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Anthrax Island

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JoyLouise Report 29 Mar 2022 08:40

Ron, I’ll profess my ignorance again. I’ve wracked my brain and think it was about ten or so years ago when I heard it mentioned on telly - the first time I had heard of it, as I wrote earlier.

Not only had I been living overseas at the time of the event but it never even came into my field of studies. I may, of course, have missed it in the media but, alas, Gruinard never even reared its head in the international or geopolitical aspects of my degree. Perhaps this was because it was more local than global?

However, three RAF pilots studies studied alongside me and I guess they’d have heard it.

No doubt my siblings who were in the UK will have heard of it - thinking of one brother, in particular.

It was sad to hear that wildlife suffered, however, now that the island has been ablaze, it will, no doubt, be more safe than when it was deemed to be so by the UK government.


Florence61 Report 28 Mar 2022 23:38

Just seen pics of another moorfire here where i was living last year, looks really bad. People have been told to keep their windows closed. Its thick fog here still so before dark couldnt see if the smoke was still going above the hill.


Florence61 Report 28 Mar 2022 23:36

Aw that is tragic Maggie :-(


maggiewinchester Report 28 Mar 2022 23:25

I read comments from those near the island.
One said: "We could hear birds crying, screaming, and then suddenly there was silence - but the flames went on, it was awful."
They'd have been nesting :-(


Ron2 Report 28 Mar 2022 20:31

JoyLlouise. Thought it was a well known fact. Featured on TV and in papers many times over years


Florence61 Report 28 Mar 2022 16:58

It was suggested that some kayakers may have been wild camping on the island! The ground is so tinder dry, it only takes a spark to get it burning!

The fire service are leaving it as no wildlife or people on the island. so nobody will be investigated or charged and probably the wild campers are long gone.

Florence in the hebrides


JoyLouise Report 28 Mar 2022 09:57

It wouldn’t surprise me, Sylvia.

What do you think - government, NGO or individual?


SylviaInCanada Report 28 Mar 2022 03:35

Is that going to an arson???


Florence61 Report 27 Mar 2022 20:51

Yes Gwyn its huge!!


PatinCyprus Report 27 Mar 2022 20:10

Knew about it a long time ago.

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 27 Mar 2022 20:03

That's a huge fire...........


Florence61 Report 27 Mar 2022 19:49

Oh my just seen on my local news that the island is completely on fire!!

We have had a local moor not far from me on fire all weekend and the smoke visible just over the hill opposite me! Firefighters are still tackling it after it blew up again today and the wind changed its direction. The moor is tinder dry after no proper rain for days.

Florence in the hebrides


JoyLouise Report 3 Mar 2022 10:00

The programme is worth a watch if you have Catch Up and, yes, Florence it mentioned wind carrying the virus and the Dark Harvest people. We were living overseas for some of the seventies and most of the eighties where Maralinga loomed more in memories.


Florence61 Report 3 Mar 2022 09:32

Yes they never identified The Dark Harvest people and the locals I think they knew but they never saId. But as some animals across the bay in the village of Laide had lost some sheep, cattle etc, why wasn't their soil tested?

The Anthrax had obviously blown across in the wind and it was less than a mile.

Joy I am an avid watcher of Shetland and I think you may be correct as before this programme was advertised, I too had heard about this island more recently but couldn't recall. Si it may well of been mentioned in an episode.

I do recall the Conservative party conference in Blackpool and the incident where a box was left with soil. Seeing that clip in the programme suddenly woke my brain up and it all came back.

I have seen a short video made by explorers who managed to get underground in Porton Down a few years ago. The tunnels went for miles. There was all sorts of things left abandoned from the war even unopened food and bottles of water.
They eventually found a flight of steps and managed to get out but it is heavily guarded by security cameras everywhere even around the old deserted buildings.

Florence in the hebrides


nameslessone Report 3 Mar 2022 08:11

I was aware of it too.

added: Maybe this is why:
The secret wartime experiments left the tiny island uninhabitable for decades - until in 1981 a group known as the Dark Harvest commandos launched a move to focus attention on the deadly contamination.


Caroline Report 3 Mar 2022 04:56

That show sounds very interesting, for some reason I did know there was an island closed to everyone because of Anthrax it must have been on a show years ago can't remember now. I seem to remember pictures of it with barbed wire and notices telling people to stay away. Sadly in times of war you have to do things you'd never dream of doing in peace time and this was one of them I believe.


SylviaInCanada Report 2 Mar 2022 22:49

I've known about the island for many years, possibly even before 1990 which is the round which it was declassified, but I'm not sure how, except that we knew several virologists and even 1 or 2 who had connections with Portadown (now called Porton Down.

But there have been other tests with viruses and bacteria that have gone way wrong.

Remember myxomatosis??

Things were very different in days gone by.


maggiewinchester Report 2 Mar 2022 21:07

I've just watched it.
Was that the legendary Fyfe Robinson at the beginning?

Weird how they didn't test the village on the mainland, considering people found sheep and cattle dead, isn't it?


JoyLouise Report 2 Mar 2022 15:57

The programme’s available on Catch Up if you have it on your telly.


JoyLouise Report 2 Mar 2022 15:47

The first and only time I have heard about the ‘anthrax island’ was when it was mentioned in a series I was watching. It have been a detective series I think - something like Shetland or similar - and definitely well before this year.

I was quite surprised not to have heard about it before not least because conflict formed part of my degree subject many years ago.

So they kept that quiet didn’t they! Perhaps it was embargoed for fifty years or so?