Site Records

SiteName: 'RAF Scarinish' ('FLY') GCI R8 ROTOR Radar Station

Beinn Ghott
Isle of Tiree, Argyllshire
OS Grid Ref: NM032456

Sub Brit site visit 31st July 2003

[Source: Nick Catford]

The Rotor Station at Scarinish (Code name FLY) was a Ground Control Intercept (GCI) station consisting of an R8 surface built operations block with a target opening date of 4.12.1953. It was originally intended to fit the following radars: 5 Type 13, 2 Type 14, 1 Type 79, 1 Type 11, 1 Type 7 and later 1 Type 80. An RAF cableing plan of the station shows that the following radars were supplied: a 25' gantry with Type 14 Mk 9, an 8' plinth with Type 14 Mk 8, a vehicle hardstanding (with cable jointing chamber) with Type 11(M) Mk 7 (comprised of RVT435F & 467), two 8' plinths both with Type 13 Mk 6 or 7 (to station requirements), two12' plinths with Type 13 Mk 6 or 7 and a 25' gantry with a Type 13 Mk 6 or 7. The Type 7 and Type 79 radars were not fitted at this station.

Upon the implentation of Stage 1A radar (Type 80), a Type 80 modulator building was constructed on top of hill. As the two Type 14's were now redundant they were removed.

Photo:The high voltage switch house (left) and to its right the foundations of the R8 operations block. Behind is the sub-station and behind that the dog compound.
Photo by Martin Briscoe

Most of the buildings and radar plinths still survive within a chain link fence compound that surrounds the hill and the adjacent fields. Unfortunately the R8 operations block has been demolished, it was of modular Seco construction with a wooden framework and stressed asbestos panels and in a derelict state it is unlikely to have survived long in the islands harsh weather conditions. The concrete foundations of the building are still clearly visible among the other remaining buildings on the technical site. Of the seven R8 blocks built or proposed, the only one still standing is at Chenies in Buckinghamshire and it is imperative this building is listed by English Heritage before it too is lost. Chenies is due to close within the next few years.

Photo:The Technical Site
Part of a site plan held at the Tiree Archive

The most prominent feature, the type 80 modulator building, stands on the summit of Beinn Ghott and is clearly visible from the surrounding roads and the incoming ferry to Scarinish.

Type 80 radar straddling its modulator building
This one is at RAF Sopley

The building is now used as a cattle shelter and to store redundant farm machinery. It retains its internal partition walls but has been largely stripped of any original fittings apart from the ventilation trunking and engine beds for the generators which are still in place.

The four concrete bases for the 25 foot steel gantry can still be seen on either side of the building. The 75' long rotating mesh radar reflector was mounted on top of the gantry straddling the building.

Photo:The Type 80 Modulator Building
Photo by Nick Catford

There is a small room on the roof, accessed by ladder; this still contains the intake fan for the ventilation system. The 75' long rotating mesh radar reflector was mounted on top of the gantry straddling the building.

Plan of a typical Type 80 (Control) Modulator Building

Further information and pictures about this site continues here

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated 14th August 2003

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