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Breakachy Radio Station

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High Ballevain cottage, Breakachy, © http://www.geograph.org.uk/user/Johnny%20Durnan/
High Ballevain cottage, Breakachy
© Johnny Durnan

Breakachy Radio Station has been identified in local reports as a World War II radio station installed at Breakachy on the west coast of the Kintyre peninsula.

This station is is said to have been erected in conjunction with the radio station established at Drumlemble, and further information into the potential background and use of this station is disussed on the Drumlemble page.

The location is now reported to be the site of a holiday cottage, built as a conversion of the original buildings remaining there after the war, and completely changing their appearance.

Postwar

Additional information regarding the installation has been received, for which we have yet to locate a specific reference:

This radio station was used by the RAF in the 1950s, with a handful of RAF personnel (2-4?). It was associated with Prestwick, but exact purpose unknown. Could have been part of the VDF (VHF/df)network, which covered much of the UK, or a means of extending VHF coverage to the west (similar to the civil installation at Rhu Staffnish in South Kintyre, which was collocated with the Gee navigation transmitter).

The following local account of the site has been received:

There are three cottages still standing of the original World War II installations and these are situated on the hill (elevation ?800 ft) east of High Ballevain Cottage. They are numbered 4, 5,and 6 with No 7 being a spare plot now owned by No 6. We have lived in No 6 for the past 10 years and obviously have quizzed the older contiguous farm owners (including High Ballevain farm). Also, we have a friend (Fl/Lt RAF), who holidays with us and whose hobby is historical facts appertaining to World War II.

To the front of No 6 (south facing) are the four metal remnant bases of large pylons. To the rear of No 5, (north facing) similar remains exist. Going east downhill towards the river (about 1 mile) are two small brick buildings, containing the rusted cast iron remains of water pumps. The adjacent fields turn up the rusted remains of old iron pipes. At the river itself, is a large submerged concrete structure, presumably the well from which water was pumped. Consensus is that Nos 4, 5, and 6 were three separate buildings for the use of the involved military personnel and that the pylon structures were topped with water tanks. (Nos 5 and 6 now joined with two bedrooms for No 6). Possibly one building was canteen, the other recreation/stores/offices and the other a dormitory.

The buildings, although now (badly) roughcast during conversion, retains their common brick cavity construction. Roof construction is now purloin beams with sarking and felt tiles. The gardens yield small pieces of the original asbestos corrugated sheeting. Across the lane to the south, exists Breakachy Farm now called Breakachy House. It is privately owned and is listed postwise as No 1, 2, and 3 Breakachy (although it is one dwelling).

Nos 4 and 5 are holiday retreats for Glasgow owners, Nos 6 and 7 are (as stated) lived full-time, and Breakachy House is full-time approved and is up for sale.

Going west downhill towards High Ballevain cottage,(on the crest of the hill and about one eight mile from the above buildings), is a derelict common brick cavity wall building which has 4/5 rooms of different sizes. To the back of the structure (east) are similar iron pylons remains and about three in number. Ditto to the side of the building (south). The flooring is concrete with ducting, ans the brick walls show the remains of multiple wooden old Rawlplugs to hold presumably electrical and electronic gadgetry. Fireplaces and ablution areas are apparent. Was this the Headquarters for the installation? The view from here extends west downhill towards Machrihanish sand dunes out over the Atlantic Ocean as far as Malin Head. Jura and Islay are visible to the north west and west/south west, is seen the headland of Lough Foyle, Rathlin Island and the coast of Co Antrim up to Red Bay. The North Channel is also clearly visible.

High Ballevain Cottage... across the lane from this cottage, west towards the sea, is a partially underground bunker. We were advised that this was the operation bunker for control of the dummy airfield which is the adjacent field. This view is borne out by local opinion and by old cable remnants being ploughed up.

To finish, from our house (No6,), our view is the same as described but also to the south, takes in the one third west part of Machrihanish airfield. Indeed we can watch the 'planes taking off/landing, and can visualise what occurred here during the unit's operative period.

- Henry S Horner

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