Balado ‘golf ball’ site on the market for £1.1m

The golf ball was part of the US Air Force defence satellite communications system. Picture: Right Move
The golf ball was part of the US Air Force defence satellite communications system. Picture: Right Move
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THE “golf ball” satellite station at Balado Bridge, near the site of T in the Park in Kinross-shire, has gone on the market for £1.1 million.

The former Nato Communications Facility, known as a SATCOM II Satellite Ground Listening Station, was built next to the main runways at RAF Balado Bridge.

It came to be known locally as the “golf ball” after being opened by Princess Anne in 1985.

Estate agents Amazing Results, based in Kinross, who are marketing the property, say the sale offers buyers the chance to acquire a unique golf-inspired property in time for the Ryder Cup.

The decommissioned fibreglass structure was linked to the command centre at Pitreavie, Fife, by microwave transmitter, though these functions were transferred to Faslane on the Clyde in the mid-1990s.

The “golf ball” enabled long-distance secure broadcasts between Nato forces, and was an integral part of the US Air Force’s defence satellite communications system.

Soldiers from the Royal Corps of Signals manned the “golf ball” until 2006, with support provided by Edinburgh-based 242 Signal Squadron.

Set in more than six acres, the site is being marketed as the perfect location for residential, commercial or leisure development.

Surrounded by secure fencing, as well as the “golf ball”, the site includes recreation and office accommodation which was once used by military personnel.

There is also a guardhouse, built by the Ministry of Defence to control the first fence line during the Second World War, in addition to workshops, garages and fuel tanks.

Carol Herd at Amazing Results Estate Agents said: “After promoting the property through social media, I have had some interesting suggestions for its future use, from Kinross’s very own Eden Project to a golf academy and driving range.”

Widely implemented for military use, the “golf ball” design dome was originally conceived by Walther Bauersfeld, chief engineer of the Carl Zeiss optical company, for a planetarium to house his planetarium projector in Germany after the First World War.

American architect R Buckminster Fuller adapted it to deal with a chronic housing shortage in the US in 1944, renamed it the “geodesic dome” and patented it in 1954.

A similar dome to that at Balado Bridge appeared in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, inspiring the production designer of Austin Powers’ The Spy Who Shagged Me to use a dome for Dr Evil’s moon base.

The site was the home of RAF Balado from March 1943 until 1957 and used to fly Hurricanes and Spitfires during the Second World War.

The “golf ball” at Balado is the latest in a string of unusual properties to be offered to the public.

Earlier this year, a former nuclear fall-out shelter at Comrie, Perthshire, was sold for £150,000 to technology expert Brandon Butterworth, chief scientist for the BBC.

And a secure former RAF facility near Dunfermline is on the market for offers over £200,000.

The Outhmuir Uniter Bunker was one of three built in Scotland as part of a survivable integrated network and is located close to Knockhill racing circuit.

It still boasts the equipment needed to allow the building to be completely self-sufficient, but is now expected to be transformed into a “futuristic” three-bedroom property.

And at the former RAF Findo Gask airfield near Auchterarder, Perthshire, a Second World War control tower is on the market for £1.25m as a luxury home. Once completed it will have four bedrooms, a triple garage and a private drive.


T in the Park to leave Balado site