9. Starfish

Carman Hill

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright January 2019, Lairich Rig; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


Starfish Decoys were employed during the Second World War: special-effects techniques from cinema were adapted and then employed to create the illusion of lights, burning streets, or burning buildings, in order to lure enemy bombers towards these sites and away from genuine targets. A more detailed discussion can be found at Secret ScotlandExternal link. An entryExternal link at Canmore records the former presence of such a decoy at about NS369782, on an area of the moor between Kipperoch Trig Point (to the east) and Walton Farm Chambered Cairn (to the west).
At the time of writing, there appear to be no visible traces of the decoy itself on the moor.
NS3678 : Ladder-like pattern of ditches, Carman Muir by Lairich RigNS3678 : Old track on Carman Muir: middle section by Lairich RigNS3678 : Old track on Carman Muir: middle section by Lairich RigRemains of a track and of preparations for forestry planting. Neither is associated with the decoy.

Nevertheless, there are some visible remains associated with the decoy: namely, its control bunker and some craters.


The bunker is shown below in three pictures I obtained during a very brief site visit in February 2018. I did not enter the structure; I was only interested in obtaining exterior views. To make it clear that I was not up to any mischief, I made an effort to make myself visible to the farmer, who was out and about; the bunker is very close to the farmhouse, and, for that reason, I did not wish to spend long here, and so risk alarming the occupants.
The projecting entrance points towards the ESE, and the small chimney-like feature on the southwestern half of the structure is probably the top of an access hatch, with a ladder below it.
NS3777 : Kipperoch decoy fire control bunker by Lairich RigNS3777 : Kipperoch decoy fire control bunker by Lairich RigNS3777 : Kipperoch decoy fire control bunker by Lairich RigThe control bunker at Kipperoch.

Secret Scotland has further informationExternal link about the decoy at Kipperoch and its control bunker.
The internal layout is probably the same as (or at least similar to) that of another control bunker that I have visited, namely, the one at Auchenreoch Muir, whose outside is almost entirely overgrown with turf. At Auchenreoch, the entrance passage is sometimes flooded, and the access hatch has been sealed up in the time since the pictures below were taken, but it is otherwise possible to examine the interior. Nearby, on the moor, some concrete blocks, remains of the decoy itself, survive in place. Note that I discuss these remains, and others nearby, in a different article.
NS4277 : Inside the Starfish Decoy control bunker by Lairich RigNS4277 : Starfish Decoy control bunker: entrance passage by Lairich RigNS4277 : Starfish Decoy control bunker by Lairich RigThe control bunker at Auchenreoch.
NS4278 : Auchenreoch Starfish Decoy by Lairich RigNS4277 : Concrete block at Starfish decoy site by Lairich RigNS4278 : Concrete block of Starfish Decoy by Lairich RigRemains of the decoy at Auchenreoch.


My thanks to email correspondent John Coleman, who shared with me some very useful information about the bomb craters in the area near the Kipperoch Decoy. One of those craters is well seen in Perrays Wood; it is shown in the first two pictures below. Of the others, John tells me that "there were two bomb craters in the sloping field to the west of Knowetop Farm's fields, both water-filled; the field belonged to Tam McAllister the farmer, and when he died Willie Turner of Dalmoak Farm became the owner and very quickly filled the craters in".
In the third of the pictures below I show a pit that is perhaps another bomb crater. However, there are many old quarry pits and test pits in the wider area, so I do not wish to be dogmatic about the nature of the hollow shown in that picture.
NS3776 : Bomb crater in Perrays Wood by Lairich RigNS3776 : Bomb crater in Perrays Wood by Lairich RigNS3678 : Bomb crater by Lairich Rig(left) A bomb crater in Perrays Wood, viewed from the northwest.
(middle) The same crater, seen from the other side.
(right) A possible bomb crater on Carman Muir.

The decoy at Auchenreoch was also a success, to judge by the numerous craters to be seen nearby on the moor.
Perrays Wood itself has given its name to the streets in a nearby area of housing called Lennox Gardens: there is a Perrays Drive, Way, Crescent, Grove, and Court there. Elsewhere, I discuss at length the name Perrays, and the comments that are made about it in one of the local histories. A few among the older generation of locals know the name of the woods; they pronounce it "Pirrie's Wood".

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