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Martello Towers in Scotland

There were three Martello towers built in Scotland, at the Tally Toor in the Firth of Forth, and at Harkness and Crockness in Orkney.

 

 

The Towers in Scotland:
Index Icon Tally Toor
Index Icon Hackness
Index Icon Crockness

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Tally Toor

Tally Toor Martello Tower in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland, was originally built in 1809 to defend the harbour against possible attack during the Napoleonic Wars. It was located offshore on a rocky outcrop called the Mussel Cape Rocks facing the Firth of Forth.

The invasion never came, and the tower was left to decay until 1850 when it was renovated by the Royal Engineers and occupied by artillerymen from Leith until 1869 and during the Second World War it housed an anti-aircraft battery 

The land around it was subsequently reclaimed and the Tally Toor now lies land-locked half-buried, in an industrial area on the eastern breakwater of Leith Docks.

Tally Toor Martello Tower
Tally Toor Martello Tower

The tower now lies empty on the breakwater surrounded by a port and industrial area and difficult to access as access to Forth Ports is not allowed.

Irish folk symbols carved on the stonework indicate that it was built by Irish navvies.

Website Icon more information and pictures

Hackness

Two towers were built on Hoy, Orkney, at Hackness and Crockness, near Longhope. They were constructed between 1813 and 1815 to guard against the threat of French and American raiders attacking convoys assembling offshore. 

The Martello tower, together with another on the north side at Crockness, was built in 1815 to protect British ships in the bay of Longhope against attack by American and French privateers, during the Napoleonic Wars, while they waited for a Royal Navy escort on their journey to Baltic ports.

The towers were upgraded, with the installation of new guns and other structures, in 1866 at a time of concern about the possibility of another French invasion.

Hackness Martello Tower
Hackness Martello Tower

Hackness Martello comprised three floors. Like a medieval tower house, the entrance was at first-floor level, reached by a wooden ladder. It led directly into the barrack room. This provided bed-space for 14 men; their NCO slept in a private cubicle.

On the floor beneath lay the powder magazine, stores and water cistern. Above them was the gun. The first gun was a 24-pounder, but this was replaced in 1866 by a 68-pounder. The latter was removed around 1900, and the gun now on display is a 64-pounder Armstrong of similar vintage.

Hackness Martello Tower and Battery are in the care of Historic Scotland. Visitors can tour the tower, battery and reconstructed barracks.
Historic Scotland

Crockness

The Crockness Martello Tower on Hoy, Orkney, Scotland, was built at the same time as the Martello Tower at Hackness. It is on the north side of Longhope Sound to the north of Crock Ness point and the hamlet of Crockness, while Hackness is on the south side of the Sound.

The Martello towers were built in 1815 to protect British ships in the bay of Longhope against attack by American and French privateers, during the Napoleonic Wars, while they waited for a Royal Navy escort on their journey to Baltic ports.


 

Crockness Martell Tower
Crockness  Martello Tower 

The towers were upgraded, with the installation of new guns and other structures, in 1866 at a time of concern about the possibility of another French invasion.

Crockness tower is currently not open to the public.

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