I was about to write my blog this afternoon, when this incredible wave of tiredness came over me and I found myself, a few hours later, snuggled up in a blanket, asleep on my bed. Ooops. So apologies for te lateness of my blog. Also BeAnne is not well. She has an upper respiratory tract infection which is scaring me witless. I Googled her symptoms to find she had a probable brain tumour. Luckily Jack, our other Patterdale terrier, also has the same symptoms (sneezing and saying chuff all the time) so I have discounted my brain tumour theory. The vet has prescribed antibiotics so hopefully they will be on the mend now. Phew!
Anywho, before I went to sleep, I dragged my sorry arse down to the roadside make-my-millions egg shop and back with the dogs, which is about as far as I can walk these days.
I have done this walk once or twice a day for 14 years and my surroundings are historically very interesting but little heard of.
I live next to RAF Watness camp.
RAF Watness was one of the Chain Home Low (CHL) radar stations built in 1942, I believe. This was the name of a British radar early warning system, detecting enemy aircraft movement at lower altitidues than and summarily used with the fixed Chain Home system which was operated by the RAF during WW2. – Wikipedia
Nothing much remains now. It was demolished after the war but we are left with the foundations and the odd indication of building location and size. Apparently everyone local was made to sign the Official Secrets Act and, when the site was up for demolition, many of the buildings “vanished” the day before. I think we have one in our garden! It is the odd shaped rusty old Nissan hut.
I found this on the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments of Shetland – This Chain Home Low radar station is situated on the summit of Virtag, W of the road from Mid Walls to Netherdale. The radar station consists of a series of brick and concrete buildings including an engine house and light anti-aircraft positions.
The site was demolished badly and left in a dangerous state in my opinion. Neighbours have tried to fill the potential death-traps and I once saw The World’s Fattest Orange Cat pop his head up from a tunnel entrance. He looked like Sooty. Haakon nearly sat down in fear and I nearly pee’ed myself laughing! I remember we were coming home from a long trek and it was the last thing we were expecting.
Half of me wishes this site had been documented properly (apparently there was even a cinema and tunnels, ooooh tunnels!) and the other half of me wishes they had demolished it properly as it really is an accident waiting to happen.
I would like to find out more about the buildings that were on site and around my house, even map them out properly but I cannot find any information. Apparently, the RAF brought with them thousands of rats. There are very few rats in Shetland and they rarely come this far away from the main ports. When the RAF left, so did the rats. BeAnne would’ve loved a rat!
My horses and I have lived with this “rubble” for many years. We share it with the sheep. We have found two grenades to date. One was exploded here (the Bomb Disposal Unit hurried up from the mainland on the boat to explode it in Clothie) and I can’t remember what we did with the other one! It all sounds a bit Captain Mainwaring and Dad’s Army now.
It would seem odd if this rubble was all taken away properly but I think it is wasted in its current state. RAF Watsness played its part in Shetland’s war history and there is little, if no, evidence to show this.