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Preston Island Decoy

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A Naval Starfish decoy was located on Preston Island, Torry Bay, east of Culross on the north shore of the Firth of Forth, and was intended to cover the facilities based at Rosyth, approximately six miles further east. Site number RO5. The site was may also have been referred to as High Valleyfield.

Although historic records describe the decoy as QL (lighting), they also refer to "a small fire decoy site", which would have been designated QF (fire).

The control bunker for the site was reported to be visible on aerial photographs taken in 1945, 300 metres northeast of Preston Island and described as being "rectangular in plan with the entrance on the E side", however there was no evidence of the decoy site, with pictures noted to have been taken at high tide. The decoy was located on the site of the Preston Island salt pans. The land has now been reclaimed, and forms part of a nature reserve funded by Scottish Power since 1996. No longer surrounded by water, it is possible to visit the remains of the mines and pans, however the reclamation work, using an ash slurry pumped along pipes from nearby Longannet Power Station to fill the pans (now artificial lagoons), means the decoy site has been obliterated.

During the 17th century the Prestons of Valleyfield mined coal there to fire the salt pans, however repeal of salt duties in 1823 led to their decline, and the works were abandoned by the mid 1850s. The coal mine is said to have closed after an explosion, and the buildings were later occupied by an illicit distillery.

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