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Photos by Bill Wright Page last updated: 2020-02-01
Braemar Aberdeenshire
NGR: NO108907 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv) Site Height: 560m      Structure Height: 17.0m
Digital TV: BBC A: 45 D3&4: 42 BBC B: 39
BBC Radio:
Ind. National Radio:
Ind. Local Radio:
Digital Radio:
Comments: Braemar is a relay of Durris. Pre B700 allocations: 45/42/49.

Most of the sites in this part of Scotland have been "done" by mb21 contributors, so I wondered why this one hadn't. Past experience has told me that such ignored sites are difficult to access. In this case a track leads to the NGR location, but it goes up hill and down dale and would be a long, featureless, boring walk. What's more, the NGR suggests a site well below the summit of the hill, whilst the view from the other side of the glen shows two masts near the summit (indicated by arrows).

The starting point seemed to be the road visible in the picture just above the flat glen bottom. To get to that road theoretically needed a long drive along terrible roads right to the end of the glen and back. However close examination of the OS map showed a private estate that spanned the glen, with gates on both sides. The sign was obstructed by foliage so we were unable to see the words "Private property - KEEP OUT". Passing timorously in our seven ton vehicle across a rusty iron bridge -- which had an arch bearing the words "Queen Victoria 1845" -- we were soon on the road near to the tx site.

I set off up the hill. There was a good path for a little way, but it soon joined a track that ran along the contours, which was no help. I set off across the heather and came to another track, but was soon bothered by the sound of vevuzelas. This became very loud and then I came upon a large group of crudely constructed plinths, each bearing a large stone. At first I thought it was a manifestation of a whacky local religion (something to do with St Peter?) but then I realised I was looking at beehives. Just as I was pressing the shutter the bees swarmed all over me. I was wearing a dark blue top. I ran like buggery for about 50 yards trying to drive off the bees by the use of loud profanities. This was ineffective and the whole thing was quite scary, but eventually the bees lost interest.

It was very hard plodding though the heather, so I turned towards the tree line and eventually was under the tree canopy. The plan was to walk up the edge of the tree line on the rocks and grass until I met the electricity line that must surely lead me to the tx site.

03. When I came across this I thought at first that the crows must have dropped twigs in a very neat manner. I"d already noticed that there were ants absolutely everywhere, and then I realised that I was looking at a huge anthill. The whole area was absolutely alive with ants, and every footfall seemed like genocide. There was another similar anthill nearby. The whole area had a marvellous atmosphere of remoteness. It was a good experience just to be there.

As I followed the tree line the climb became harder and I was faced with cliffs, so I headed out across the heather towards an electricity pole. Soon I was climbing rather than walking, pulling myself up on the heather. Eventually I came to a pole with a transformer, so I knew I must be getting close to the target. I went into the wooded area again, just heading uphill, then suddenly I was there! Phew!

04. There are two masts, about 150 yards apart. One is for RBL reception; the other for transmission. The RBL mast is on the right in this photograph, which was made by joining five wide angle shots. The mystery is, why are the RBL and TX aerials at different locations? I wonder if there was a hasty last minute rethink, caused by RBL problems. The end of the track (as shown on the 1:25,000 OS map but not on the 1:50,000) is, I think, at the quoted NGR, but both masts are further up the hill. The RBL mast is on higher ground than the TX mast, and in fact would seem to offer a better site for transmission, being higher and further north. The southern part of the town is slightly screened from both sites, but the RBL one appears to have a slightly better view of the town.

This is the RBL array that receives from Durris. It seems very elaborate, but must be effective because the results are good, the output from the Tx being very clean. (This was written a few weeks before analogue switch off). The RBL mast is inconveniently at the other side of the deer fence to the transmission mast, so a crossing has had to be provided.

These pictures show the transmission mast. The footpath runs about 150 yards down to the end of the track. Along the side of the footpath there are signs of occasional 4x4 access.

Evidence of recent work.

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