Ancient Monuments

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Swarbacks Head,gun emplacements

A Scheduled Monument in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.3402 / 60°20'24"N

Longitude: -1.4754 / 1°28'31"W

OS Eastings: 429061

OS Northings: 1161915

OS Grid: HU290619

Mapcode National: GBR Q1QD.LPW

Mapcode Global: XHD29.5CVC

Entry Name: Swarbacks Head,gun emplacements

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1992

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5371

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Battery

Location: Sandsting

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Traditional County: Shetland


The monument consists of two guns with their emplacements and magazines, together with a command post, all dating to the First World War.

The two 6-inch naval guns on Swarbacks Head were landed from HMS Gibraltar in 1918 to protect the entrance to the deep water anchorage of Swarbacks Minn, which was used as a forward anchorage by cruiser squadrons. The guns survive in excellent condition, with their protective shields intact. They are set within individual circular concrete emplacements, each provided with two ready use lockers. Adjacent to each emplacement is a sunken concrete magazine. On the highest point of the headland, some 100m E of the guns, is a stone- built observation post, circular in plan, with a concrete roof.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular oval, with a maximum length of 250m ESE-WNW by a maximum of 60m N-S, to iclude the guns in their emplacements, their respective magazines and the observation post, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a very rare survival, a First World War coastal defence battery with its original guns in situ. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the good preservation of all main elements of the battery. Its location in this remote site, followed by its subsequent survival largely by virtue of its remoteness, serve to illustrate the contrast between the vital strategic role played by Shetland during both World Wars and its intervening and subsequent relative isolation.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HU26SE 4.1.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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