History of Blairadam range

It is commonly believed that the Blairadam range was part of the Royal Navy's facility at Rosyth.  Not so, the Navy's range was Knockhill, which was turned into a motor racing circuit in the 1970s.  The Blairadam range is a Volunteers' range.  That is it was set up during the Napoleon III invasion scare of the 1870s -- in contrast to Rosyth which was setup as a consequence of the jingoism and German threat of the Edwardian era [read Erskine Childers's novel "Riddle of the Sands", was part of the jingoism to get Rosyth built.]

With the closure of the of Knockhill, the Royal Navy's facility at Rosyth did use Blairadam.  When the Navy withdrew from Rosyth, the dockyard was passed to private ownership, and the Blairadam range facility had no military sponsor. The BSA was formed as an umbrella organisation.

In the mists of time [i.e. pre-WWII] maps show that the range had a 600 yard firing point, which required shooting over the road.

Also see this further information, provided by Jim Brown; Honourary Member of F&K, ex secretrary etc. concerning the history of TAVRA ranges in Scotland, of which Blairadam is one: -

Records of the Scottish Volunteer Force 1859-1908

Regimented District, No. 9l. Headquarters – Alloa

The first meetings with a view to the formation of volunteer rifle corps in Clackmannanshire were held at Tillicoultry on the 4th, and at Alloa on the 5th November 1859, but it was not till March 10, 1860, that the services of the Tillicoultry Corps, of one company, and June 2 that those of the Alloa Corps, of two companies, were accepted, the delay being due to the absence of the Lord-Lieutenant. The Tillicoultry Corps was at first numbered 1, but this was afterwards changed, the Alloa Corps becoming the 1st and the Tillicoultry Corps the 2nd, the officers of both being gazetted on June 29, 1860. In 1862 both corps were attached to the 1st Administrative Battalion, Stirlingshire Rifle Volunteers.

On November 5, 1867, the 1st Corps was increased to four companies, the fourth (D) being at Dollar, and it and the 2nd Corps were taken away from the Stirlingshire Battalion and formed into the 1st Administrative Battalion, Clackmannanshire Rifle Volunteers, with headquarters at Alloa, to which the 14th Stirlingshire Corps at Alva (raised on October 17, 1868) ,was added in 1868, and the 1st Kinross Corps in 1873. The latter corps had been raised as a subdivision at Kinross on October 31, 1860, and increased to a company on May 1, 1861, and had hitherto been attached to the 1st Administrative Battalion Fifeshire R., whose changes of uniform it had followed.  

In February 1880 the battalion was consolidated as the 1st Clackmannan and Kinross Rifle Volunteers, with headquarters at Alloa, and seven companies, lettered as follows: A and C, Alloa; B, Sauchie; and D, Dollar (all late 1st Clackmannan); E, Tillicoultry (late 2nd Clackmannan); F, Alva (late 14th Stirling); and G, Kinross (late 1st Kinross). In 1882 a section was formed at Clackmannan, and in 1883 it was increased to a complete company and lettered H. Since then, with the exception of the formation in 1900 of a section of H Company at Kincardine and of a cyclist section at Kelty, attached to the Kinross Company, in 1903, there were no changes in the organisation of the battalion.

As headquarters for the battalion, Alloa prison was purchased in 1882, and enlarged and completed with drill-hall, offices, armoury, etc. The battalion had its rifle-range up to 900 yards at Hillend, near Alloa, and G Company had a separate range up to 600 yards at Blairadam.

Above extract by the kind permission of the Library of the Scottish United Services Museum, Edinburgh Castle.


Historical Maps

Blairadam, 1896 & 1924 maps.

Please note the 600 yard firing point at Blairadam and how, to use it, requires shooting over the road - believed to be a cart track, and that the railway prevented longer ranges. I guess access to the range involved alighting from the railway at Blairadam station.

Alloa, 1904 & 1924 maps.