Barnton Hidden Government Nuclear Bunker Video

A first look in video form of the Barnton nuclear bunker hidden deep underground just outside of Edinburgh.

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Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

This article will periodically be updated to show the hard work being undertaken by the restoration team so its worth bookmarking and checking every so often.

For years we have known about the secret bunker hidden under Corstorphine Hill which has been used and abused since it was decommissioned. A year or two ago we heard that an ambitious group had bought the site and were planning to restore it to exactly as it would have been when it was in full use. We’ve keenly followed the group on Facebook now for quite some time and watched on as they’ve chipped away at this immense task. Recently we were fortunate enough to venture inside the bunker to see the enormity of the task ahead.

Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

The site was chosen for the Operations Room for the Turnhouse Sector of RAF Fighter Command with an overground building constructed to house it. During the Cold War the massive underground bunker was created and became one of 14 Regional Seats of Goverment distributed around the country. The three storey structure was later decommissioned and lay derelict for decades. During the 1990s the bunker was subjected to a horrific fire which destroyed the majority of the interior leaving the bunker in the same state it can be found today.

Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

In 2005 a group linked with Scotland’s Secret Bunker in Anstruther took on the burden of restoring the place back to its former glory. Over the last few years the restoration team have cleared out a lot of the debri littered throughout the bunker as well as clearing the surrounding area with the help of numerous volunteers. They regularly advertise for any help through their Facebook page so its worth having a look at to see how you can get involved in helping out.

Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

On our visit to the bunker we were able to see the massive main hall which would once have been home to the huge maps used to coordinate the defense of the country. A huge metal structure now sits in the gap between the floors which was erected when the bunker was converted for use during the Cold War.

Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

As we always seem to end up saying, the bunker has been ransacked by thieves and vandals over the years meaning the majority of the custom built machine parts have long since been cashed in for a few quid. Some of the large items of machinery still remain but a lot of work and money will be needed to bring the place back to its former glory.

Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

We also popped into the former BBC Studio which was built into the bunker. Much of the soundproofing was still in place and unaffected by the fire which burned furiously in the floors above.

Barnton Quarry ROTOR Bunker

At this time the restoration team are unable to give private tours and are inundated for requests every day so they have asked if everyone can kindly refrain from asking as they are dedicating as much time as possible in restoring the site.

Barnton Quarry Bunker Restoration Project

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Taking Your First Steps

On a fairly mild day in February 2011 a group of friends ventured out to see for themselves a few unique locations in Scotland which were not quite your average tourist sites. Packed with basic camera equipment, wellies and what is now a long running private joke, the legendary green trousers they set off to find a few places which not too many people ever venture to. Places that have long been forgotten by society as a whole. Places that hold special memories, whether good or bad, for a lot of people. We never did expect to still be exploring three years on with over 100,000 people showing an interest in what we do.

Taking Your First Steps

For a long time before venturing out ourselves we each watched on as others explored strange and creepy buildings, taking spectacular photographs along the way. For ourselves we dived head first into what can be quite a mystical, even unreal world of derelict buildings without getting our feet wet. I personally remember being awestruck by some of the things people or businesses just left behind before forgetting about a place and moving on with their lives. We knew we wanted to see the abandoned buildings of Scotland for ourselves but where do you even begin when you have no idea where they actually are? As with pretty much everything in the modern world the answers were just a few keyboard strokes away.

Taking Your First Steps

Even with this knowledge how do you bring yourself to take the plunge and visit some of these amazing forgotten structures when all you think you will find will be neds or junkies looking to steal the shoes off your feet? Realistically there is never really any way you can know beforehand what lies in store for you. In the end it genuinely is just a case of taking a deep breath and stepping off the edge. Being prepared will always go a long way to helping you on the day though, so bringing along a life ring is always a good idea.

Taking Your First Steps

For anyone thinking “I could never do that” or “I’d be terrified” you should try to put aside any fears of the unknown you might have and just go for a wander one day. The very first time standing at a train tunnel staring into an abyss of darkness with three very cheap torches can very daunting I can tell you that for sure, but the rewards more than make up for the effort of overcoming your fears. You (should!) always learn from experience. We have since invested in a lot more powerful torches to help us along the way, although you still have to make an effort on occasions to deliberately not think about what could be sitting in the dark ahead of you, watching as you walk closer and closer. It doesn’t really help if you have an over active imagination and have watched a lot of scary films like myself. But after three years we are still here and can honestly say we have never had a bad experience whilst being out and about. We still know where to draw the line and it is certainly something that everyone else should as well.

Taking Your First Steps

I guess what I’m trying to say is that literally anyone can go and visit a lot of the places we have been and enjoy them for what they are just now. We all know that some of them will not be around for much longer so get your skates on and head out to see what our country has to offer. Memories are all we may have left of them in years to come and I am glad I can say I saw some of them for myself before they were gone forever. Whats stopping you from venturing out to see some of Scotland’s rich heritage?

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Neidpath Train Tunnel – Guest Article

Part of what makes exploring abandoned railway tunnels so interesting is that although each experience has similar elements, no two adventures are the same. It could be said that the Neidpath Tunnel, which lies to the west of Peebles is perhaps lacking in the wealth of features you’d find in a tunnel like Union Street in Greenock or the interesting stories with regards to it’s construction such as Sandsend Tunnel on the Yorkshire coast but if you venture underneath the Borders, you’ll be treated to a tunnel which more than makes up for that by providing a slightly drippy but altogether worthwhile experience. There’s even some intrigue with regards to the mystery chamber that’s located at the 200 yard mark…

What surprised me the most about the Neidpath Tunnel is that despite literally lying at the back of a park on the edge of Peebles, the tunnel is not full of the usual graffiti you’d normally come across in a place like this. The whole thing is surprisingly clean, bar one small section which I’ll come back to further into the article. I once met a local lad who was fishing from the banks of River Tweed, which the railway line crosses immediately west of the tunnel and he said that most of the locals and himself never use the tunnel, instead preferring to take the woodland paths over the hills. Clearly the idea of walking into the dark unknown isn’t what most people would consider an enjoyable experience. With that said, it’s a fairly benign tunnel, as far as tunnels go.

Neidpath Train Tunnel

The tunnel’s most striking feature is the shape of the bore. Instead of the more conventional arch and straight side walls that most tunnels adopt, the surrounding geology of South Park Hill determined that the Neidpath Tunnel takes on this glorious horseshoe profile. Interestingly, the tunnel has no refuges and the only point that would provide shelter from an approaching train lies within a small chamber which you can see the entrance to in the photo above.

Neidpath Train Tunnel

I recently discovered that the chamber was most likely part of a shaft/adit system, which would have allowed spoil to be removed from the tunnel during construction with relative ease. The 200 yard mark (near to the eastern curve) is significant because it’s the point in which the tunnel lies closest to the River Tweed, making it the perfect place to sink a construction shaft, complemented by the side gallery. Today, the side gallery has been blocked off and the shaft sealed but a small part of the gallery remains, which was presumably used as a worker’s bothy during times of maintenance after the tunnel opened to rail traffic.

In modern times, the gallery has hosted something slightly more sultry. If you have a look inside the chamber now, you’ll be treated to the sight of used condoms and tea light candles, which makes this the tunnel of love. I can’t imagine this would be the most comfortable place to have sex. I have to crouch when I’m in here and the rocks that line the chamber are rather sharp. If you’re desperate to get your hole within a hole then perhaps the tunnel of lust is might be considered a more appropriate title?

Neidpath Train Tunnel

Since the tunnel lies so close to a population centre and plenty of public footpaths, a lot of people will accidentally stumble upon the somewhat imposing portals and be treated to a view which will consist of darkness. The tunnel is only 600 yards long but thanks to a tight, 150 yard curve at the eastern end, very little light makes it into the centre. On more than one occasion, I’ve been inside witnessing people looking in and deciding whether or not they want to chance it. Both times, said group departed and made for the forest trails. Either that or they caught a glimpse of us waving torches around in a seizure inducing manner (taking photographs, I assure you) and decided to avoid us.

Neidpath Train Tunnel

Photographing the Neidpath Tunnel is quite tricky, the narrow bore and tight curve block off almost any light that dares to enter the tunnel. I know a few people have commented on the fact that this one really does gobble up whatever light you introduce when light painting the tunnel. My torch of choice normally brings out plenty of foreground detail but I normally find I get little in the way of depth. As such, the photo above demonstrates a different light painting technique to my normal method. In this case, I did my initial light paint (the one where I dance around, looking like an idiot in an attempt to fill the foreground with as much light as possible), then I go for a walk, swinging the torch as I go. The result being that you can see right the way through the bore and partially around the curve. This kind of photo hopefully provides a better feel for how long the tunnel actually is.

As I mentioned earlier, there are no great stories linked with the Neidpath Tunnel, it opened in 1864 and the railway closed 90 years after that. The tunnel’s greatest claim to fame is that during World War II, the tunnel provided a refuge for the Royal Train. However, I’m not too sure if that’s the case as you need to consider that the railway was only single track and any train hiding within it’s gloomy portals would effectively block the line. However, the Neidpath Tunnel is an excellent piece of engineering and ranks amongst the best when it comes to Scotland’s abandoned railway infrastructure.

K-Burn is an amateur photographer, based in Fife who has a keen interest in exploring and photographing abandoned railway infrastructure, namely the numerous viaducts and tunnels that grace the landscape. Starting in 2009 and progressing from there, his photos also study the Scottish landscape, often focussing on waterfalls, bridges and night photography. You can view his photos on Flickr.

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Glenfarg Railway Tunnels – Guest Article

2009 was the first year I found myself with genuine free time. A mixture of university and working weekend shifts had occupied all my time prior and because of that, I found it hard to find time to pursue any personal interests. My flatmate at the time said something to me one day in early 2009 which has stuck by me ever since “you have a day off, you can do whatever you want and go where-ever you want”. As such, I started going for long walks around the local area, discovering paths, roads and sights I’d never seen before. It also became apparent that former railway lines made for great walks due to their flat nature and the increased chance of bridges cropping up en-route.

Around September of that year, I went through to Abernethy in order to investigate some of the paths around there. The morning walk was enjoyable enough and involved a healthy hill climb but the real eye opener came from the walk we did in the afternoon. I’ve always had a keen interest in cartography and something around the Glenfarg area always grabbed my attention. There were two tunnels, about half a mile apart marked on the map so we decided to check them out.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

Armed with nothing but a camcorder and a sense of adventure, we approached Glenfarg South Tunnel. I was fully expecting them to be blocked off but it came as a surprise to learn that we could just walk in and experience a walk unlike any other I’d been on before. Sure, short tunnels had appeared on walks before this, usually in the form of underpasses and I’ve had an interest in them ever since I was a child (every time we went down south to visit family, I pestered my parents to go via the Tyne Tunnel instead of the A1) but this was the first time I’d been into something so substantial, so cavernous and yet so inviting. We intrepidly negotiated this large, dark space with no torches (we didn’t really plan this trip very well), keeping an eye towards the vague light we could see intruding from the northern portal and before long, we’d made it to the other side.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

Half a mile later, we caught a glimpse of the southern portal of the northern tunnel. There’s very little difference in the length of the two tunnels, the southern tunnel is 517 yards in length whilst the northern tunnel is 507 yards long. However, they both have very different characteristics. Compared to most tunnels of it’s length, Glenfarg South Tunnel is very bright on the inside, this is caused by the size of the bore, factored in with it having hardly any approach cutting. This means that during the afternoon, the low sun will penetrate quite far inside, making it just about negotiable without a torch. The northern tunnel follows a constant curve so it becomes almost pitch black in the middle. Somehow, we managed to walk from one end of the northern tunnel to the other without too much difficulty but it does become a real strain on the eye as they’re fighting to pick out even the tiniest bit of light to work with but ultimately, there’s nothing to go on.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

The first trip, despite it’s haphazard and poorly planned nature was such an amazing experience that I’ve been back time and time again to photograph and just appreciate the tunnels for what they are. Since 2009, I’ve come to learn almost everything there is to know about the Glenfarg tunnels so whilst I don’t want to cause anyone to fall asleep, I’m going to convey a few facts about them before showing off a few photographs.

1890 saw the opening of Scotland’s finest and most iconic piece of civil engineering. I don’t have to tell you how great the Forth Bridge is but it’s existence would be somewhat pointless if there was nowhere for the trains to go once they crossed over to Fife, as such, 1890 also saw the opening of the Glenfarg Line, which over it’s short length involved the construction of the two aforementioned tunnels and two viaducts. In order to tackle the steep ascent from Perth, the line climbs at a steady 1:74 until it reached the summit of the route at Glenfarg village. The tunnels were also pioneering for their time as they were amongst the first to adopt a concrete lining, foregoing the traditional use of masonry or brick. With that said, there is a bit a mishmash of lining materials present in Glenfarg North. It’s as if they couldn’t settle on a lining material.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

After the tunnels opened, the Board of Trade inspector demanded that holes be cut into the lining so he could properly examine it. You can still see the inspection holes today but the concrete lining was declared “infinitely better than brickwork”. Thanks to this, concrete railway structures can be found all across Scotland’s more modern railways. The iconic and landscape defining Glenfinnan Viaduct is almost entirely made from concrete as a result of it’s success in Glenfarg.

The Glenfarg Line provided the most direct route between Edinburgh and Perth, which allowed the line to avoid the infamous Beeching cuts. However, the line succumbed to closure in 1970 due to large sections of the trackbed being required for the M90.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

This photo shows the straight section of Glenfarg South Tunnel under ambient light. It’s one of the few tunnels I can photograph without needing to light paint the bore with the torch. You can also see a little light coming in from the northern portal, which lies around a short curve. This tunnel is just about negotiable without a torch but there’s a lot of junk on the ground so don’t be as unprepared as we were on our first trip and bring one along with you. You can appreciate more of the features of the tunnel if you can see them properly as well.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

Here’s a photo of the view you’ll be treated to when you first step into the southern end of Glenfarg North. As you can see, there’s a real tapestry of colourful chaos when it comes to the lining materials present. If you know where to look, there are a couple of glow in the dark skeletons hanging off cable hooks, just waiting to jump out at you in the darkness.
Glenfarg Railway Tunnels

Finally, here’s a panorama taken from the centre of Glenfarg North, with light from both portals just about visible. There are 11 component photos here, all of which had to be light painted. Thankfully, Photoshop was good enough to merge them into one for me. Still, this photo stands as one of the most involved I’ve ever taken. It was worth it, though.

I often found myself revisiting Glenfarg between 2009 and the present day but after a trip in 2012, I thought there must be more of these around and as such, I started taking longer and more exciting trips into the World of abandoned railway tunnel exploration.

K-Burn is an amateur photographer, based in Fife who has a keen interest in exploring and photographing abandoned railway infrastructure, namely the numerous viaducts and tunnels that grace the landscape. Starting in 2009 and progressing from there, his photos also study the Scottish landscape, often focussing on waterfalls, bridges and night photography. You can view his photos on Flickr.

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Seabank Tank Farm – Guest Article – Abandoned Scotland

Seabank Tank Farm, was personally for me, one of the most interesting sites I have ever had the luck to explore. It was built shortly after World War One as part of the Naval Depot that the town of Invergordon had become.

Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland

The site was used extensively during the Second World War but was only once targeted by a lone Junkers 88.

Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland

The tank farm was mainly used for storing oil but some were used for storing drinking water. It was in use until 1956 when it was decommissioned.

Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland

Despite it being located right in the middle of a small town, the tank farm was surprisingly well preserved. The tanks are all still surviving along with the vast quantities of signage. There was also pleasantly little evidence of scrap thieves. Even inside the boiler room the buttons, leavers and dials were all, in the main, intact which resulted in a happy explorer.

Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland
Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland

The most interesting part of the tank farm site, hands down, had to be gaining access to one of the tanks themselves. After much contortion we managed to slide in. The sheer size of those things were simply incredible, not to mention the great acoustics!

Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland
Seabank Tank Farm - Abandoned Scotland

Article by Urban Exploration UK
“A group exploring the derelict sites of the UK”.
Urban Exploration UK on Facebook

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Royal Alexandra Infirmary

Our first explore of 2014 saw us visit Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Infirmary in Renfrewshire. The Royal Alexandra Infirmary, or as it was more commonly known the RAI, has existed in some shape or form since the 1700s. It originally provided out-patient and pharmacy services and later became a full infirmary around 1850. In 1900 the site of the infirmary was moved and a new building was erected, which is what remains today.

Royal Alexandra Infirmary

Part of the current site was redeveloped into modern flats including some of the main building however was never completed. It has been subjected to vandals and metal thieves since work stopped and the building is now in a fairly sorry state, however to the untrained eye it does look structurally sound.

Royal Alexandra Infirmary

In 1986 a new hospital, the Royal Alexandra Hospital, was built close by resulting in the closure of the infirmary. Part of the building remained in use as a nursing home until that closed around 2008.

Royal Alexandra Infirmary

It has been sad to watch the slow decline of the building thanks in part to people who wish to make a quick bit of cash and the local neds who insist on vandalising what is left.

Royal Alexandra Infirmary

As can be seen from our photographs there is not much of interest left within the Royal Alexandra Infirmary, with the majority of the small rooms stripped of anything of value. We did come across one part of the building which we did not expect to and that was a small church/chapel which still remained in good condition. Part of the tiled floor was just visible through the dirt and grime which has built up in recent years.

Royal Alexandra Infirmary

Make sure to favourite the website with new posts of our explores due on a regular basis.

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Drawing The Line

Knowing when to draw the line is probably one of the most important aspects of exploring abandoned buildings you should consider in every place you find yourself. Is it really worth taking just one more photograph or video, even if you know it will be something that will amaze your fan base, if that means taking a massive unnecessary risk? Knowing whats ahead of you and that it won’t be around for much longer is a huge driving force to take that photograph, but should you take the chance?

We found ourselves in this exact situation recently.

It was like any other day fit for exploring when we set out with a specific place in mind. A place which we had visited two years before but never quite came away with as much material as we wanted to. At that time it was down to sheer nerves. Being by yourself on an explore is never a good idea. Whats even worse is being in an abandoned building where it’s structural integrity is questionable even to someone who hasn’t the faintest clue about the subject. Top that off with not having told anyone where you are going or when you’ll be back is pretty much a complete reciept for disaster. So we ventured back as a team in the hope that we could get the shots we wanted to.

On first glance at the building from the outside it is the epiphany of what an abandoned building looks like. All of the ground level doors and windows are covered by thick pieces of wood, anything of value that was attached to the building has long been removed and everything above ground level has been left to rot and decay over time. The first floor windows did not receive the same attention as its ground floor compatriots with the original wooden coverings either hanging from hinges or removed completely. On our first visit the majority of these were in place, giving the building some sort of protection against the harsh Scottish elements, however little that may be. We took our time and found an entrance, which by the looks of it, many people had used before.

Upon venturing inside we were immediately hit with the realisation that the building is in a far worse state than our previous visit. Looking up we can see almost to the roof of the building. The remains of the two floors which should have been in between hand from the walls and are under our feet. This moment was the first time we considered what we were doing but having been here before we talked each other into going in a bit further as “I’m sure it will be fine!“.

We ventured into the main hall on the ground floor knowing that we wanted to be in the exact same place except a floor above. We could see our goal through the rotting floor boards above us, some of them gaping holes, others just the beginnings of where the floor will eventually collapse. At one end the floor has collapsed completely as a result of water ingress from the failing roof above. Even the ground floor below our feet has rotting floor boards and massive holes. I think this was the second reality check for us but once again we continued on in the hope of capturing that perfect photograph.

Next we were faced with a series of climbs to reach the first floor as all of the staircases have long since collapsed. Another kind hint as to the nature of this particular abandoned building. We reached the top of the first easy climb without any issues whatsoever and found ourselves standing on jousts so we didn’t take the quick route back downstairs. The final climb is somewhat different to the first one, although is significantly shorter. It is, however, balanced in the corner of the room over which the floor has already collapsed and looks to be ready to go at any point. Half way up this part came the moment we knew we had to draw the line. What were we doing? Climbing up an antique wooden ladder in a building which is literally falling apart around us and is due for demolition in the near future. What waited for us above was a grand sight, one which you do not get to see very often at all, especially when exploring abandoned buildings. But equally we had to consider the fact that the floor we would be standing on was the same one we could see from below which looked ready to fall at any point. You should never be able to see the floor from below but so much has been stripped away by metal thieves and due to time taking its toll on a once fantastic building you can clearly see how it was made. Was it really worth that last push? We decided, no. Are we fearless explorers of abandoned buildings willing to take any risk to bring back just one more photo and video to show to the masses? No. Are we still here to this day, in one piece without ever having hurt ourselves? Yes. Being in these buildings is risky enough considering the state which some of them find themselves in after years of neglect, taking that extra step when you’ve already taken several you shouldn’t have isn’t always worth it. And to hammer the point home I was then shat upon by one of the buildings many current residents. Thank you for that!

Whilst others who know the building and have ventured beyond our cut off point may have many derogatory terms to call us we still came home safe and sound at the end of the day. Others in future may not be so lucky. Know your limits and never take unnecessary risks.

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100K Treasure Hunt

Look out your boots or wellies.
Find your hat and scarf.
Zip up your waterproof jacket.
Its time for a treasure hunt!

We are fast approaching the 100,000 followers on Facebook and should hit the milestone before the weekend and so to mark this occasion we are having a treasure hunt which everyone can take part in! We have hidden four parcels in four of our favourite abandoned locations in Scotland and we want you to find them. For the meantime you will have to sit tight as no clues will be given to there whereabouts until Saturday 7th December. Over the weekend we will release clues to their locations and the first people to find them get to keep the contents.

So that everyone stays safe we haven’t hidden the packages within any building or structure itself as we wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to our fans, but you will still have to find it hidden somewhere around the exteriors. Just to be clear we are not encouraging anyone to enter any abandoned building however we do want people to go out and see these places for themselves. They can be appreciated just as much from the outside as they can be from the inside. Plus we wouldn’t want anyone getting in trouble! You won’t need your climbing ropes either so you can leave them at home and remember to leave everything as it is. We don’t want these buildings made even worse.

So why not take a break from all the Christmas shopping in the run up to Christmas and go for a wander to see some of our amazing abandoned buildings!

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Buchanan Castle

Buchanan Castle is more of an early Scots baronial house than your typical Scottish castle and was built between 1852 and 1858. The castle briefly saw service as a hospital during World War II, and a hotel prior to that in 1925.

The roof of the castle was removed in 1954 to avoid paying tax on the building which inevitably started the destruction of this once beautiful building. Now all that remains of the castle are its walls which are slowly being reclaimed by nature.

Buchanan Castle Corridor

 

The remains of numerous fireplaces are still prevalent throughout the castle although little is left to show their former grandeur.

Colour of Buchanan Castle

 

One of the most intact parts, if you could stretch that far, is the basement of the castle which hasn’t seen the same ingress of nature that other parts have. This will be down to the lack of light that it receives, but it does leave a few corridors free of clutter.

Buchanan Castle Basement

 

The majority of the floors above ground level have long since disappeared however the odd one or two still precariously remain for those of you brave enough to walk them.

Buchanan Castle Fallen Floors

 

There is one fireplace which has been left behind within the castle and is easily one of the most spectacular. Standing over 6 foot in height it now gathers the fallen plaster of the walls surrounding it.

Buchanan Castle Fireplace {Explored}

 

One of the most interesting stories about the castle is that Rudolph Hess was supposed to have been treated there after crashing onto the Eaglesham Moor on his peace journey during World War II.

Buchanan Castle Lath & Plaster

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