Tuesday, 22 November 2011

ANSTRUTHER

One does not expect to find a grim reminder of the Cold War near an attractive Scottish seaside town, but that is exactly what awaits visitors to Anstruther. For over 40 years, a large bunker lay hidden underneath an assuming farmhouse 3 miles north of the town, its existence a closely held secret. Scotland's Secret Bunker is now on display as what must be one of the country's most unusual tourist attractions. Reached by a tunnel, the bunker covers an area of 24,000 square feet on two levels 100 feet underground. In the event of a nuclear alert, the bunker was designed to house senior ministers and military commanders. Visitors can view the dormitories, the command centres, and the equipment which was installed in order to facilitate some sort of continuation of governmental and military control in the event of an attack. There was even a studio installed for BBC staff to issue emergency announcements to the panic-stricken public.

Back in Anstruther itself, another museum, the Scottish Fisheries Museum, is housed in a handsome whitewashed building by the harbourside. The museum includes a large number of historic boats and a variety of buildings as well as a historic boatyard. The town is a delight to wander round, with a maze of narrow alleys and wynds (narrow paths). Although fishing has now largely given way to tourism, it is still possible to take sea angling trips. Another popular outing from the town is a boat-trip to the Isle of May, whose vast numbers of seabirds include the much-loved puffin, in fact this is one of the best places in the country to view these comical birds. The island also has the largest colony of grey seals on the east coast of Britain. The Scottish Seabird Centre has a webcam on its website so that wildlife enthusiasts can view the seals from the comfort of their living rooms.

Map of the area.

'Anstruther Fife' photo (c) 2008, SeaDave - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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