RNAW Almondbank

In my last two summers as a schoolboy and countless Saturday mornings I worked in an antique shop. That’s sounds very grand. A secondhand junk shop is probably nearer the mark. More upmarket than Steptoe. Definitely no horse. House clearances were the main business with real antiques being sold in the trade and scrap to dealers. George was a real character, the Arthur Daley of Nottingham. He taught me a lot and I learned to love rummaging through decaying buildings and boxes of forgotten objects.

Heading south we stayed for the night on a small site at Almondbank near Perth. We could see from the map it was next to a complex of six large rectangular buildings. Farming sheds I surmised. In the morning, a rather wet one I ventured down to the River Almond with the dog. It turns out the buildings were part of RNAW Almondbank, the RNAW standing for Royal Naval Aircraft Workshops. Established in 1941 this site was one of seven along the banks of the River Almond. Aircraft from carriers under refit in Rosyth on the Forth were transported here for serving and storage. Helicopters were flown in but aircraft were transported by road. They had such names as Sea Venom, Sea Hawk and Sea Vixen. The site was last used in the 1970s

Several of the old administration and service buildings remain in various states of decay. On this site the hangers have been demolished leaving the large concrete floors. Some replaced by modern warehouses. A lot of ground works remain, steps and paths, slowly being reclaimed by nature. Secluded and surrounded by the wooded banks of the River Almond this must be a prime brownfield site. The other sites have found uses. One is an industrial estate, another used for housing, others farming. One still has some connection with the aviation industry being occupied by Vector Aerospace

So an hour spent reliving my youth before breakfast. Then the journey south continued in incessant rain and high winds.

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