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Strumble is on the North West tip of Pembrokeshire, west of
Fishguard. The area is known as the Pencaer Peninsula, although
it isn't actually a peninsula. Bordered on two sides by the sea and
on the inland side by a line of low hills, it does give the feeling of
being cut off. The focus for Pencaer is Strumble Head Lighthouse,
perched on a tiny island just off the coast and reached by a small
suspension bridge. The Lighthouse is automated NOW so there isn't
any access onto the island.
During the 1960s and 1970s civil and military air traffic control
officers worked and trained together at the site which also retained
an air defence and special tasks role including that of supporting
Research and Development flying programmes from Farnborough
and Boscombe Down and the early Concorde flight trials. [IT] was in
1967 that I completed my Joint Military Fighter Controller/Civil Area
Radar Controller training at Southern Radar RAF Sopley and in 1968
provided Summer Leave Relief on secondment duties from LATCC
I well remember during that time at Sopley providing assistance to
an Aer Lingus flight en-route from Cardiff to Dublin, following an
ATC clearance to [RE]join controlled airspace at the Strumble DVOR •
subsequent to being caught in bad-weather en-route • by a process
of guiding the pilot around and between the rain clouds, because of
the phenomenally detailed accuracy of the Type 80 radar, in the
detection of weather, as well as aircraft and other unidentified flying
objects [UFO's], which was an inherent nature of the beast at that
time. Oh how that Primary Radar capability swiftly disappeared with
the advent of Secondary Radar and then in more recent times GNSS.
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