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Photos by Bill Wright

Killin Stirling
NGR: NN602314 Maps: Google  Bing (Ord Surv) Site Height: 400m Structure Height: 35m
Digital TV: BBC A: 39 D3&4: 42 BBC B: 45
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Comments: Killin is a relay of Angus (via Kenmore)

Killin is a village at the western end of Loch Tay in the Scottish Highlands. Last year I wanted to photograph the Killin transmitter, but the weather was dreadful so it was out of the question.

This year the day started very wet and windy, but it picked up a bit towards lunchtime, so I set out along the steep road that goes nearest to the transmitter. The OS shows an unmetalled track running from the road to the site. The distance was only about a mile but there were 27 contour lines crossing the road. I didn’t fancy hiking up there, so I was very pleased to find that the track was not gated, and that it was in fact newly surfaced. My old bus chugged up and up the steep and narrow jet-black strip of pristine asphalt, between endless rows of fir trees. There were no passing places so it’s lucky we didn’t meet NGW or ntl! I made a mental note to calculate the amount of diesel needed to lift a 7½ ton vehicle through 27 contour lines and send the bill to mb21!

A weak and watery sun came out just as we emerged above the tree line, so I grabbed the camera and staggered up the steep banking towards the transmitter. It was a revelation climbing above the tree level. Loch Tay and the village lay below a skyline of snow-topped peaks.

I took a few photographs then climbed up behind the mast to get a shot with the mountains in the background, and the sun very kindly stayed out whilst I did this.

As I stood there gasping for breath I looked to the east and saw a wall of grey nothingness approaching fast down the glen.

I set off down but I was much too late, and this wasn’t ordinary English wet rain – this was rock-hard Scottish rain that stung the ears and threatened to dent the camera! With hailstones the size of peas tattooing down in the bright sunshine I fled, but at the van it was just ordinary rain, so I got no sympathy. Still, the pictures were in the bag (or on the card) and that was all that mattered.

I don’t know why there are two horizontally polarised UHF yagis looking west and a vertical log-periodic looking east-north-east. Maybe someone else can figure it out...

James Muir immediately wrote in with the following:

I remember the Killin site being commissioned around 1980 and I recollect that there were protracted "engineering problems" at that time with the quality of the incoming programme feed.

You correctly state that Killin is a relay of Angus, however Killin is actually fed from Angus indirectly via Kenmore at the other end of Loch Tay. Kenmore has line-of-sight ENE of the Killin site, hence the vertical log periodic antenna pointing in that direction. However, going back to my comment about the initial engineering problems, I believe that the main programme feed to Killin was eventually installed as a microwave link from Kenmore due to the fact that the rebroadcast link suffered from excessive fading over the long Loch Tay path (and due to the fact that Torosay couldn't be used for the main feed either - see below). The photos of the Killin mast on your site clearly show a typical microwave link dish pointing in the direction of Kenmore. Also, I assume that the vertical log periodic antenna is used for a standby programme feed in situations where the microwave link is down?

Debate went on for some weeks after these photos were first published, about the pupose of the horizontal yagis on the Killin tower.

The correct answer can now be revealed:

Re the mystery yagi antennas pointing to the NW, this is a separate feed of a portion of combined transmitter power to the Crianlarich self-help system.

Thanks to Tony Docherty for this information.

Angus | Kenmore | Torosay

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