Concrete Beach Wemyss Bay
A concrete beach was created at Wemyss Bay during World War II, to provide a durable area where amphibious vehicles and landing craft could transition between land and sea. This would have been part of the preparations made by Combined Operations.
The weight of military vehicles, particularly if loaded with supplies, troops, munitions or armour, and the repeated passage of heavily treaded tyres, or tracks, would soon destroy an unprotected soft or sandy beach with a loose surface, rendering it useless. By laying a reinforced concrete surface over the original beach, it was possible to stabilise such areas, and use them continuously.
Many training areas were established along the more remote and quieter areas of the Firth of Clyde and its lochs, and there are probably a number of other surviving concrete beaches. Most are probably forgotten and unnoticed, as there are now few who would recognise their significance.
The remains of at least one further concrete beach have been confirmed at Ettrick Bay, on Bute, with local reports of another as yet unconfirmed, and the remains of a trestle bridge, also used to help preserve the operating surface from service damage.
A site visit was carried out during 2008, and found that the beach was accessed by a wide concrete ramp from Wemyss Bay Road, having a gated entrance a few metres further west. A metal barrier prevents vehicular access to the beach, as the gate is chained and padlocked.
At the foot of the ramp lies the broken base of what appears to have been a winch. While the structure was decaying as would be expected in the salty sea air, some of the bolts used to fasten the parts together were noted to shiny and free from corrosion, suggesting that they are either recent additions, or made of stainless steel, which would imply they were not original parts.
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