a project to build a
new breakwater just south of the main pier was commenced.
Completed a year later, this included the installation of a new
linkspan alongside the breakwater to enable the operation of
roll-on roll-off vehicle ferries in addition to the existing side
loading vessels. It also provided a measure of protection to the
existing pier. The Principal Civil Engineering Contractor was
Edmund Nuttall; they constructed the breakwater. MacGregor (SWE)
were appointed to design and build the linkspan. However, a
tendering competition to serve the new linkspan between Caledonian
MacBrayne and the other local ferry operator Western Ferries
failed when both parties withdrew from the tendering process. At
the time of writing, the new linkspan remains unused and the
breakwater itself is used only by local fishermen and the
occasional berthing of the Waverley.
In June 2009, the Waverley was actually
grounded and had to be taken out of service after it struck Dunoon
Pier in what was described by the Waverley website as ‘landing
heavily’. Both the steamer and the pier were damaged and several
passengers suffered minor injuries.