NS3482 : Remains of a rifle range

taken 5 years ago, 3 km from Dumfin, Argyll And Bute, Great Britain

This is 1 of 2 images, with title Remains of a rifle range in this square
Remains of a rifle range
Remains of a rifle range
The view is from a NS3482 : Forestry track on the Killoeter ridge. The structure does not appear to be indicated on OS maps of any period, and had not previously been recorded in archaeology databases; I submitted a report on the site to WoSAS.

The present view shows ironwork reinforcing the upper part of the outer (right) face of a very substantial concrete wall. Behind the wall (see NS3482 : Remains of a rifle range for a view from that side) are remnants of metal structures, including a pulley wheel: NS3482 : Remnants of rifle range pulley system.

I had not encountered any remains of this kind before, and OS maps provide no clues (they show no structures in this area), but this solidly-built concrete wall in an isolated spot suggested a military role (protection from blasts or projectiles), and what was left of a pulley system behind it could have been a means of moving or raising targets.

Comparison with the remains of known rifle ranges confirmed the identification. See, for example, the first two images at LinkExternal link (at Highland HER); click on the thumbnails there to see larger images.

The following images of a former rifle range at Denmuir show a much more extensive range, but they also give an idea of how the pulley mechanism might have looked when it was intact: LinkExternal link and LinkExternal link (both links are to Flickr).

The pulley system appears to have raised targets alternately, one going up while another goes down.

The firing range was probably in use around the time of the Second World War; clearly, these slopes would not then have been afforested. In fact, forestry came here after 1950, according to map evidence. Likewise, the forestry track, which is just to the south-east (right) of the wall, is not shown on OS maps until later still (after about 1980). It is interesting that the forestry track leads right past the rifle range. This may be a coincidence; however, it is just conceivable that the track had been created earlier, specifically in connection with this military site, and then adapted or renewed later for forestry use. If this was this case, the track might have been omitted from maps for some time after the War, out of reluctance to make the positions of military-related features public knowledge. However, this is just speculation on my part.

The NS3482 : Forestry track itself is at a lower level than the ground on which the ruin stands, so that there is a drop of a few feet on that side.

If I had not come along here when I did, I might have missed out on making the find. By 2018, a large area of trees to the southeast of the track had been cleared away, leaving the former rifle range exposed to view at the edge of the woods; forestry workers would have come across the remains before then.
Remains of a rifle range
A hitherto unreported ruin beside a forestry track on the Killoeter ridge. A thick concrete wall, its top reinforced with ironwork, stands above the north-western side of a forestry track that is shown on the OS map (the ruin itself is not). Behind the wall are remnants of a pulley system for raising and lowering targets.
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Grid Square
NS3482, 98 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Friday, 21 November, 2014   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 10 December, 2014
Geographical Context
Derelict, Disused  Woodland, Forest  Defence, Military 
Former (from Tags)
Rifle Range 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3449 8207 [10m precision]
WGS84: 56:0.1753N 4:39.3498W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3449 8205
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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