Scotland’s Secret Bunker

Scotland's Secret Bunker

It may not be the first thing visitors to Fife think of doing, but you should make every effort to come and see this extraordinary underground nerve centre where plans were put in place to keep Scotland functioning, should there be a nuclear attack.

Just a 10-minute drive from Crail, a quiet lane leads through the Fife countryside and a barbed-wire fence to what looks just like an ordinary farmhouse, but was in fact, the guardhouse that would have protected the command centre of the Scottish government had it become necessary. Today, it’s the visitor centre welcoming people into the bunker.

Erance to the Bunker
The Guardhouse

So how did this come about? Well, initially after the end of WWII the British government decided to build a string of early warning radar stations along the east coast of Britain, with those at most risk being built underground. Fife has a Royal Navy dockyard at Rosyth and at the time also had an RAF base at Leuchars, and so consequently it was decided to build this underground complex at Troywood. It was such a well-kept secret that apparently even the locals didn’t know it was here.

The Bunker above ground

A 150 metre tunnel leads from the Guardhouse down into the bunker, which is on two levels, the lowest being 30 metres (almost 100ft) underground. As the threat of a nuclear attack increased then the bunker needed to adapt, and in the early 1970s it was refurbished to accommodate its new role, which it did until 1993.

The Tunnel leading down to the Bunker

Some 300 personnel were employed here and there are 42 rooms that can be accessed (some still can’t be for security reasons). Obviously, I can’t describe them all here but they include everything that would help the country to survive after a nuclear attack.

The pictures below show a Dormitory, Telephone Exchange, Emergency Services Control Room and a BBC Studio.

There was, of course, all the facilities needed to keep the bunker going such as the Mess Hall, which is now a visitors’ café

The Mess Hall, now the Cafe

The room where the Radar operators monitored any potential threat would undoubtedly have been one of the most important of all, and it sends a shudder down my spine to think that a 4-minute warning was all we had (have) in order to deal with a nuclear attack.

The Radar System Room

The Minister of State for Scotland was responsible for taking the appropriate action if the worst-case scenario happened, and he had his own office/bedroom next to the Nuclear Command Control Centre.

The Cold War thankfully finished some time ago now, and on 1st April 1994 the Bunker was opened up to the public. It may not have been on your radar beforehand, but Scotland’s Secret Bunker really shouldn’t be a secret anymore. Don’t miss it.

The Nuckear Command Control Centre
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18 thoughts on “Scotland’s Secret Bunker

  1. Alli Templeton

    It is indeed enough to send a shiver down the spine, Malc, just four minutes. An interesting looking place and in a way its reassuring that people can go and visit it now as a tourist attraction, isn’t it? That cafe looks a warm and friendly haven within all its cold military surroundings. The carousel of photos is really interesting because it looks as though they thought of everything when they designed the place. Thanks for taking us round. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Thanks for joining me underground Alli. I’m not sure why I like visiting places such as this. A morbid curiosity I suppose.

      Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      I think when you visit places like this you realise just how fragile the world really is. Thanks for taking a look

      Reply
  2. TheRamblingWombat

    As others have said, fascinating. This is the sort of place I love visiting .. I love the intrigue and the stories (true and fanciful) that invariably are associated with places like this,

    Reply
  3. starship VT

    Thank heaven there was never a nuclear incident that had to be acted upon. This is certainly a museum I’d find interesting. Another good post, Malcolm!

    Reply
  4. John

    A school mate ended up in charge of re-stocking these with tinned food. Every three years the last stock was replaced and the expired stock sold at auction. You could buy several hundred 2.62 Kg tins of Heinz baked beans for a penny each if you were in the know. HMP was a big buyer.

    Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Crikey! That throws up more questions than I would have thought 🙂 Interesting little snippet though John

      Reply
    1. Easymalc Post author

      Cheers Francesc! I’ll drink to that 🙂 The weather’s fine here today too and I hope you are as well. Stay safe.

      Reply

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