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Inverbervie CEW Radar Station

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Inverbervie CEW Radar Station, lies approximately halfway between Montrose and Stonehaven, Angus.

Inverbervie is a Royal Burgh, a status granted by King David II of Scotland in 1341 when he made landfall there on his return from exile in France, with his wife Queen Margaret (Drummond). The event is commemorated in the name of the nearby cliffs known as Craig David, the headland as Bervie Brow, and the shore below as King's Step. Legend tells of events on June 2, 1341, and a storm in the North Sea. Sailing from France to Scotland, the vessel carrying King David II and Queen Margaret was driven on to the rocks at Inverbervie, where the King and Queen scrambled ashore and were able to shelter under a cliff, which came to be known as Craig David.

Station history

In 1953, a Centimetric Early Warning (CEW) radar station was built on the headland. Five radar systems were installed to provided coverage of the North Sea and north coast of Scotland, and give advance warning of the approach of any potential threats.

In 1968, the station was taken over by the US Navy, and operated in conjunction with the major monitoring station based at RAF Edzell, a little over 10 miles to the west. Edzell closed in 1977, followed by Inverbervie in 1978.

The facility lay unused for the next six years, until 1984, when it was designated Reserve Headquarters for Group Headquarters and Sector Control at Craigiebarns, Dundee.

The station was finally closed and withdrawn from service in 1993.

The bunker lay unused for a further six years, purchased by the current (2007) owner in 1999.

Information recorded by RCAHMS identifies aerial photographs of the location dating from 1954, 1957, 1967, and 1973, all of which show a small T shaped building on the headland, set within an area if approximately 40 m x 20 m, assumed to be the roof of an underground structure, with related structures nearby. The underground structure is further described as lying beneath what appears to be a cottage, but is actually part of the structure's domestic infrastructure, such as water tanks. The entrance to the underground facility is reported to be protected by a blast door, with the interior provided with artificial lighting and ventilation. While being locally rumoured to date from the 1930s, the installation is recorded as having been built in 1952, with further work carried out in the 1960s when the mezzanine floor was added.

For Sale in 2010

The site was offered for sale in July 2010, with the agent seeking offers over Ł250,000[1] and was also featured in an article in The Register.[2]

For Sale in 2013

The site was again offer for sale in June 2013, with the BBC[3] and STV[4] reporting the offer, but with no pricing details, and nothing to be found on the seller's web site, other than a press release with accompanying photograph:

Inverbervie, Shepherd Chartered Surveyors
Inverbervie
© Shepherd

SHEPHERD Chartered Surveyors is offering a unique development opportunity with extensive underground accommodation in Inverbervie for sale.

The Guard House at Bervie Brow was constructed in the 1950’s by the British Military before being acquired by the US Navy in the late 1960s, when it was run in conjunction with the major monitoring station at RAF Edzell.

The facility lay unused throughout the 1970s and 80s until it was designated reserve headquarters for group headquarters and sector control at Craigiebarns Dundee. The station closed 20 years ago and has been used for residential purposes ever since.

Offering some 10,000 sq ft of underground accommodation, the bunker is suitable for a variety of uses, including: residential development; a research and development data centre, a disaster recovery property; for whisky or wine storage as well as an outdoor activity centre.

Located three miles north of Inverbervie, 20 miles south of Aberdeen and 40 miles north of Dundee, the property is accessed from the A92 coastal route linking Inverbervie with Stonehaven and Montrose.

Mark McQueen, associate at Shepherd, said: “The detached building connects to a substantial underground bunker to the rear of the main building which leads to a long concrete lined corridor with 10ft thick walls and metal sliding doors offering an unusual level of security. The unique nature of this property makes it suitable for a variety of uses, subject to obtaining the necessary consents.”

Interested parties should contact the selling agent on 01224 202800.

For further information please contact Mark McQueen at Shepherd tel 01224 202800

-Shepherd press release June 13, 2013.

Site visit by Subterranea Britannica

We are grateful to our friends at Subterranea Britannica for permission to reproduce the following details.

The Guardhouse, <2001
The Guardhouse
© Nick Catford

Site Name: Inverbervie CEW R1 ROTOR Radar Station
NO841734
Inverbervie, Kincardinshire

The Inverbervie CEW (Centimetric Early Warning) Radar Station was built in 1952 and was designated an R1. It consisted of a single storey bunker accessed from the standard design guardhouse/bungalow built of local stone. It had three type 13 and 2 type14 radar systems, one mounted on an overhead gantry.

In the 1960's the site was taken over by the US Navy working in conjunction with nearby RAF Edzel where the US Navy's security group had their Oceanographic Monitoring Station monitoring the North Sea and the coast around the north of Britain. During this period the bunker was substantially modified and converted into two levels. This was done by removing the original floor and lowering the height of the rooms, in this way it was possible to squeeze a second level into the same space without altering the structure of the bunker. The US Navy moved out in 1978 and the bunker remained empty for six year until 1984 when it was taken over as the Armed Forces Standby HQ to Craigie Hall (sic). The bunker was finally closed in 1993 and purchased by the current owner in 1999. Despite the US modification the plant room remains in original condition and is the best surviving example of its type (CEW / R1). It would appear that the American's did not use the AC Plant, utilising only a small number of the original fans to provide ventilation.

The 'new' two storey control room, <2001
The 'new' two storey control room
© Nick Catford

Most of the other rooms have been completely altered, there is a new kitchen and new toilets with one very strange anomaly; both the male and female toilets have a urinal. On the opposite side of the main spine corridor is the new two storey control room with an open balcony overlooking the 'well' and room windows (on both floors) which also overlook the 'well' on the other side.

Two manual switchboards are still in place in one room, very similar those that were noted at another AFHQ at Henley. There are numerous other items of control equipment remaining which will need further research and investigation to interpret. The bunker is a little damp in places but is generally in excellent condition and is lit throughout. On the surface the 5 radar plinths remain intact the most interesting being the Type 14 where a low gantry straddled the small control building which still contains its original 50 c/s and 500 c/s switching racks and cable termination blocks. Four massive concrete blocks that supported the gantry stand around the building. The mound over the bunker is fairly unobtrusive set in a low valley on top of the hill, at the far end of it is the small emergency exit blockhouse.

The Plant Room, <2001
The Plant Room
© Nick Catford

The site is private and very secure, with two mean and hungry Alsatian dogs patrolling the grounds (24/7). The owner has made it clear he wouldn't welcome visitors.

© Subterranea Britannica [5]

References

1 ASPC - Single Property Retrieved July 12, 2010.

2 For sale: Dr No's Scottish bunker complex • The Register Retrieved July 12, 2010.

3 Ex-military cottage with secret bunker goes up for sale Retrieved June 29, 2013.

4 A former nuclear bunker in Inverbervie has been put up for sale | Aberdeen & North | News | STV Retrieved June 29, 2013.

5 Subterranea Britannica entry, Inverbervie CEW R1 ROTOR Radar Station

External links

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