David Gifford Photography

Unst at War

Photo: Unst at War

I had an interesting walk this summer around the remains of RAF Skaw at Lamba Ness in Unst. Following the German invasion of Norway in 1940, RAF Skaw was established to provide radar coverage from Unst’s strategic location at the north of the UK. There are a series of military structures throughout the site, including hefty bunkers, which I think are well worth exploring as a slightly unconventional tourist destination.

Belying the site’s peaceful and somewhat remote nature, the site came under attack several times, being machine-gunned and bombed from the air (you can still see bomb craters).

From what I’ve been able to gather, the surreal-looking building photographed above is the blast wall which would have surrounded the RAF Skaw Advance Chain Home (ACH) Receiver Hut.

The blog posts ‘A History of RAF Skaw’ by the late Gordon Cale, and ‘Off the Beaten Track 19 – Skaw’ by Dr Val Turner, provide a much more thorough overview of the history of RAF Skaw and the site.

Today, the Lamba Ness site is used for grazing sheep.

Looking to the future, there is a proposal by SaxaVord Space Port to develop a launch site and ground station at Lamba Ness for launching small rockets into low earth orbit.


Image #1175