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RAF Saxa Vord to be sold off

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RAF Saxa Vord to be sold off

Old 10th Jun 2012, 19:07
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RAF Saxa Vord to be sold off

It seems most of the remaining land at RAF Saxa Vord, in the Shetland Islands is to be sold off.

SVA Property Auctions Ltd - Lot 18

Is this the last of the RAF land up there, I seem to remember the radar being removed a few years ago, am I correct? I imagine it causes quite a few gaps in radar coverage up North, especially when our Russian friends come to visit! I wonder if Scottish Independence would reverse this decison?
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Old 10th Jun 2012, 19:12
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The locals probably feel that they could get a deal similar to one offered to the new owners of Machrahannish.
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Old 10th Jun 2012, 20:06
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I was up there a few months ago. The site is a ghost town now, and although there are still a few MOD bits, most of it is empty. Its worth calling in if you are up that way as the domestic complex is now a hotel, and has an excellent coffee shop. There is also a small museum as well charting the history of the station.
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Old 10th Jun 2012, 20:06
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Unst. Amazing place; absolute moon country with palatial houses being built for homesick expats.
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Old 10th Jun 2012, 20:42
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I did an Unst with Yogibear the day after the Baltasound Hotel roof flew off and landed on Saxa's 32 seater. Apparently the trouble was they didn't had a F658 for the trip down the hill to the pub. I think Saxa Vjord was a posting for bad boys - a bit like El Adem with Skuas.
Unst is an anagram of Stun and Nuts.

Last edited by 5aday; 10th Jun 2012 at 20:44.
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Old 11th Jun 2012, 12:13
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Ouch, Unst for bad boys - I did my sentence for 12 months (increased to 18 months for good behaviour) just after the Balty Towers lost its roof. ShetRad sent its very bad boys there for 3 months at a time - you know who you are (Davy R, Storky Croft et al), the rest of us were just deliquents.
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Old 12th Jun 2012, 00:36
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Bit for sale hasn't been really been needed since 1998/9 when the place lost its controlling positions. The only good thing about my tour up there was actually getting the posting I wanted afterwards.
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Old 12th Jun 2012, 10:13
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That was the location of my first MQ!! A 'Shed' with a corrugated iron roof. Had to shout when it rained. Happy days.
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Old 12th Jun 2012, 10:59
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Unst has a Talcum powder mine.

Nothing to do with the Mil but I went up there diving on a WW1 submarine off unst and there was a huge pile of raw talcum powder on the harbour side.
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Old 12th Jun 2012, 16:15
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Old 12th Jun 2012, 23:37
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What a tour!

Saxa Vord, 20 months from 89-91. Excellent tour and I wasn't a bad boy nor on an E3-D promise. Enough Bears to keep us busy. What a laugh!
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Old 13th Jun 2012, 02:41
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The site is a ghost town now, and although there are still a few MOD bits
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Old 13th Jun 2012, 02:42
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Also known as RAF Sexual Void, I did two tours in 81-82 and 91-93. Great place with some fantastic memories. The buildings being sold are the original Admiralty Building which pre-dates the RAF buildings attached to it at a later date. The old R10 Ops block and the newer R101 Ops block are the main buildings, I have no idea what anyone could use them for. I would imagine the Admiralty Building and the R10 are in pretty poor shape by now.
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Old 14th Jun 2012, 13:49
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Saxa Vord radar

In the early 1990's I was a coastguard in Aberdeen. We occasionally asked RAF Saxa Vord to tilt their radar down to look for shipping contacts etc. After a particularly violent storm which left the Aberdeen anemometer broken at 100kts plus, Saxa Vord rang to say they had lost their radar. "When do you expect to get it back on line?" "You don't understand. We've LOST our radar. It blew away over the cliff!"
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Old 15th Jun 2012, 22:35
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That would be the E49, which I have also dived Spent a week up there diving out of Baltasound in 2009, staying in the old MQs (I think). Also got attacked by a bonxie!
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Old 16th Jun 2012, 07:13
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Cracking wreck but of course a war grave.

Sad that nobody can dive it any more.

Although those pillocks who tried to steal the periscope got there just rewards.
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Old 16th Jun 2012, 09:44
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Saxa's Type 80 Aerial in the 1960s did go rolling down the hill in strong winds, however in 1991 the biggest Radome on the hill let go in one of the highest wind speeds recorded in the UK (there was no radar in it at the time, as it was awaiting the fit of a Radar Type 93). The debris from that dome hit the rest of the domes on the site along with one of the link 11 towers. The result was all of the rest of domes let go and did serious damage to all of the radars on the site (Type 96 and a couple of HF200 height finders), plus the link 11 tower ended up bent in half. Knew a guy who was on duty at the Head's site at the time and he said it was a very scary night even with everybody withdrawn into the citadel area of the strongest buildings on the site.

Last edited by MAINJAFAD; 16th Jun 2012 at 09:46.
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Old 16th Jun 2012, 12:27
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You can still dive it with permission of the local police (or Coast Guard?) My club dived it again in 2011 (but I wasn't there) - on both ocassions we conducted a survey:

From the 2011 trip - note White Ensign posted by MoD club who visited shortly before us:

Last edited by Lazer-Hound; 16th Jun 2012 at 12:37. Reason: Add new Video
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Old 16th Jun 2012, 12:38
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That viz is cracking.

And good to know that she can still be dived.

We were told the story of the divers that took the periscope off it before we went near it.

Apparently some local fishermen took exception to the desecration of a war grave and kicked the shite out of them. No charges were brought against the fishermen and the divers got done.

War grave or not why would you want to vandalise that beautiful white brass conning tower?
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Old 16th Jun 2012, 12:46
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'sactly, MJ. Maintaining good relations with the locals is pretty important for expeditionary diving and in fact it was a local lobsterman who told us exactly where to drop our shot for the E49. It goes without saying that, quite apart from the moral considerations of desacrating war graves, taking stuff from wrecks doesn't leave much for future generations of divers to discover. It's very much frowned on in my club and BSAC generally. That said, I can't speak for the old and the bold...apparently tyre irons were a standard part of dive equipment in the early days of scuba, as the portholes, bells and other relics decorating many a clubhouse will testify!
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