We had some very patient visitors to our side hatch yesterday evening, they were there again this morning…
Cassie had declined her normal morning walk for the chance to play with another golden retriever (the walk did happen, but she was knackered by the time we set off, and refused to go far, only to return to the boat and then suddenly have enough energy to resume her play-date with her new friend!) We left her to sleep it off and walked to the Secret Nuclear Bunker for a visit.
It was extremely interesting and well worth the entrance fee. Hack Green was a built as a radar station during the Second World War, and in 1983, £32 million was spent on re-building it as a bunker for use in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK. Selected Government staff would have been transported there if the threat became severe. It was then highly secret, but was de-classified in 1993, and subsequently opened as a museum. It consists of two levels (actually 3, but the middle level is not open to the public) with 27 rooms in all, most set up as they would have been when it was open, and some full of exhibits of equipment which has come from all over the UK and some from Russia. Rog did a Nuclear Attack plotting course early on in this career in the RAF, and had used some of the now obsolete equipment which was on display. The teleprinters and some of the radar equipment was also still in use when he joined up, and for quite a long while afterwards! That was scary!
The scariest bit, though, was the Nuclear Shelter Experience. A stark room with just chairs, and a ‘bucket and chuck it’ loo, lit with flickering red lights (hence no photos as they all came out black!) and bombarded with electrical noise, we sat and waited. Suddenly there was an enormous explosion and a bright flash! It certainly got the heart pounding and the adrenalin rushing! Not sure whether the flash would have been visible even inside the concrete bunker, but Rog thinks it would! About 2 thirds of the way round, there is a small cinema showing a film which was banned by the BBC at the time it was made, as it was too graphic and would cause wide-spread panic, but now being shown with special permission. It detailed the days, hours and minutes before and after a nuclear attack, and showed the hideous injuries and the horror of life afterwards for those who survived the initial blast. The film was 45 minutes long, and we watched for about 20 minutes before it became too gruesome to watch any more. It certainly made us think! When we had finished the tour, had a cup of coffee in the ‘Naafi’ canteen, and returned to the outside world, it made us aware of how thankful we were that it had never happened. Let’s hope that we don’t have nightmares tonight!
We returned to the boat and decided that it was too smelly on that mooring to stay any longer (the farmer was treating the fields on the other side of the cut to a dressing of slurry!) so we moved the half mile or so to the strangely named Coole Pilate moorings, which we had admired as we cruised past on our way up the Shroppie earlier in the year. There is a long stretch of moorings with picnic tables and barbecue stands, all cared for by the SUCS (Shropshire Union Canal Society) They do a great job, providing good moorings for visiting boats. Tomorrow, we will head for Audlem and the locks, and partake of a meal in the Shroppie Fly again.