Thursday, 2 August 2018

Scapa Flow

To many, just a name in the history books, but it was during WW1 and WW2 the British navy's major anchorage. Now it is fairly empty and the Navy has gone,but there was still plenty to see when I visited the Orkneys last month.

First off was the old Naval base on Hoy, But unfortunately while I was there the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre was closed for refurbishment, although we did have a guided walk around the site.

Important item - the buffalo burger van underneath a gun from the High Seas Fleet. The Orkneys are not renowned for their herds of buffalo, but these were made from local produce.

One remaining crane of four that were used to move the anti-submarine nets a section of which is underneath

A schematic of the site at its height

The extent of the visitor centre

The centre with some external exhibits, the oil tank behind also houses some more

The 150mm deck gun salvaged from the German mine-laying cruiser SMS Bremse that was scuttles along with the rest of the High Seas Fleet.

Naval Cemetary

Ness battery commands the western entrance to the flow and is better preserved and has organised visits (but none convenient for me)

Information board

barracks and emplacements behind the wire

Closer view

Fire Control Tower on Graemsay across Hoy Sound

Hoxa Head batteries

3 remains of the barrack blocks

The view across Hoxa Sound, the major entrance to the flow

On lower promontories are the searchlight positions

The height of the gun positions are quite surprising

Information board

6 inch gun position

Hoxa head from the sound

close up

Fire control position on Flotta across the sound

A final view of Hoxa Head as we left Orkney


Andrew Canham said...

Interesting place to visit. It manages to look pretty bleak, even during one of our hottest summers in living memory. I shudder to think what it was like on a bitter January day. Interesting that many of the military structures appear to be designed to a universal plan, as they closely resemble a lot of the old fortifications that were/are around the Sound and Naval Dockyard at Plymouth.

Cheers, Andy

West Riding Wargamer said...

Thank you for this Will. My Dad was in the Coastal Defence artillery during WW2 and served on the Orkneys for about a year.

Matt said...

Very interesting - I must admit I did not realised it was no longer in use. So much history, there's another one for my bucket list.