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Meteorological Station Tayport

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Derelict meteorological station, 2005
Derelict meteorological station
© Christopher Gillan

A meteorological station was constructed to the southeast of Tayport, Fife, during World War II, near Tentsmuir Forest on the south side of the entrance to the the Firth of Tay.

Believed to have originally been operated by the RAF, reporting to RAF Leuchars a few miles to the south, the station provided weather reports and observations to the airfield.

Two pillboxes still lie to the east of the station compound, and would have been part of the Tentsmuir Coastal Defences which extended from Tayport in the north, and along Tentsmuir Sands to Leuchars in the south, defending the airfield at RAF Leuchars. Other defences can still be found nearby, including concrete blocks, dragon's teeth, and anti-glider poles, however many of the concrete blocks that were originally placed as tank traps have been moved, and placed on the beach to serve as sea defences.

Pillboxes to east of station, 2008
Pillboxes to east of station
© Kate Vernon

The station has been abandoned, leaving a number of derelict buildings within a fenced compound on the edge of land overlooking the beach. Local surveys suggest the land here is subject to significant sea erosion, and the the beach is advancing inland at a rate of up to 5 metres per year, suggesting it may be encroaching on the site by the end of the decade, 2010.

Meteorological Office

The station was later taken over and used by the Meteorological Office, and is listed by them as Shanwell, opened on January 1, 1981, and closed on December 31, 1992.[1] Additional information received describes the facility as a radiosonde station, which launched weather balloons four times daily. Its WMO (World Meteorological Organization) number was 03170, and its DCNN (district county number) was 1578. Finance cuts led to closure of the station in March 1992, when operations transferred to RAF Boulmer, Northumberland.

Further information received from staff posted to the station shows that it was in use during the 1960s, but the Meteorological Office surface station data provided online clearly indicates its date of opening for their purposes as 1981, as per the excerpt below, quoted from the given reference:

       TYPEGRIDGRIDStation opened  Station closed  CODE
DCNN1578SHANWELLHSUN3445FIFE56433-28674OS3471727711198131121992DD6 9
DCNN1578SHANWELLMODLERADFIFE56433-28674OS3471727711198131121992DD6 9
DCNN1578SHANWELLDLY3208 FIFE56433-28674OS3471727711198131121992DD6 9
WMO03170SHANWELLUA35TMP FIFE56433-28674OS3471727711198131121992DD6 9


1 UK Surface Data - Detailed List of Met Office surface stations

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