Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Aberdeen joins Glasgow as ‘special’ Soviet era target

Striking me as slightly pointless if we are/were to believe the anti-nuclear loonies, Glasgow was mapped in detail by the Soviets back in the days of the Cold War.

Purpose unclear, since the anti-nuclear brigade was assuring everyone that Glasgow would be amongst the first places to be wiped off the face of the Earth, because… Holy Loch nuclear sub base!

Had they not turned it into a big hole, they might have moved their dachas here, we are on the same latitude as Moscow.

Now it seems that Aberdeen was treated to a similar mapping exercise.

A Soviet map of Aberdeen compiled by undercover operatives in 1981 showing strategic locations for invasion has come to light after cash-starved employees sought revenge against their former paymasters after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The map is revealed in a new book examining 500 years of military mapping in Scotland.

The detailed map of Aberdeen, a city which suffered severe bombing during the Second World War, gives precise measurements of many features, including the widths and lengths of the Victoria Bridge and Wellington Suspension Bridge over the River Dee.

The mapmakers colour-coded buildings by function – green for military, purple for civil administration, black for industrial and brown for residential. This is accompanied by a ‘spravka’ essay of more than 1,800 words focusing on 58 important objects, which notes the coastal area north of the city is “suitable for amphibious landing” and the impressive “harbour dockage facilities can provide complete overhaul of vessels, including destroyers”.

The spravka included details such as the land around the city being “dissected by deep river valleys that are the major obstacles for non-road mobile machinery”, that its quarries could be used for shelters and that “Aberdeen seaport is the major maintenance base for oil deposits in the North Sea”.

Scotland: Defending The Nation – Mapping A Military Landscape by Carolyn Anderson and Christopher Fleet includes military maps from the 15th century.

Revealed – Soviet spies’ secret map of Aberdeen, a city ripe for invasion

Maybe somebody realised they’d made a mistake by mapping Glasgow, that it would become a smoking, glowing, wasteland after the few minutes it would take for World War III to be completed, and that they’d better have a nice wee bolthole for their masters to retire to, before they ‘disappeared’.

It’s a long time since those Glasgow maps were revealed, and unless my memory is really bad (possible) there was some amusement to be had by the media back then, as the tired old hacks tried to raise a laugh by pointing out mistakes or misunderstandings on the Russian map.

I don’t see anything similar in the Aberdeen article – maybe the workers that made those mistakes… ‘disappeared’.

😉

Viewing Russian maps

I’m not sure if there are other resources (online), but since the first Russian maps of Glasgow appeared many years ago, I have relied on Old-Maps for my regular viewing of the material.

For my purposes, all the material is free. (there are some conditions, but not usually relevant).

I had a quick look, and confirmed that they also have Russian maps of Aberdeen available.

Find them here…

Old-Maps

Serious Cat

Serious Cat

 

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09/12/2018 Posted by | Cold War, Maps, military | , | Leave a comment

Nice! Nuclear archive wins Scotland’s best building award

I’ve no idea how many people have even heard of the Nuclear Archive, or if anybody has.

Sadly, it’s not the sort of place that has ever received any media attention, or publicity, and I only know about it because of my electrical engineering interests (which inevitably means nuclear power), and following the tale of Dounreay, and its decommissioning (which does feature regularly in the news – from the BBC at least).

A national archive for the civil nuclear industry has won a top Scottish architecture prize.

Nucleus in Wick has been constructed to hold more than 70 years’ worth of information and up to 30 million digital records.

It has won the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for 2018.

Nucleus, built at a cost of £21m, was chosen from a shortlist of a total of 12 designs.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority had the facility constructed at a former RAF site. The archive was opened last year.

Many of the documents, photographs and technical drawings it will hold relate to Dounreay, an experimental nuclear power complex 30 miles (48km) away from Wick.

Papers, photographs and plans are also being sent for storage from nuclear sites at Harwell in Oxfordshire, Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia and Sellafield in Cumbria.

Nucleus will also store local archives dating back to the 16th Century.

Nuclear archive wins Scotland’s best building award

It was interesting to see this facility being conceived some years ago, in light of problems I saw being revealed in the US.

Although the ‘Nuclear Naysayers’ (the hairy folk that run around shouting “It’s nuclear, it’s nuclear, we’re all going to DIE!”) don’t like to acknowledge the fact, many nuclear facilities have been closed over the years, and one of the unanticipated effects of these closures is that the people and knowledge they contained has, simply been lost.

Nobody thought of the future.

Nuclear is not, in itself, evil. It’s just a thing. But some people (cough cough Trump cough) might be.

It seems that now, when we need to do things like maintenance, a lot of the original information has been lost, together with the facilities needed to back them up.

Worse, simple old age means that many of the experienced people who worked on such things are dead, making it hard to ask for their advice, or use their experience.

Maybe the National nuclear archive will help prevent us doing something similarly silly, or even having a small, preventable disaster one day.

National Nuclear Archive Pic Via BBC Credit Tricia Malley/Ross Gillespie

National Nuclear Archive Pic Via BBC Credit Tricia Malley/Ross Gillespie

16/11/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Cold War | , , | Leave a comment

Two stories that unfortunately coincided yesterday

I thought it was sad to see a story about Orange Moron taking us closer to disaster on the same day we heard of the death of a real hero who saved us from going down that road.

 

Donald Trump: US will build up nuclear arsenal

 

Joachim Ronneberg: Norwegian who thwarted Nazi nuclear plan dies

 

I’m not generally at a loss for words to express my feelings about many subjects, but this Orange Moron does quite a good job of bringing this about.

 

Maybe this reminder of the current time shown by the Doomsday Clock for 2018 is appropriate.

 

2018 Doomsday Clock 2 Minutes To Midnight

 

The last time it got down to 2 minutes was 1953!

 

The best it has been was 1991, when The United States and Soviet Union signed the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I), and the Soviet Union dissolved on December 26.

 

See:

2018 Doomsday Clock Statement, Science and Security Board, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

23/10/2018 Posted by | Cold War, military, World War II | , , , | Leave a comment

RAF100 to visit the Glasgow Science Centre with five aircraft

Hopefully this won’t change after I mention it, but I spotted an interesting (free) event which is set to arrive at the Glasgow Science Centre this weekend (Friday to Sunday, 31 August to 2 September),  specifically…

Open on Friday 9am to 5.30pm – Last admittance is at 5pm.

Open on Saturday and Sunday 9am to 6pm – Last admittance is at 5.30pm.

On show:

  • Sopwith Snipe Biplane
  • Supermarine Spitfire MkVb
  • Harrier GR3 – (first VSTOL production aircraft)
  • Typhoon Full Scale Replica
  • F35 (LII) Full Scale Replica

Iconic fighter planes from past 100 years to go on display in Glasgow this summer as part of RAF100 Aircraft Tour

RAF100 Aircraft Tour Glasgow

RAF100 Aircraft Tour

 

RAF100 Publcity Image

RAF100 Publicity Image

Update

Red Arrows cancel Glasgow flypast for RAF centenary

27/08/2018 Posted by | Aviation, Cold War, photography, Transport, World War I, World War II | , , | Leave a comment

Another ROC post in the news – Cabrach

Another nuclear monitoring post of the Royal Observer Corps has appeared in the media.

A bunker constructed 20ft (6m) underground in the Cabrach hills of Moray has been opened to the public for the first time.

Post 32, a caravan-sized facility, was part of a network of hundreds of sites staffed by volunteers of the Royal Observer Corps during the Cold War.

It was built in the 1960s to monitor fallout from any future nuclear weapons attack.

The bunker, along with the other sites, were closed in the early 1990s.

Nuclear war bunker in Moray opened to public for first time

Funny thing…

The posts that make it into the news generally seem to be sites I didn’t make it to when I was dashing around the country ‘collecting’ them some years ago.

But thank to my friends at Subterranea Britannica, I can at least share a pic.

Cabrach Post Courtesy Nick Catford Subterranea Britannica

Cabrach Post Courtesy Nick Catford Subterranea Britannica

Follow this link for the original record.

The Cabrach Trust has a couple of items relating to the post.

I’d dispute the title of the first, and am surprised ROC post personal let it go – the posts were nothing to do with the concept of a ‘Nuclear Deterrent’, were not military, and were crewed by civilian volunteers.

How the Cabrach became a nuclear deterrent.

And.

Join us on August 18th for our Open Day

19/08/2018 Posted by | Cold War | , | Leave a comment

Russian mystery satellite? What mystery, it’s obvious

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the following story, and the portrayal of the Russian satellite’s behaviour as ‘mysterious’.

A mysterious Russian satellite displaying “very abnormal behaviour” has raised alarm in the US, according to a State Department official.

“We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it,” said assistant secretary Yleem Poblete at a conference in Switzerland on 14 August.

She voiced fears that it was impossible to say if the object may be a weapon.

Russia has dismissed the comments as “unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions”.

The satellite in question was launched in October last year.

“[The satellite’s] behaviour on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities, including other Russian inspection satellite activities,” Ms Poblete told the conference on disarmament in Switzerland.

Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US

Surely the solution to this supposed ‘mystery’ is obvious, and our American friend need only look to the north of Scotland to learn why the Russian satellite is moving to an odd position.

It’s angling to keep an eye on the upcoming…

Scottish spaceport

The fantasy view (as a vertical launch facility for microsatellites, it won’t look anything remotely like this fanciful artist’s impression).

Think more along the lines of a portacabin and a lump of concrete.

UK Space Agency Spaceport

UK Space Agency Spaceport

17/08/2018 Posted by | Cold War, military, Surveillance, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Little nuclear bunker offered for sale in the Scottish Borders

Although I was able to visit quite a few of the abandoned ROC (Royal Observer Corps) Nuclear Monitoring Posts left around Scotland some years ago, I didn’t manage to loop around all those in the Borders, and couldn’t recognise this one featured in a news story about it being offered for sale.

A bit of digging confirmed this, as it is the post located near Traquair.

Bought by an art and antiques dealer back in 2003, he’s gone off to the Philippines, so no longer needs the potential ‘holiday home’, and placed it on the market… for £20,000.

I’ve no idea how that relates to prices for the posts nowadays, but when I was flitting from post to post somewhere around the turn of the millennium, those who chose to speak to me hinted (they wouldn’t give the actual figure) that they had parted with somewhere between £3.5 k to £5 k.

Given I knew them, and their circumstances, that was believable, and none of them could have afforded to splash out £20 k on a whim.

When the Traquair post was sold back in 2003, it had previously been purchased by a telecoms company. Such companies had bought quite a few theses posts, not for the posts, but for the location/site, which was often in a good locations for a mobile phone mast. Such masts can now be found near quite a few of the abandoned posts.

Via Cold War nuclear bunker goes on sale in Borders

Traquir ROC Post

Traquair ROC Post © Subterranea Britannica (used with permission)


See also the site record: Traquair, Peebles.

30/05/2018 Posted by | Cold War | , , , , | 2 Comments

Sad dog is sad

This guy was looking at me as if to say “Do they mean dog years or human years?”

While it may not be accurate (it’s more complex than a simple equivalence), it’s often taken that one dog year is about seven human years.

This means things are quite good for them if it’s dog years, since a dog will be in its twenties by the time it has been around for more than two human years.

But the other side of this thought is that if our dog has to wait for 25 human years – well, by then it’s going to be something like 150 dog years.

And that’s maybe the thought this little face is conveying.

Sad Dog

Sad Dog

31/03/2018 Posted by | Cold War, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Siberia in Scotland suggests time to plan holiday

The current blast of cold air we are ‘enjoying’ from Russia/Siberia is dragging our average temperature below 3°C, and last night took a dive below -3°C at one point.

I’m hoping the forecast remains accurate (woke up to snow this morning). Although it shows this nonsense carrying on until the end of the week, things get better after that and the daytime max is predicted to start rising again.

Because this is cold air being ‘parachuted’ in, it actually feels a lot colder that it did during the frosts and freezes we had a couple of weeks ago.

I was thinking it would be nice NOT to be here at the moment, and this bus trip to go see an atomic bomb being detonated seemed both a bargain and a good idea at the moment.

You might even come back with a nice warm glow that could last for a while, just like the Ready Brek kids.

Warm Day Trip

Warm Day Trip

Some say…

They brought in kids that lived near Sellafield when they filmed this series of ads 😉

27/02/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Cold War | , , , | Leave a comment

Inverness bunker sold

Back in November (2017) I noted the offer for sale of the Highland Emergency Centre (Raigmore) in inverness.

See that previous post for details.

I had no idea if it would or wouldn’t sell, or how long it would take if it did, or even what it was worth (prices vary, sometimes wildly).

The offer closed in December, and now the news is that it was sold, so I’ve missed another one.

So far, no details of price, buyer, or use it may be put to.

Past sales have led to clubs, or secure storage facilities.

Via Offer accepted for Highland Council’s Inverness bunker

Inverness Bunker Via Sub-Brit

Inverness Bunker Via Sub-Brit

22/02/2018 Posted by | Cold War, council, World War II | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Doomsday Clock is now at 2 minutes to midnight

It’s some years since I started watching The Doomsday Clock, and it was a little known finger on the pulse of how close we were to the ‘End of the World’.

It’s come to be better known today, so I seldom think about mentioning it, but since it has gone from moving slowly backwards and further from midnight, the past few years have been increasingly depressing, and far from the 17 minutes to midnight we once ‘enjoyed’, as per the title the clock has now advanced to be a mere 2 minutes from midnight.

I wonder how much of this advance is down to the ‘Orange Moron’?

See The Doomsday Clock Timeline

Doomsday Clock Summary

Doomsday Clock Summary

Via Doomsday Clock moved to just 2min to ‘apocalypse’

Who would have thought…

Having lived through the Cold War – anyone would be thinking it would be nice to be back in those days?

Seriously, at least we didn’t have two clearly mentally unstable nut jobs in control of nuclear weapons (and one who has no understanding of climate change and is actively thwarting attempts to reign it in), while another superpower leader is effectively sitting on the sidelines, and would appear to be happy to let the idiots fight it out, and wait to just step in and take over as neither would be able to offer any effective resistance.

25/01/2018 Posted by | Civilian, Cold War, military | | Leave a comment

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