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Report - RNTR Arrochar, Loch Long - November 2012

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by Idle Hands, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Arrochar Torpedo Testing Station, Loch Long

    I first stopped by this a year ago after its menacing hulk loomed into view from the road round Loch Long and caught my imagination. It being the end of a November day, the light was poor and it had an uneasy feel about the place so that particular explore was quite short. Since I was back in the area I decided to take a closer look during daylight…

    A brief history…

    Opened in April 1912, RNTR Arrochar was built to test torpedoes produced at the new torpedo factory that had opened in Greenock two years earlier, and it continued to do this for 74 years until the last one was ranged on 19 March 1986. By that point, more sophisticated weapons with deep water capabilities (as well as an explosion at another site testing the same weapons) rendered the facility at Loch Long redundant.

    At its peak during WW2 it was said that an average of 48 runs per day were made down the loch, amounting to over 12,000 being tested in 1944 alone. Test firing was carried out from two tubes under the pier, from which the torpedoes – minus the warheads – were aimed under floating targets further down the loch. Seven recovery boats worked the water to retrieve the weapons after testing.

    The depot closed on 30 November 1986 when the testing was transferred to RNAD Coulport.

    Demolition of the range finally started over two decades later in June 2007, but following a major fire at the end of July that year, the work stopped and the remains were left to become what you see today…

    Earlier this year a consultation was launched into plans to transform the site into a marine destination with hotel, shops and a marina, with a projected completion date of 2015.

    Explore and Pictures

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    I thought this art was quite interesting. Not sure who did it but there is a very similar piece at St Peter's Seminary over in Cardross.

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    The steelwork (detailed above) was supplied by Dorman Long, a Middlesbrough based company responsible for such impressive bridge spans as the Tyne Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The company became part of British Steel in 1967.

    The enameled bricks (below) were manufactured by J&R Howie of Kilmarnock.

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    Last November there were half a dozen cottages adjacent to the site, all empty but all secure and saleable. The gardens were even being looked after. I'm not sure exactly when the turning point came but this time it was total devastation. All the windows were smashed, all the doors kicked in, all the roofs stripped, all the gardens overgrown (save, mysteriously, for one hedge)...

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    Not a bad way to spend an hour.

    Thanks for looking :)​
     

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