On the 8th March 2000 a very small party from Subterranea Britannica visited Cultybraggan RGHQ one mile south of Comrie in Perthshire and fifteen miles north of Stirling. The bunker, which was only completed in 1990 as a replacement for Anstruther, is located within the Cultybraggan army training camp at NN768203. We had arranged to meet two officials from the Scottish Office (The Scottish equivalent of the Home Office) at noon but we arrived a little early to find the camp almost deserted. There was no guard on the gate so we drove in and in the camp office there was one man and his daughter who told us we could go anywhere on our own until the man from the Scottish Office arrived.
The camp consists of little more than rows of WW2 Nissan Huts
(It had been a prisoner of war camp) interspersed with a few small brick
buildings. The bunker was obvious in the north east corner of the site. It is
within its own fenced and locked compound. With a large aerial mast on the north
side and a long brick ventilation/exhaust tower on the top. On the east side of
the compound, and within the camp is the Comrie ROC Post. All surface features
of the post are intact and in good condition as is the green paint. The hatch is
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The bunker is on two levels, the upper level being above ground but mounded
over with soil and grassed. The main entrance is on the west side of the mound where a gas tight door leads into a lobby area with a door into the decontamination room and a second gas tight door into the bunker. The is also a a bullet proof glass panel looking into a guard/control room. Going through the gas tight door there are stairs to the left down to the lower level and a door into the control room. In the room there is a large electrical panel with the controls for the bunker including fire protection, intruder alarm and controls for the filters and ventilation plant. The panel is still functioning. There are also two key cabinets full of keys. Beyond the control room the next door on the right leads into a small preparation room and then into the decontamination room where there are three shower blocks (the showers still work) with a door at the other end back into the entrance lobby. Returning to the top of the stairs, a short passages opens into a large open plan office area running two thirds the length of the bunker and across two thirds of the width. This area has been completely stripped of everything. There is a concertina patrician across the back third of the room and this are appears to have been used as a conference room. On the left (north) side of this room is a long thin room with evidence that it had contained tele-printers and next to that a small tea room with evidence that a drinks machine had stood there. From the back of the conference room a passage leads to the upper plant room, passing a second stairway down on the right and the emergency exit. The upper plant room contains all the ventilation plant with its associated control cabinets plus two air compressors for pumping out the sewage. All the plant is still operating and every time a toilet was flushed one of the compressors would start. There is a well down to the lower plant room with a hoist on the east side of the room and through a door on the north side, behind some of the ventilation plant there is a ladder down to the lower plant room On the right (south) side of the large open plan office/conference room there are doors into approximately 8 square rooms some of which are used by Cultybraggan Camp for storage. One room however contains a number of brand new telex machines, some of them still in their original packing crates. Apparently some of these machines, and their monitors have gone to Anstruther Museum.
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Returning to the cross passage there is a door to the right with a combination
lock on it, this was the strong room. A short corridor then leads to a second
cross passage. A door to the rights leads into the BBC Studio which is kept
locked at all times. The door opens into the control room, which is
approximately 25’ x 25' in size and lined with acoustic sheeting. The studio
itself which is about 8' X 8' stands in the opposite corner. There are two floor
standing racks on wheels, one has a stack of control units including a large
jack panel. The other rack contains two Technics tuners the remote controls for
which were found, still in their plastic bags, in a filing cabinet. There are
also two private wires to radio repeater stations in the locality. There is a
red light above the door into the studio which contains a chair, a custom made
mixing desk, a Technics cassette player, a UHER portable reel to reel tape
recorder (there is a tape on it which has a series of tones on it) and an AKG
D202 microphone. There is a glass panel looking into the control room. All the
equipment in the studio is still functioning and the private lines to the radio
repeaters are still live.
Turning right out of the studio leads to the BT room. In the centre of the room is a faraday cage containing the MSX (2000?) exchange equipment with UPS power supply. There are racks of private wires and a programming terminal. There is a small room next to it containing two operators positions still in place. Next door to the BT room was the radio room with a large floor standing rack that had once contained all the radio equipment. The various receiver and transmitter units from the rack lie on the floor in an adjacent room.
Opposite the BT room a door leads into the medical room where there are two
beds, a moveable screen and a door leading into a toilet and washroom. Returning to the second cross passage another long corridor gives access to three more dormitories on the left hand side which still contain all their
twin bunks and on the right hand side first the gents toilets with all the usual facilities, (WC, urinals and showers). Next to the gents toilets are two was rooms with sinks and the plumbing and notices for a KEF washer and tumble drier and a washing up machine and then the ladies toilets. The final room at the end of the corridor is the canteen with hot plate which is rather corroded and an extractor above, preparation area and sinks. This opens out into the canteen, which is completely empty. The door from the canteen leads to the bottom of the entrance stairs, which has a storage area beneath.
Throughout, the bunker is carpeted and generally in excellent condition although it is a little damp in places and there are a number of rabbit carcasses on the floor. Most of the lighting works, all the ventilation plant and air conditioning works and is permanently operating. The telephones and intercoms all function BT had last been to site to carry out repairs in October 1999, all the taps and showers are working and the toilets flush.
Ward Westwater arranged the visit. the bunker has been sold by the Scottish Office to the MOD although at present it is still in the hands of the Scottish Office. The Army have removed some items while other items have gone to Anstruther. As the army have keys to the bunker and use some rooms for storage, the BBC studio and control room has always been kept locked as it is still fully equipped and the Scottish Office are unclear if the BBC want their equipment back.
As an update to this (Nov 2000) I have received
an email from Robin Cherry stating that "The studio equipment was moved
some time back by Me, Rod Siebert and Richard Lamont to its new home at Hack
Green. This is a complete kit. An almost complete kit is at Kelvedon Hatch by
virtue of me rescuing it. Kelvedon has other BBC kit in addition " Its
great to see the equipment has been saved intact, and I am sure it will be on
display at Hack Green in the near future.
Text © Nick Catford 2000