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Alness, Royal Air Force Seaplane Base

Seaplane Base (20th Century)

Site Name Alness, Royal Air Force Seaplane Base

Classification Seaplane Base (20th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Raf Alness; Invergordon; Cromarty Firth

Canmore ID 90512

Site Number NH66NE 52

NGR NH 65120 67900

NGR Description Centred

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Alness
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH66NE 52.00 centred 6512 6790

NH66NE 52.01 NH 65681 68864 Firing Range

Part of the site falls on map sheet NH66NW.

Not to be confused with the World War I seaplane and flying boat base on the Cromarty Forth (centred NH 7885 6767, at The Links, Cromarty), for which see NH76NE 295.

Alness is the sole wartime flying boat base still used by the RAF (1983), but of course only marine craft can be seen here now, and that from a distance, as it is not very accessible. The former decontamination centre is close to Alness town and a few other dispersed buildings also survive, along with the concrete floors of dozens of nissen huts.

The station, which dates back to the pre-war period, was known first as Invergordon, but, in its early days, it is doubtful if it was anything more than a mooring area with a slipway (NH 6497 6775) for beaching the aircraft.

D J Smith 1983.

Alness seaplane base is situated immediately to the S of a new stretch of the A9 trunk road to the S of Alness town. Little remains, apart from one Bellman type hangar, two motor transport buildings and several accommodation huts. The bases of the large seaplane hangars can be easily identified as can most of the taxiways. There are also several small brick-built blast shelters strategically located around the base. At what was the former entrance, two small anti-tank pimples survive alongside a small garage or fire tender building. A small landing craft can also be seen in the central accommodation area mounted on wooden blocks. One light anti-aircraft position could be located in the SW part of the base consisting of a concrete base surrounded by a circular earthen bank.

During February and March of 1997 most of the surviving buildings were cleared to allow trenches to be dug for service pipes as part of the re-development of the site.

Visited by RCAHMS (DE) January/March 1997

Slipway, some of the roads and one or two small buildings are all that survives.

J Guy 2000; NMRS MS 810/10, Vol.2, 112.


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