Tolsta Head

(Ceann Tholastaidh, Rubha Tholastaidh)

A significant headland on the east coast of Lewis in the Western Isles, Tolsta Head (Gael: Ceann Tholastaidh or Rubha Tholastaidh) lies at the northern entrance to Broad Bay, some 12 miles (20 km) northeast of the island's principal settlement of Stornoway. Britain undertook top-secret biological warfare experiments in the bay to the north of Tolsta Head in the early 1950s. This involved the release of toxic agents such as bubonic plague from the HMS Ben Lomond, a converted tank landing craft, and the assessment of the effects on animal subjects. The tests almost ended in disaster when a fishing trawler strayed into the area.

Tolsta Head is also of geomorphological importance and has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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