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The ROC Post in remote Tighnabruaich in Argyll & Bute had a rather untimely and unexpected end to it's life in early 1990, more than a year before the posts were officially stood down.
Observer Officer David Ross recalls how he received a phone call from the Chief Observer of the post saying they had been forced to abandon it due to 'Slight Water Ingress'..
After never seeing any photo's from inside the post and subbrit recalling it being flooded to within 3ft of the monitoring room ceiling in their 2002 visit.I remembered to take the post keys from the key cupboard back at GHQ and we duly arrived at the post site after the usual issue of trying to find a post I had only visited once before and waiting for the ferry.
I went into the boot of my car to find my ‘T’ key (which always lived in the car boot) and much to my embarrassment, especially as my boss was present, it was missing! In true ROC tradition we improvised and a heavy duty screwdriver came into its own that day. We undid the padlocks, fiddled around with the screwdriver and eventually opened the hatch to find the “slight water ingress” was within 6 inches of the top of the shaft!!
The information stirred something in my mind. If the post was unexpectedly abandoned - perhaps it was left with everything inside it?
These ideas that come into my head usually don't go away - so one cold week in March we headed around Scotland visiting a few posts that still needed to be visited and found ourselves on a ferry heading for Tighnabruaich.
Finding the post owner wasn't too taxing, and after explaining what we wanted to do and armed with suitable tools we set off towards the post.
On first inspection, the water level wasn't quite as bad as Mr Ross's account, although you can clearly see from the photograph the tide mark around the top of the hatch.
After setting up the pump, we had to wait several hours for thousands of litres of dirty smelly water to be pumped out of the bunker.
Finally, the moment we had been waiting for. The water level was low enough for access in wellies. The air down here was horrendously bad.
On shining my torch inside, the theory had indeed been proved. That the post was abandoned with all it's operational equipment left inside.
We finished up at the post and securely locked it back up again and headed further south on our travels around Scotland's unseen ROC Posts. It won't be long before it fills up again.
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