Filed under: Photographs | Tags: Dazzle ships, HMS President, HMS Saxifrage
I’d never heard of dazzle ships until I came upon this one recently. I was amazed to learn that more than 2,000 ships were ‘dazzled’ during the First World War and that the process continued to be used into the Second.
‘Dazzling’ is a camouflage system that uses disorientating shapes to make it hard to estimate a ship’s range, speed and direction of travel, the aim being to confuse rather than conceal.
This ship, the HMS President, one of three surviving WW1 warships, was ‘dazzled’ on its launch in 1918 (known then as HMS Saxifrage). The current design is not the original but a contemporary work by German artist, Tobias Rehberger.
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: Highland clearances, Loch Ewe, Slaggan, Wester Ross
Not really a clearance village as such, Slaggan can be found near the shores of Loch Ewe. The clan chief of the Mackenzies in Gairloch refused to evict his tenants during the clearances in the 19th century. As a result, cleared Highlanders from other communities made their way to Gairloch.
It was probably around 12 metres high but much of the stone from the broch was removed in 1722 to help build Bernera Barracks at Glenelg.
It is thought that the floor at ground level was used to keep animals whilst living quarters for people were on the upper levels.
Nothing remains of the inner structure or the roof which were likely to have been made of wood.
Brochs were fortified round houses usually comprised of two concentric drystone walls with a stone staircase corkscrewing its way up between the walls.
They were being built in the Iron Age around 2,300 years ago and stopped being built in the early centuries AD. Believed to have been the homes of local tribal leaders, there are more than 500 of them across Scotland, mostly in the northern and western parts and in the islands.
More pictures are available at Ancient Scotland.
Happy New Year.
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History | Tags: Arctic Convoys, Loch Ewe, Wester Ross
During World War II, Loch Ewe in Wester Ross, on the west coast of Scotland, was used as a convoy collecting point for the North Atlantic Fleet. It’s a natural deep water sea loch that links to the Atlantic Ocean via a relatively narrow mouth which made it easier to protect.
Anti-aircraft batteries near the entrance guarded the loch from air attack and a boom net stretching from shore to shore along with a mine defence system helped to shield the vessels in the loch from German U-boats.
The North Atlantic Fleet sailed from 1941 to 1945 from the UK to the North Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel to aid Russian Allies. Merchant ships containing supplies and ammunition were escorted by British Royal Naval ships and aircraft carriers. These goods were vital to the war effort as Russia was completely blockaded by German forces.
More than four million tons of supplies – including tanks, aircraft, trucks, tractors, telephone wire, railway engines, fuel, medicine, metal and other raw materials – were delivered to the Russians over this period.
There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945, 19 of them departing from Loch Ewe.
The last convoy sailed from Loch Ewe on the 30th December 1944.
A memorial commemorating those who lost their lives on the Arctic convoys was unveiled by the Russian Convoy Club at Cove on 11 September 1999.
The loch is still used today as a refuelling station for NATO vessels.
Filed under: Photographs, Scottish History, West Lothian | Tags: Kirk of Calder, Midcalder
The Kirk of Calder serves Mid Calder, a ‘conservation village’ in West Lothian, just 12 miles from Edinburgh and 40 miles from Glasgow.
The original part of the present church was built in 1541 and then it was extended in 1863 but it is believed that a church has existed on this site since around 1150.
It is a Historic Scotland Grade A listed building and well worth a visit.