Balmacara gun emplacements

The remains of Balmacara Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) gun battery, or station, are located along the north edge of Loch Alsh. During World War 2, its purpose was to protect the military camp and port from air attack by German planes.

Located to the west, at Kyle of Lochalsh, there was another gun battery called B1, the sister station to Balmacara, which was known as B2. Together, they defended the skies.

Today only the concrete bases which held the guns in place survive to testify to the important role such stations held in the defence of Britain.

Two types of gun

First designed and used in World War I, there were two types of anti-aircraft guns. Light anti-aircraft guns were suited to track and hit fast low flying planes. German bomber planes, however, flew at great heights, over 10,000 feet. To reach these planes the British needed powerful guns.

Records state that the guns placed at the Balmacara battery were the three inch type of Heavy Anti-Aircraft artillery. This was the standard type of gun used during World War I and was only replaced well into World War 2. The least powerful type of HAA, it still had an effective ceiling of 23,000 feet, meaning it could shoot artillery shells to this height.

Visiting Balmacara

The exact location of Balmacara is grid reference NG 811 277.

For full access details see the Balmacara webpage.  At the site, the blue trail, waymarked with blue signs, will take you along the route that passes the WWII remains. The trail is graded moderate and passes onto National Trust for Scotland ground. It is 2 miles long and takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

All sites managed by Forestry Commission Scotland are open for you to explore. However, not all sites have paths or signage and some are a considerable distance from car parking. We recommend that visitors consult a detailed map and wear appropriate clothing.

Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and remember that historic sites should be treated with care and respect.