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Gallanach


Argyll and Bute

A scattered roadend settlement strung out along the west coast of Argyll and Bute, Gallanach lies 2¼ miles (3.5 km) southwest of Oban. It comprises a settlement and three farms; namely Gallanachmore, Gallanachbeg and Gallanach Home Farm, the latter located close to Gallanach Castle. There is a dive centre, while the privately-run ferry to Kerrera leaves from a slipway here.

Gallanach is perhaps best known for the shore-station for TAT-1, the first transatlantic telephone cable. Laid by Her Majesty's Telegraph Ship (HMTS) Monarch in 1955-56, this cable (actually a pair of cables) stretched 2250 miles (3621 km) down the Sound of Kerrera and on to Clarenville in Newfoundland (Canada). Previously transatlantic phone calls were only possible through an unreliable and expensive radio-telephone service, while the new cable was also able to triple the capacity. Amongst its 36 separate connections was the Cold War leaders "hot line" between Washington, London and Moscow. Part of the Gallanach facility was hidden in a tunnel in the cliff-face. The cable was a joint venture between the US-based AT&T Bell Laboratories, the Canadian Overseas Telecommunications Corporation and the British General Post Office. It relied on specially-designed armoured coaxial cables with 102 vacuum valve-based repeaters placed at regular intervals (51 per cable) to amplify the signal. Inaugurated on 25th September 1956 with a three-way telephone conversation between New York, Ottawa and London, TAT-1 cost 12.5 million with more than 700 calls made in the first 24 hours of operation. The cable was withdrawn from service in 1978. The shore station is now disused but a substantial building remains, secluded within the private Gallanach Estate.


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