from Graham Dean (18/03/2006)
“The site is owned and operated by the CAA. The radar, in the white sphere, has a range reaching London. At 846m ASL, the highest site used by the Home Office. Maintenance staff must use a 4-wheel drive vehicle and carry emergency rations and clothing ALL YEAR ROUND.
Weather conditions can quickly change as demonstrated by the photographs:- they were taken within minutes of each other!
The site is so high that it is not unusual for you to be looking down on the clouds!
Snow weighs down heavily on aerials causing them to crack or break completely. In an attempt to counteract the extreme weather conditions some aerials have been mounted inside the tower. This is only possible because the tower is made of wood.
Antennae is also mounted on the radar’s sphere’s gantry/walkway.
The chap that can just be seen on two of the photos is Bren O'Rourke, The Directorate H & S Officer. I'm not sure what he was doing up there now but it looks as though he may have been measuring radiation levels (possible concern about the radar emissions?).
I, and Penrith Detachment staff, accompanied him as I was CWT at Marley Hill at the time. It would have been the late 80's or very early 90's, certainly before Ruddington opened.
The wooden tower is 18.5m high and has antennas for 3 x Cumbria Police + 1 x Cumbria Fire MTx/MRx systems.
The radar gallery/gantry is 7m high and approx. 9m diameter. The gantry accommodates 1.8/2.3GHz microwave links for Police and Fire and permission for Home Defence RN1 and RN4 systems. I believe that only RN1 was actually installed.
I have no dates of build but I expect the wooden tower was 2nd World War era.”