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Torry Battery  /

On the southern side of the Dee, across the bridge from the city, the ruins of Torry Point Battery overlook the Harbour entrance. Built in 1861 as a gun emplacement, it was previously used as an execution site for pirates. 


The Battery’s barracks were squatted by locals desperate for housing between the two world wars. During WW II it was armed with anti-aircraft and searchlights which protected the city from German aircraft. Its artillery was fully removed in the 1950s and it is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. 


The wildlife in this area stretches south along the coast, from Girdleness. A rare passerine bird, the ortolan bunting, is occasionally found here. Regarded as a delicacy in France, these tiny birds are drowned in Armagnac, and left in a vat before cooking. Diners wear a shame-hiding napkin over their heads as they devour the ortolan whole, including its head, feet and bones. 

In the gorse and shrubs birders watch skuas, eider, shearwaters, and gulls which float above the rubbish dump below Nigg Bay. The Torry Coo foghorn looks out to sea, although no longer in use, it once provided a guide to navigation through the bleak sea fret. 

Pods of bottlenose dolphins have been spotted in this area, some leap clear of the water. Minke and humpback whales are sometimes seen near the banks of Torry Battery, swimming beyond the channels of boats and ships bound for Aberdeen’s shore. 

This project was a collaboration with writer Adelle Stripe who explored the city with me and created the stories and histories that sit alongside the thirteen main images from the exhibition. Secret Cities Aberdeen was part of the SPECTRA Festival of Light 2017 in Aberdeen and commissioned by Curated Place. 

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