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History / Options to be explored for possible restoration of historic Skeld ‘saat store’

The south wall of the store.

AN OLD salt store at the Skeld waterfront could be restored after the community met recently to discuss its future.

There was said to be “overwhelming support” for preservation of the building with the priority being to stabilise and protect it in the near term.

A meeting of the Skeld Waterfront Trust was held last week where the future of the store was discussed.

The building is said to be semi-derelict and is now in a dangerous state, presenting a safety concern to the public as well as people using the nearby marina and campsite.

Local resident Dave Hammond said the voe at Skeld, called Skelda Voe, has been an important trading and fishing centre since neolithic times – with the word “Skeld” deriving from the Norse word for shield or shelter.

He said along with the renovated building which is now the boating club, the old salt store is the “last remaining vestige of the cod drying enterprise that was carried out from the late 18th century right up to the 1930s”.

Hammond said the voe was a centre of economic activity for the salting and drying of cod for the Portuguese and Spanish markets.

“Large sailing vessels picked up these cargoes leaving ballast of Spanish flint which can still be picked up in Skelda Voe today,” he explained.

“Shore based activities flourished. Sail making, net making and fish curing providing employment for locals and folk from afar, boosting the area’s economy and population.

“The saat store and adjacent building were partially demolished in the 30s.”

He said a subcommittee has now been formed to look at the options for the future renovation of the store and use as a heritage centre, to be dedicated to the memory of the late Sonny Morrison who was instrumental in the establishment of the Skeld marina and campsite.

“The saat store, with its massive iconic red granite façade, has provided shelter to the marina and campsite users and hopefully will continue to do so well into the future,” Hammond added.

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