Torr Head Coast Guard Station, Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland, December 2018

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
Torr Head is the closest point of Ireland to Scotland, with the Mull of Kintyre a mere 19km away across the North Channel. It was previously the site of Dunvarragh cashel, a lighthouse in the charge of the Red Branch warrior-chieftain, Barrach. Built in 1822 as a coast guard station Torr Head doubled up as a Lloyds Signal station for North Channel Shipping. On 11th September 1920 the station and was raided by about fifty armed men who stole five revolvers, 280 rounds of ammunition, rockets, four telescopes, two pair of binoculars, the heliograph, and the G.P.O. telephone. The Chief Officer of the station, George Timblick, later reported that the raid was a well-planned operation. The raiders wore rubber on their boots to reduce noise and succeeded placed 5-6 men at each door before knocking. They trapped each member of the crew separately. One of the station members recalled:

"I had just retired and I went down at once and asked who was there. I heard someone say 'Demand all arms', so I would not open the door but went to the watch-room telephone to report "raided" to the District Officer and to call the watchmen at the War Signal Station , but could get no reply because the wires were cut. I immediately shifted the confidential books, putting them under the table and covering them with signal pads, a succeeded in saving them intact. By then my back door was burst open. I went down and asked again who was there. Leading Boatman Thomas Hammond replied, 'Hammond, Sir, we can do nothing, there are too many of them covering me and will fire if you don’t open the door'."

"I thought it best to comply and was immediately ordered to put my hands up, and found myself covered by six revolvers. Their leader informed me to offer no resistance and they would burn nothing nor interfere with the women or children or private effects. I tried to impress on them that I had nothing of value to them, but they insisted on searching the house, storeroom, watch-room and WSS. They made me go to the WSS with them.

He goes on to add:

"On returning with them I found that they had left three men in each house guarding the men. Coast-guardsman Morgan was handcuffed but was released on orders of the leader who apologised for keeping them on him for so long. The leader then ordered everyone to remain in their houses, withdrew his men and informed me that he had taken steps to keep anyone from going to Ballycastle to report the raid. The four women and five children were very upset and frightened but were not interfered with in any way and the leader apologized for causing them inconvenience. He informed me they were soldiers of the Republican Army and their quarrel was with the Government. They seemed well informed as to what they would find at the Station, and several seemed to be men in good position by their talk and dress".

The raiders then made their escape by car. The station was abandoned later in the 1920s and has since fallen into a state of disrepair.

2. The Explore
Non-planned explore of a place we just came across. Free access to this place via a steep march up the rocky outcrop the station is situated. It's a relatively small place with a main building and separate toilet block, surrounded by a low, circular wall.
I could find no reference anywhere to its usage post-abandonment in the 1920s, but it must have had some role to place as an observation post during World War II supported by the addition of a concrete pillbox structure at the front end of the main building. Nothing spectacular from an architectural perspective but the views from up here are fantastic, allowing you to see Scotland out to sea with a reverse view over the ruined accommodation block on the landward side.

3. The Pictures

The first thing you see on your approach is the station's former accommodation block:

39688370403_57f58c334b_b.jpg img0349bw by HughieDW, on Flickr

39689552213_c78443f230_b.jpg Torr Head 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Up the hill to the station:

45738467045_9d0d3b7437_b.jpg img0347 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking back over the accommodation block:

39688500333_1b19046991_b.jpg img0327 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The toilet block:

45929171284_93d71e6f0e_b.jpg img0330 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The main building:

39689588033_3a0f696c8b_b.jpg Torr Head 05 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46654759521_d6c4b79464_b.jpg Torr Head 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

31713123097_1e9e499a55_b.jpg Torr Head 03 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The visitor's book:

45929862134_d3bfc7d1aa_b.jpg Torr Head 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Fire-places long gone…

32778881468_9234b23d90_b.jpg img0346 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Window-frames removed:

45928917174_9eb6cbdfa6_b.jpg img0342 by HughieDW, on Flickr

View out to sea:
31713147427_7fff4375fb_b.jpg Torr Head 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The pillbox addition:

45929114424_6176c37b55_b.jpg img0334 by HughieDW, on Flickr

39689415773_ff3e139043_b.jpg img0339 by HughieDW, on Flickr

46601276612_0520dc1d70_b.jpg img0338 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And the steps down the other side to the coast:

31712457957_e6a0ab16d7_b.jpg img0333 by HughieDW, on Flickr


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Aug 6, 2018
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Another great writeup Hughie. Visited this too after the RAF building. There was a great drawing of an Alien (from the movie of the same name) just inside the building on the headland which was pretty cool.