Un-Real-Estate $1.2 Million Scottish Listening Station For Sale

It is being touted as an ideal getaway for those wanting to hide out from a zombie apocalypse or other disaster, and it can be yours for just over a million US dollars (£950,000).

It comes with nine acres of land behind a high prison fence and has a radar dish that could put you in touch with other survivors in the new world order.

Scottish estate agents “Amazing Results” list the facility as a prime redevelopment site and are keen to emphasize its proximity to the M90 motorway. As such, it would be great for commuting in the modern world, or for looting nearby abandoned urban areas if the end of the world comes.

Golf Ball. balado Photo by Callum Black CC BY-SA 2.0
Golf Ball. balado Photo by Callum Black CC BY-SA 2.0

The sixty-foot spherical structure, nick-named “the Golf Ball” is a striking local landmark. Inside is a now-defunct NATO Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) early warning radar dish.

The white fiberglass radome was inaugurated by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, in 1985. She was just one of many high-profile visitors to the facility.

Princess Anne, June 2013 Photo by Carfax2 CC BY SA 3.0
Princess Anne, June 2013 Photo by Carfax2 CC BY SA 3.0

The radar base is still operational, and the dish can be repositioned to face any part of the sky.

The antennae were once linked, via microwave, to Pitreavie Military Command Centre near Dunfermline. It supported secure long-distance communications between NATO forces at the height of the Cold War. It was also part of the USAAF satellite systems until this task was transferred to the UK’s Naval base at Faslane.

Radome, Balado Bridge airfield The geodesic dome, originally conceived by the American architect Buckminster-Fuller was intended for domestic housing, but it now finds more use as a weather-proof housing for military radar. Photo by Dr Duncan Pepper CC BY-SA 2.0
Radome, Balado Bridge airfield The geodesic dome, originally conceived by the American architect Buckminster-Fuller was intended for domestic housing, but it now finds more use as a weather-proof housing for military radar. Photo by Dr Duncan Pepper CC BY-SA 2.0

The Golf Ball is linked to the main equipment building by a corridor with doors designed to withstand any nuclear, biological, or chemical attack. There is also an emergency generator, accommodation and mess facilities, diesel tanks, and garage facilities.

Between the two perimeter fences, there is a guard house with toilet, office, and further accommodation.

RAF Balado Bridge was opened on March 30, 1942, just outside the Scottish village of Kinross as a satellite to ease pressure on nearby RAF Grangemouth.

T in the Park, Balado Bridge. Photo by Keith Boardman CC BY-SA 2.0
T in the Park, Balado Bridge. Photo by Keith Boardman CC BY-SA 2.0

It also had two concrete runways, a standard Watch Office control tower and a B1 as well as a Super Robin hangar, both of which are demountable but remain on the airfield.

Supermarine Spitfires would have been flown in and out of Balado by training pilots through 1942 to 1944 as part of No 58 Operational Training Unit.

Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XIIs of 41 Squadron in April 1944
Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk XIIs of 41 Squadron in April 1944

The War Department took control of the site in June 1944, and after the war a local glider club made use of the location. It was also used by a commercial company scrapping redundant Fleet Air Arm Aircraft.

All major flying had to end in 1957 when the airfield became earmarked for military communications duties. As a NATO ComSat facility, it was operational from 1985 up to its closure in 2006.

XM412 Jet Provost T.3 at Balado Airfield Photo by Mark Harkin CC BY 2.0
XM412 Jet Provost T.3 at Balado Airfield Photo by Mark Harkin CC BY 2.0

Since then it has been used as a venue for the T in the Park music festival from 1997 to 2014. The headline acts in 2014 were Biffy Clyro, The Arctic Monkeys, and Calvin Harris.

The airfield is still partially in use with the control tower now renovated as offices for a microlight club. There are chicken sheds on top of what remains of the other runway.

Balado satellite ground station on 31st January 2006.
Balado satellite ground station on 31st January 2006.

The site was purchased in 2006 by entrepreneur Bob Ferguson for just over $600,000. It is now up for sale again with reports that it could be redeveloped as a retail, leisure facility, or highly individual home.

“I am drawn to unusual buildings,” said Ferguson, “I tend to look at something and say, ‘What can I do with that?’”

Plans to sell the site to a Dutch company in 2017 fell through so now the property is being sold on the open market to anyone who may need a home that could withstand a nuclear attack.

Read another story from us: 7 Innovative Explosives from Britain’s Eccentric WW2 Experts

The Balado Bridge Photo by Dr Duncan Pepper CC BY-SA 2.0
The Balado Bridge Photo by Dr Duncan Pepper CC BY-SA 2.0

Whoever buys Balado Bridge will also be purchasing an iconic piece of Scottish Cold War history too.