MHG30004 - Firing Range - Inverbrora


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Type and Period (1)

  • FIRING RANGE (Post Medieval - 1560 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The Rifle Range is situated on the edge of the Inverbrora Coastal Foreshore and lies about half a mile SE of Brora. This land is used for rough pasture. The site is clearly shown on the OS 2nd edition map and indicated on the 1973 edition map, scale 1:25,000. It is locally known as "The Targets". History of the Rifle Range - The Range itself dates back to the last quarter of the 19thc when the Volunteer Army (Militia) was formed. The Volunteer Company at Brora was founded in 1860. This early Range is thought to be in a slightly different location/orientation and the recovery of soft lead bullets from a nearby sand-dune shows that they must have been shooting from a position now eroded away into the sea. The present Rifle Range has been documented by R Wilson, local Brora resident who states that the original steel target plates, measured 5ft by 3ft, which were sold for scrap and thought to come from a war vessel. At this time the rifle used was the Martini Henry, of large calibre and a soft lead bullet. The T.A. (Territorial Army) replaced the Volunteers in 1908, who adopted the Lee Enfield rifle which was held at a greater range from the targets. The Stop Butt was built from excavated sand so that the elevating machinery could be installed at a safe low level. Th firing points extended from 100 to 1200 yards, the latter being just inside the Inverbrora Dkye at George Macbeth's Croft. Mr Wilson recalls, "in his youth", all the shooting was done at the 200 yd point, with a "Big Shoot" on New Year's Day. TARGETS - The targets consist of a wall made from the red Brora Brick, with two metal targets positioned 1.20m in front of it. The wall faces NE, directly towards the Stop Butt. The wall measures 1.92m high and 240mm thick. Behind the wall is a sandy bank covered in long grass. There is a concrete floor between the bottom of the wall and the targets, which is broken and uneven. The targets are made of metal and suffers from surface rust. They measure 2.04m in height and 320mm wide. They were used to display target plates, manouvered in place above the wall by a pulley system and a series of weights. The lower parts of the targets continue beneath the ground level. This long, thin trench is filled with rubbish and is badly overgrown.

1st ed OS map SUTH 1872
2nd ed OS map SUTH 106 1904

STOP BUTT - This feature has been made from excavated sand and measures 3.5m high and 14m long. It lies approx. 20ms from the 2 targets and was used to stop the bullets fired at the targets. Investigation of this area involved the careful removal of 2 spent bullets from a sandy scrape. These were identified by J Macrae, Tain Rifle Range Club as .303 Calibre Lee Enfield, post-1907 which were used by the T.A.

RANGE - 200 YARD POINT - This range is situated 200 yards SW of the targets. It is made from a built-up mound of earth with the remains of a shooting platform on the top, comprising wood and metal components. A trackway has been cut through this mound for access.

This Rifle Range is in quite good condition, despite its coastal location. High tides are just beginning to encroach onto the Stop Butt area, starting the process of erosion. These remains provide important information on the broader subject of the Volunteer Army in the Highlands and therefore deserve to be preserved.
Information supplied by J Aitken, NOSAS. 01/00.
See assoc. docs. File.

WWII firing range consisting of a large sand mound at E end, a red brick wall some 20 m to W with associated iron winch machinery for targets, and a level raised area to W of this. Would have presumably fired W-E into artificially mounded dune. <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NC 8980 0300 (100m by 100m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NC80SE
Geographical Area SUTHERLAND
Civil Parish CLYNE

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