Doric Future in conjunction with Aberdeenshire Country side Ranger Service had planned walk to uncover hidden  history.

Unfortunately Due to LockDown 2020, this planned walk was postponed, however Country side Ranger David Brown has provided the following note and wonderful poem he has written about Ward Hill.

FORMARTINE RANGER:
Yesterday I would have been taking a guided short walk from Port Erroll, up Ward Hill, or Goats Hillock as it is also known, and on to New Slains Castle and back. Instead I’m posting a few photos of the area. Between 1959 and 1991, Ward Hill was the site of a ‘LORAN’ station, staffed by the Royal Observer Corps. This radio station’s purpose was to provide early warning of air attack and nuclear fall-out, confirm nuclear strikes, supply civil and military authorities and N.A.T.O. allies with details of any strikes and provide post-attack meteorological advice as to the path and intensity of fall-out.

Ward Hill.
Above Port Erroll stands Ward Hill, exposed.
We soon forget. The Hill remembers more;
When sister Norway’s shelf fell in the sea,
The silence after tidal wave’s great roar.
Yet further back in time, advancing weight
Of mile deep ice, a frozen tombstone’s sprawl.
Then melting trickle streams, eventual retreat.

This bastion of cliff and rock saw Danes;
For just one day it hears the fighting cries,
Briefly the sea foam turns a little pink.
Then peace, a pasture where goats graze and chew,
A writer looks far out to sea and dreams,
A mill for corn along the Watter’s Mou’,
The golf course on the Hill, as if had never been.

Bare hill, and barer still its concrete blocks
And oblong squares of roofless worn red bricks;
A Cold War castle’s radar vigilance,
Assured destruction’s early warning drill,
Here stood a radio mast’s high-tech surveillance.
Warheads remain but not the Cold War chill;
Long gone the garrison encamped upon the Hill.

And all around the eastern side’s hard edge,
The rushing sound of swelling wind and wave,
Relentless beat that takes its rolling time;
Booms hard and loud or easing to a sough
But ceaseless ever, a wayward, reeling knock
That’s spelling out in chant what’s coming down;
The waves are but an echo from the stars’ dark place.
David Brown

 

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