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Swarbacks Head

A remote headland which represents the most northerly point of the island of Vementry to the west of the Shetland Mainland, Swarbacks Head faces Muckle Roe across Swarbacks Minn. Cliffs surrounding the headland reach 30m (98 feet) in height. A prominent gun emplacement was established here by the Royal Navy in 1915 to protect their anchorage in Swarbacks Minn. A pair of 6-inch guns were removed from the cruiser HMS Gibraltar and mounted on concrete platforms above the cliffs. HMS Gibraltar was launched from Napier's Yard on the River Clyde in 1892 and saw service with the 10th Cruiser Squadron at the outset of World War I, before becoming their depot ship based in Swarbacks Minn. Unusually, these guns still remain in place today, undoubtedly because of the difficulty in removing them from such a remote location. Ammunition bunkers and the fire command post can also still be seen, along with the concrete base of the accommodation block, the wooden structure having long-since blown away.


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