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Lewis, Arnish Point

Coastal Battery (Second World War)

Site Name Lewis, Arnish Point

Classification Coastal Battery (Second World War)

Alternative Name(s) Rubha Arinis; Stornoway Gun Battery

Canmore ID 72150

Site Number NB43SW 27

NGR NB 43168 30567

NGR Description NB 43180 30583 and NB 43181 30546

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Western Isles
  • Parish Lochs
  • Former Region Western Isles Islands Area
  • Former District Western Isles
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NB43SW 27 43180 30583 and 43181 30546

Scheduled as Arnish Point, gun emplacement.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 19 March 1992.

This WW II coastal battery is situated at Arnish Point beyond a fabrication yard. Consisting of two gun-emplacements, battery observation post and two searchlight platforms. The battery was armed with two 4-inch guns and was manned by the Royal Navy throughout the war. (PRO ADM1/13120 72533). The site is depicted on the current OS 1:10000 map sheet (1985).

J Guy 2002; NMRS MS 810/12, 32-37, 41

The World War II coast battery is situated on highest ground between the Fabrication Yard (NB43SW 123) and Arnish Point lighthouse (NB43SW 20.00) at the edge of E-facing cliffs above Downies Harbour and overlooking Cala Steornabhagh.

The battery consists of two circular brick, concrete and steel gun-emplacements (NB 43180 30583 and NB 43181 30546), a brick, concrete and steel two storey Battery Observation Post (BoP) [NB 43168 30567], two concrete and steel searchlight emplacements, one to the N (NB 43213 30705) the other to the S (NB 43036 30485) and the remains of an accommodation camp.

The concrete used in the gun-emplacements shows evidence of having been cast in more than one pouring, a diagonal line running around the rear wall suggests possible problems in the pouring of the concrete during construction. Within the gun-emplacements, the holdfasts survive retaining the lower portion of the steel mounting. Within the housing are several painted signs inlcuding those referring to gun store, magazines and 'no smoking'.

The more northerly gun-emplacement (No.2 gun) has concrete slabs laid to the SE, between the edge of the gun-platform and the cliff-edge, suggesting that the there were problems in stabilising the position due to the close proximity to the precipice.

The two-storey Battery Observation Post is also built of brick and concrete with reinforced steel beams to support the flat roof. The upper floor is accessed by a vertical steel ladder and retains the lower portion of the siting and ranging block. In addition, some cabling conduit survives on both floors.

About 96m to the W are the remains of the accommodation camp. Concrete hut platforms were noted at NB 43095 30572, a possible ablutions block, NB 43057 30577 and NB 43089 30563. In addition, on top of what may be an artificially raised area, a further group of at least six hut platforms, some retaining their entrance steps, were noted (centred at NB 43093 30607).

Immediately W of the modern gated entrance to the installation and S of the track to the gun-emplacements are two large concrete blocks with slots in them (NB 43115 30547), their purpose being unkown and immediately to the S the remains of an engine house with engine beds. Another small engine mounting block was noted at NB 43127 30582 (ngr obtained using a hand held GPS Garmin).

What may be a small machine gun position was found at NB 43171 30660 (ngr obtained using a hand held GPS Garmin). The position is visible within an area of rig and furrow cultivation on oblique aerial photographs taken in 2004 (RCAHMS 2004).

The battery is unusual in that the circular design of the emplacements are not repeated elsewhere in Scotland possibly reflecting the Royal Navy origins.

The battery is visible on vertical air photographs taken just after the end of World War II (106G/Scot/UK 103, 3256-3257, flown 19 May 1946). They show that the accommodation camp consisted of two large huts with several smaller types immediately to the N.

Visited by RCAHMS (DE, CS, SW), 1, 2 August 2005


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