Updated: Mar 23, 2022
Greyhope Bay are a charitable organisation based in Aberdeen, NE Scotland, offering dolphin watching from their café and community space at Torry Battery. They are building an "off-grid" eco-facility by converting shipping containers and the site forms part of 5-year plan to establish Torry Battery as a vibrant destination in Aberdeen.
Torry Battery is consistently recorded as the best location to spot Bottlenose dolphins from land in the UK. The dolphins can be spotted most days year-round, feeding at the entrance to Aberdeen Harbour often displaying playful behaviour, jumping and breaching.
Greyhope Bay will also serve as the start destination of Scottish Adventure's "City To Summit Challenge" where riders will depart from Greyhope Bay travelling along Royal Deeside to than tackle Mount Keen via Glen Tanar.
Scottish Adventure caught up with Fiona McIntyre, (Founder and Managing Director) to find out more about the creation of Greyhope Bay, future plans and quiz her on adventure in Scotland.
Scottish Adventure (SA): Let’s start off by telling us a bit about yourself. How did you find yourself creating a charitable organisation, what is it that drew you to the Torry Battery and the Aberdeenshire coastline?
Fiona McIntyre (GHB): I worked in marine science at the marine laboratory in Torry for 6 years and walked the headland most lunchtimes. I was struck by the beauty of the coast, the views of Aberdeen harbour and the near daily visits of bottlenose dolphins, all on our doorstep and thought a facility for the community would allow many more to enjoy and connect to our marine environment
SA: Can you take us through the timeline of Greyhope Bay? Did it have any previous incarnations and how much does it vary in its current setup to the original concept ?
GHB: At first, I was focused on the site at Greyhope Bay, as it had seemed the path of least resistance and pitched a £15m transformative design concept with our architect Prof Gokay Deveci. We gained a lot of traction with the concept but struggled to demonstrate viability for the investment. At the same time the community were responding with a lot of support, with over 3,500 people attending a family fun day in 2017. We focused our efforts on empowering the community and providing a way to continue engagement, including opening a pop-up shop for 10 weeks in the Bon Accord Shopping Centre. It was through this that we worked on a 5 year temporary build concept to demonstrate viability and responded to the overwhelming preference for the project to be sited at Torry Battery. We worked with Aberdeen City Council Planning and Historic Environment Scotland to further a plan for repurposed shipping containers to create the temporary facility at Torry Battery
SA: I like the “more than a café on a hill” concept. Can you tell us a little bit more about the facilities that you plan to install, the programmes you have planned and what planned activity excites you the most for 2022?
GHB: Once open, the centre will run primarily as a café with the best view in Aberdeen, as well as a year-round mix of community, creative, educational and outdoor programming related to our local marine environment, heritage and initiatives for sustainability. This will start with a summer calendar of artist led workshops, community coffee mornings, beach cleaning, dolphin-watching and weekly Skipper meetings for all members of the community to shape programming at the site
SA: The build of the centre and the(eventual) return of the site to its original setting are clearly high up on the priority list. How did this influence the design team’s ideas and did this aim allow you to utilise new technology?
GHB: The temporary build meant we needed a design that was easily installed and removed, the idea of modular build allowed us to reuse and repurpose shipping containers to create the space. With the site having no access to power and water we have worked with local companies JCE Energy to design a bespoke hybrid power system that uses solar and battery power (backed up by a generator) and Pure Water Scotland to install a fully circular rainwater harvesting and treatment system to provide water.
SA: If I can recentre the conversation to adventure for a moment – what do you and indeed your team do on your downtime? Does your love of the marine environment translate into how you relax away from the 9-5?
GHB: I love living in Aberdeen because of its connection to the coast and access to the outdoors. I like to get out hillwalking and beach walks along the east coast, I’ve also been known to do some paddle boarding and the occasional brave wild swim in the North Sea
SA: We have a number of Kayakers SUP Paddlers and Wild Swimmers within our SA Community - is there a spot on the Scottish coastline that you’d recommend for these activities that would give a more rounded experience where physical activity could be enhanced by being in this “marine environment”?
GHB: Aberdeen beach for sure! It’s a great spot for paddle boarding and if you’re lucky there might be a possibility of encountering some dolphins.
SA: You can only wake up and take in one Ocean / Sea View for the rest of your life. Where is it and why do you choose that one?
GHB: It’s got to be the view from Torry Battery, it has everything from the wildlife to the dynamic harbour and the drama of the north seat crashing over the breakwater on stormy days!
SA: Thanks Fiona, great to sit down with you and visit the site and hear about your plans for the future.
If you want to now more about Greyhope Bay then visit https://www.greyhopebay.com/
or better still pay them a visit in person! Here is w3w location https://w3w.co/plug.rested.taxi
For those fancying combining a visit to Greyhope Bay with an adventurous challenge Scottish, then check out our City to Summit Challenge which will depart and conclude at Greyhope Bay on the 9th of April. See Link below: