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Ness Battery, coast defence battery, Stromness

A Scheduled Monument in Stromness and South Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.9528 / 58°57'9"N

Longitude: -3.3078 / 3°18'27"W

OS Eastings: 324863

OS Northings: 1008019

OS Grid: HY248080

Mapcode National: GBR L562.7HH

Mapcode Global: WH6B1.574K

Entry Name: Ness Battery, coast defence battery, Stromness

Scheduled Date: 25 October 2001

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM8241

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: 20th Century Military and Related: Battery; Secular: military accommodation (prefabricated)

Location: Stromness

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Traditional County: Orkney


The monument comprises the remains of a coastal battery of the Second World War, replacing one from the time of the First.

At the beginning of the First World War the western approaches to Stromness and Scapa Flow through Hoy Sound were unprotected. In September 1914 the Navy therefore landed and installed on temporary mountings two 12-pounder quick firing guns at the site now known as Ness Battery, later adding another two at Point of Ness. In 1915, these two batteries were re-armed with 5" and 6" guns produced by the Bethlehem Steel Co. of America, and a third battery was added on higher ground to the NW.

At the end of the War all three batteries were closed and their armament scrapped. Remains of one of the concrete gun emplacements at Ness Battery survives, just in front of the Second World War emplacements.

The Second World War battery was built in 1938 and was operational before the outbreak of hostilities. Its specific role was that of close defence of the western approach to Scapa Flow and support of the examination service. Its armament consisted of two 6" breech-loading (BL) Mk7 guns on central pivot mountings, supported by two 90cm searchlights, underground magazines, an observation post, a fire command post, an engine room and other brick and concrete structures.

The camp was situated immediately next to it. The battery was manned by the 141 Coast Battery until 1945, when it was placed in care and maintenance. It was re-activated for training purposes in 1950, and dismantled in 1956. Despite the dismantling, most of the immovable structures of the battery remain, including a number of the timber camp huts.

The area to be scheduled includes the monument as described above, representing an irregular area situated within the boundary fence and measuring a maximum of 250m N-S by 180m E-W, as marked in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes a modern helipad and associated portacabin used by the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it represents a well-built and well-preserved example of a 1930s coastal battery with a number of its timber accommodation buildings still surviving. Its importance is enhanced by the fact that it includes remains of an earlier battery of 1914-18 and formed part of a defensive system for Scapa Flow, other elements of which also survive.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as HY 20 NW 27.


Dorman, J. (1914-1956) Orkney Coast Batteries London, 27-8.

Guy, J. (1992-1993) Orkney, The World War One and Two Defences of Orkney. A survey by John A. Guy. Unpublished report for Historic Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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