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The Invergordon Archive

Cromarty Firth looking east
The Invergordon Archive
Cromarty Firth looking east

In the foreground is Highland Deephaven and the former site of RAF Evanton and, before that, Novar Airfield, can be seen. Of course, in the days of Novar Airfield and later, RAF Evanton, the A9 trunk road, very evident running middle left to bottom right, didn’t exist.

Further east, on the north shore, is Alness Point, and the long ‘American Pier’ can be seen. The next point further east is, of course, Invergordon. Beyond Invergordon you can just make out, in the ’Large Version', the 1km-long Saltburn Pier. Opposite Invergordon, on the south shore, is Newhall Point.

The north and south Sutors can be seen in the far distance at the entrance to the Firth.
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Picture added on 14 November 2010 at 11:07
Comments:
Amazing picture! My father worked at the airfield in the early '50s and on a visit there I can remember being allowed to sit in a Spitfire cockpit (actually it might have been a Hurricane). Sadly no pictures of me being Biggles!
Added by Bill Geddes on 16 November 2010
Would this be the location of the American Air Force base in the '50s? .....where they launched balloons.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 16 November 2010
Harry, you’re absolutely spot on. Apparently in mid 1955 a detachment of the USAAF 28th Weather Squadron moved in and stayed for eleven years conducting high altitude weather research using balloons.
Added by Malcolm McKean on 16 November 2010
I lived at Ballachraggan Farm for many years and remember the USAF being there. We had the RAF at Alness just below us and yanks at Evanton. I used to go to the movies at Alness camp on a Sunday. Later I worked in Novar sawmill in one of the hangers, great memories.
Added by David Gow on 21 November 2010
I was the navigator on a B17 that made a forced landing here in 1943. The British airmen painted a picture of a beautiful girl on the nose of the plane and named her the "Evanton Babe". Is there anyone who remembers this? I would like to contact you.
Added by Charles Mueller on 29 October 2011
Malcolm, evidently the "high altitude weather research using balloons" was a complete fabrication; a cover story for spying missions over the Soviet Union:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-18868646
Added by Michael Ross on 19 July 2012
I am the navigator from WW11 who was searching for anyone who remembers our being there. Perhaps someone who was a child at that time would remember.
Added by Charles J Mueller on 19 July 2012
Charles, it is unfortunate that there is no response to your query. I am afraid that old enemy Time is not co-operating. However, I for one and I am sure many others, appreciate what you and others like you did in the war.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 20 July 2012
Just been up to Evanton for mother-in-law's 85th birthday. She did vaguely remember the forced landing but unfortunately she could not recall any detail. Interestingly, as a result of the conversation, father-in-law produced a booklet "Airfield Focus-No 31- Invergordon". (Author Jim Hughes and published by GMS Enterprises.)
Essentially a potted history of seaplane activities from WW1 onward. Apologies if common knowledge but I found it very interesting.
Added by George Mackay on 31 July 2012
To correct a posting from Malcolm McKean, the Americans arrived in the summer of 1955 and were gone in the late spring of 1956, approximately 11 months. The main camp was sold to the Novar Estates in 1957 when most of the brick buildings were demolished and used to build the sea wall on the east side of the site, and the wooden buildings were sold, becoming homes, workshops, sports facilities, some of the huts ending up at Gordenstoun school.
Added by Alan Kinghorn on 17 April 2013
Alan, many thanks for the correction and a period of 11 months makes much more sense than 11 years!
Added by Malcolm McKean on 17 April 2013
Thanks Malcolm for your reply, just to add some flesh to the bones of your original posting. There was some research done into the high level jet stream done from Evanton but this seems to be a cover for sending balloons using the high level jet stream to spy over Russia. For further information go to this link www.ospreypublishing.com/articles/aviation/the_genetrix_balloons/
Thanks to Alasdair Cameron for the link.
Added by Alan Kinghorn on 17 April 2013
Just a bit of trivia, but I have a vague recollection of a car racing event being held on the old airfield runways. Possibly around 1960?
Added by Ronald A Stewart on 18 April 2013
Hi Ron, hope you are doing ok. You are correct, but maybe 1962/63. Events were organised by Highland Car Club and I remember my brother taking me along to watch. I think Charlie Munroe the Alness butcher used to take part along with Peter Chamberlain from Millcraig. I am advised by big brother that if you go to Ronnie Cameron Flickr photostream, search for "motor racing Evanton" there are some good pictures.

Added by George Mackay on 18 April 2013
Ronald, a Sprint Motor Race Meeting was held on the first Saturday of August 1962 on the Evanton runways by the Highland Car and Motorcycle Club. The race was sponsored by Grampian TV and shown on the television on the Tuesday of the following week. There was also autotests run on the peri track in front of the Wool Growers hangar and go-karting run by the Black Isle Karting Club.
Added by Alan Kinghorn on 18 April 2013
Good to know it really happened!
www.flickr.com/photos/dscn8785/8112586988/in/photostream/
Thanks to George and Alan.
Added by Ronald A Stewart on 20 April 2013
I well remember when the Americans arrived as they transported material from Invergordon pier to Evanton. This involved a huge number of trucks belting down the High Street for hours on end. At the height of this activity I was in Lofty Mcfarlane's class which was in the classroom that butted onto the High Street and the building shook with the vibration of the traffic. I guess these goings on were related to some Cold War panic about the USSR.
Added by Bill Geddes on 21 April 2013
George Mackay, thanks for asking your mother-in-law about the 1944 B17 landing. Since I was 21 years old at that time and am 90 now, I presume that the youngsters who enjoyed the D bars (chocolate) are now about 75 to 85 now. I went on to fly with Eighth Air Force, was wounded, and became a German POW.
Added by Charles Mueller on 23 April 2013
I remember the go-karting going on at Evanton airfield and I think my friend Jimmy Jack took part. I was employed there at Novar Sawmill, then went to the box factory, that was in old airforce hangars around 1960.
Added by David Gow on 23 April 2013
Bill, can you give a date when the Americans and their large trucks went down Invergordon High Street?
Added by Alan Kinghorn on 24 April 2013
Just seen Alan's question. My recollection is that this happened in my last year or just before, so that would make it 1956? Was there some war scare at that time? As for Evanton airfield, in 1972 along with some friends I can remember haring down the runways in a Volkswagon Beetle late at night! What thrills!
Added by Bill Geddes on 22 October 2013
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Aerial views taken by The Highland Council Planning Department

Aerial view of Invergordon looking SouthAerial View of Invergordon from the South-WestBird's Eye View of InvergordonAerial view of Invergordon and Firth looking westAerial view of InvergordonAerial view of Invergordon and the Cromarty Firth