Cold War bunker on sale in Scottish Borders for same price as an Edinburgh parking space

Cold War bunker on sale in Scottish Borders for same price as an Edinburgh parking space
Cold War bunker on sale in Scottish Borders for same price as an Edinburgh parking space

A cold war nuclear bunker in the remote Scottish countryside is on the market for £20,000.


John Letham is selling the bunker, which was built in 1962, in it’s original condition after plans to renovate it fell through.

bunker

Picture: SWNS

The 54-year-old bought the bunker in Traquair, Scottish Borders, “on a whim” in 2003 and had hoped to possibly convert it into a holiday home.

But after moving to the Philippines, John, who is an art and antique dealer, decided to sell the underground relic and the 2,500 square feet of land surrounding it.

bunker

Picture: SWNS

He said: “I’m selling it as I no longer reside in the UK and hope someone else will be able to enjoy its location.

“I had many plans for the bunker but due to other commitments wasn’t able to realise them.

“I purchased it in 2003 on a whim as I just loved the location.

“It had been put on the market by a telecoms company who had intended to put a mobile phone mast there but had then found it surplus to requirements.”

bunker

Picture: SWNS

The picturesque site is a former Royal Observer Corps (ROC) monitoring post.

During the Cold War the corps was responsible for recording the radioactive fallout in the event of a nuclear blast.

To give members protection underground bunkers were constructed.

bunker

Picture: SWNS

Following the end of the Cold War, the nuclear threat diminished and the bunkers became redundant.

The bunker, surrounded by open farmland, can only be accessed by climbing down a steel ladder in the access shaft.

The site comprises of two rooms – the main room which was the communication centre, sleeping and living area, and the toilet.

There is also a small area at the bottom of the entrance shaft which would have been used for decontamination in the event of an attack.

bunker

Picture: SWNS

There remains some of the original fittings and items in the bunker including a bucket toilet, a map showing other bunkers in the area, fitted furniture, and some teapots.

bunker

Picture: SWNS

When he bought it, John had various ideas about what to do with his unusual new property.

At one point he had planned to renovate it and use it as a place to stay in the Borders.

There was also talk of renting it out by the night to let people enjoy the experience of staying in a bunker.

While John admitted no one has actually stayed in the bunker overnight, he said he has thought about the possibility of having to use it.

He added: “It [being used] has crossed my mind, it was nice knowing it was there just in case anything ever did happen.

bunker

Picture: SWNS

“My experience of growing up during the cold war was one of feeling that a nuclear war was never far away.

“I remember seeing tv images of nuclear weapons being tested and feeling totally dismayed by their incredible power.”

The bunker was described as “the jewel” in a number of sites when they were auctioned off by the telecoms company.

The surrounding area is a popular location for mountain biking, riding and walking while the nearby River Tweed is a haven for salmon fishing and the countryside is idyllic.

Words: Ellie Forbes, SWNS

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