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Blairskaith Muir, Civil Starfish Decoy

Decoy Site (20th Century)

Site Name Blairskaith Muir, Civil Starfish Decoy

Classification Decoy Site (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Clyde Aa Defences; Craigmaddie Muir

Canmore ID 232040

Site Number NS57NE 84

NGR NS 595 762

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Dunbartonshire
  • Parish Baldernock (Strathkelvin)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Strathkelvin
  • Former County Stirlingshire

Archaeology Notes

A rectangular concrete and brick decoy system generator is situated about 700m SE of North Blocharn farmsteading. It measures 9m x 16m and is about 3m in height. The top is capped with a concrete roof and a baffle wall protects the entrance. It has been recessed into the hillslope.

Information from Defence of Britain Project recording form, (D MacInnes), 1997

A decoy site bunker situated to the N of a minor road leading to Mugdock on the S-facing slopes of Craigmaddie Muir. Similar to that at Drumnessie Wood (NS78SW 18).

Information from Kilsyth Academy Fld Archaeol Group, 1999

A QF/QL decoy control bunker.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), September 2002

Archaeology Notes

NS57NE 84 595 762

The remains of a Starfish decoy site (SF13c) are visible at this location on RAF air photographs taken in 1945 (106G/UK989: 4248 and 4249). The site is not visible on All Scotland Survey air photographs taken in 1988 (51588: 077, 078). The control bunker (NS67NW 70) is situated 1km to the E.

Information from RCAHMS (KM), 27 December 2002.

This extensive civil Starfish decoy site is situated on the S-facing slopes of Blairskaith Muir.

The site consists of a series shallow ditched rectangular and oval shaped enclosures forming firebreaks, which would have contained basket, boiling oil, grid/coal drip and plain coal fires. The group of enclosures are also visible on further frames of the above mentioned sortie (106G/UK 989 31283129, flown 9 November 1945), which show that the site extended over an area 300m square. It is not known whether the bunker recorded about 600m W (NS57NE 54) was linked to this group or to the small fire or lighting decoys (Civil QF/QL), located in this area.

It is not known whether anything survives of this site.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), November 2005.


Field Visit (16 November 2017)

A control shelter, a small pile of bricks and mortar, together with the remains of possibly five concrete platforms are all that has been observed of this World War Two Civil Starfish Decoy, which is visible on RAF air photographs (106G/UK989: 3128-9, 4248-9) flown on 9 November 1945. The site is one of 18 decoys that were constructed as part of the military infrastructure designed to protect the industries in the centre of Glasgow and along the banks of the River Clyde from aerial attack.

The control shelter (NS 58775 75845) is situated on the S side of a field of improved pasture immediately N of a minor public road and it is enclosed on the NNE and WSW by a ditch up to 6m broad and 0.7m deep. The shelter measures 9m from ENE to WSW by 4m transversely over brick walls 0.35m thick and 2m high, within a grass-grown earthen blast wall up to 3.7m thick and 2.2m high. The flat, reinforced concrete roof retains a turf capping, while an escape hatch is located in the middle of its ENE edge. A brick baffle situated on the NNW, measuring 0.93m from ENE to WSW by 0.35m and 2m high, is positioned 0.75m from the blast wall at the mid-point of the structure. This shields a canopied entrance leading into a corridor. Opposed entrances at its SSE end provide access to two square compartments that are flooded. The doorway of the control room on the ENE has been damaged in an attempt to enlarge it. Its interior retains few fittings, but a baton on the ceiling indicates the former presence of pendent lighting, while six steel rungs attached to the ENE wall permit egress from the escape hatch. In addition, there are rectangular vents just above floor level in the NNW and SSE walls and a hole near the NNW corner was probably a chimney. The generator room on the opposite side of the corridor contains the plinths for 3 engines, rectangular vents in the NNW and SSE walls, and a small pipe in the ENE wall entering the passage. A large circular aperture high in the centre of the WSW wall emitted the exhaust gasses from the generators, while pipes just above the floor conducted gasses to the external, brick-built, expansion chambers located on the lip of the ditch WSW of the shelter. Two flat concrete covers that once concealed the expansion chambers are displaced to the E. There is also what appears to be a grass-grown concrete floor or stance situated 12 ENE of the control shelter on the far side of the track leading from the gateway into the field. Only its SSE edge is visible and its connection with the shelter is unknown.

The decoy was situated in improved pasture about 775m ENE of the control shelter, but little of this is now left. A small pile of bricks and mortar (NS 59502 76237), situated in a ditch to the E of a track running N to the site of an old farmstead (NS57NE 58), has been cleared from the improved pasture field to the W, while about 25m SSW, on the W side of the track and at the edge of the neighbouring field of improved pasture, are the broken-up remnants of at least one narrow, rectangular concrete platform (NS 59493 76212) amongst other concrete debris.

More debris is situated 35m S of unnamed burn (NS 59430 76020), where there are four disturbed, partly grass-grown, flat rectangular slabs of reinforced concrete arranged in a rough line measuring 8m from N to S by 3m transversely, overlying an earlier rig-system. They appear to have been platforms, rather than the floors or roofs of small buildings.

Visited by HES, Survey and Recording (ATW, GFG) 16 November 2017.


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