MHG8556 - Coastal Batteries - North Sutor


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Type and Period (1)

  • BATTERY (Modern - 1901 AD to 2100 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

There are two groups of buildings at the edge of the cliff, deeply set in concrete which held various calibres of guns. The site was used both in the First and Second World Wars.
Information from RCAHMS (DE) September 1994.

A survey of Scotland's 20th century defences was commision by Historic Scotland and undertaken by J A Guy. At North Sutor a Coast Battert (9.2 and later 6 inch), Radar Observation Post, Coast Battery (4 inch) and Counter Bombardment Battery Observation Post were recorded. <1>
See Associated Documents and associated child records for extensive details.
A M Fox, Highland Council, 10.10.01.

This WWI and WWII coast battery encompasses several elements; gun-emplacements, WWI and II Battery Observation posts, searchlight platforms, a Radar Observation post, a WWI 4-inch gun quick firing (QF) battery with searchlights and a WWII Counter Bombardment Observation Post. All are situated on a level area to the S of Castlecraig Farmsteading. In addition, four Unrotating Projectile (UP) mountings were noted to the SW on the date of visit with several surviving elements of the accommodation camp including the electricity generating house (standby-set house), many concrete hut bases and the remains of two defensive pillboxes. Several of the buildings retain a camouflage pattern and there is evidence of the phasing in one of the emplacements. The canopies of both WWII emplacements have been supported by brick built pillars and the front apron has been camouflaged by setting stones in concrete. Metal gun stops still survive on the apron. Known locally as the 'Norwegian Battery'. During WWI it was provided with two former ship mounted 9.2-inch guns which were manned by the Royal Navy. This battery was abandoned during the inter-war period, but at the beginning of WWII was re-armed. The WW II battery re-used the earlier magazine, which was situated below WWI emplacements and a shell hoist was installed in the 9.2-inch barbette. Two 6-inch Mk VII guns were installed during 1940 in newly constructed emplacements and these were replaced in April 1943 by two 6-inch Mk XXIV guns. After the end of the Second World War, the battery placed on a care and maintenance basis and the guns were finally removed during November 1956. The full extent of the main batteries (omitting the WW I 4-inch QF) is visible on RAF vertical air photographs (106G/UK751, 6038-6040, flown 31 August 1945). Which also shows the UP positions.
Visited by RCAHMS (DE, GS, SW), August 2000

Several lengths of the original perimeter fence still surmounted by barbed wire survive on the N and E of the site.
Visited by RCAHMS, (DE) May 2002.

The anti-invasion defences of Cromarty, including at North Sutor were noted in HS and RCAHMS World War One Audit Project. <2>

Plans were drawn up in 1913 for the construction of coast defences on the North Sutor to protect the fleet anchorage in the Cromarty Firth. The main armament on the North Sutor was a pair of 9.2-inch guns (MHG35176), the calibre of coast guns intended to tackle the largest size of enemy warship that might attack. There was also a battery of four 4-inch Quick Firing guns (MHG335178), intended to tackle smaller, faster-moving enemy boats, such as destroyers or fast motor boats. The defences at Cromarty were unusual in being manned by Royal Navy personnel, rather than Royal Artillerymen. The gun emplacements on the North Sutor were constructed in 1913. In a unique case the batteries at the South and North Sutors were built not by the army, but by the admiralty and manned by the Royal Marines. As a result the batteries have a very different design to those at other coast batteries in the UK. There are two First World War batteries on the North Sutor and two on the South Sutor numbered 1-4 on the construction plans (The National Archive WO 78/5192). The main site on the North Sutor (site no.1) comprised two 9.2-inch guns. The second battery (site No. 2) was for four 4-inch quick firing (QF) guns. Each battery had its own accommodation, power houses, searchlights and cook house. The 4-inch QF battery (site no. 2) was not re-used in the Second World War, although a small brick building, possibly of Second World War date may suggest some activity here. The Battery was protected on the landward side in both the First and Second World Wars. In the First World War a system of trenches and barbed wire stretched across the hill south of Wester Rarichie to Ankerville House. In the Second World War 1945 vertical air photographs (106G/UK/751, 6035-7, flown 31 August 1945) show a system of barbed wire fences and firing positions enclosing the battery. The battery was then abandoned but was rebuilt in advance of the Second World War. Two 6-inch guns were installed in new emplacements but reused the existing magazines (MHG35180). The camp site was rebuilt and enlarged.
Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 26 July 2013.

GIS spatial data copied from data supplied by AKK from the RCAHMS World War One Survey Project. <3>

The camps, batteries and associated buildings and features were scheduled by Historic Environment Scotland with effect from 26/03/2019. <4>

Sources/Archives (5)



Grid reference Centred NH 8171 6884 (1192m by 373m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH86NW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish NIGG

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