Retained Unit.



1954 to ? Box at Bus shelter outside the Post Office
1974? Wooden hut at back of Post Office
? to ? Wooden Garage, Car park beside Tourist Information kiosk, DRUMNADROCHIT.       Photo
? to 2003 Temple Pier, A82, DRUMNADROCHIT.                                                                                 Photo
20/9/2003 to Opposite Tourist Information Office, A82,  DRUMNADROCHIT.                                     Photo




1961 to 1991 Sub Officer Alexander Whyte  B.E.M.   (Sandy)
1991 to 1999 Sub Officer Alistair Menzies
1999 to 2007 Sub Officer Donald S Fraser
April 2007 to Watch Manager James Cameron



1984 A991PST Ford Escort 55/HIFB CFV
1998 A968NST Ford Escort 55/HIFB CFV
  A861OAS Bedford CF/Fulton and Wylie LFA
2003 P520EAS LDV Convoy/HIFB LFA
2005 V554JST Mitsubishi Canter/HIFB MWrT
2007 SY55BZV MAN 12-225/Emergency One WrL



1954 to 1975 Northern Area Fire Brigade
1975 to 1983 Northern Fire Brigade
1983 to 2005 Highland and Islands Fire Brigade
2005 to Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service



Unit started 10/5/1954 as non mobile unit.

In 1948 there was a Non Mobile Volunteer Unit at Lewiston (south of Drumnadrochit), I don't know if this unit moved to or maybe amalgamated with Drunmadrochit.

In 1961 Alexander Whyte a retained fireman from Fraserburgh was asked if he would take charge of the unit and he became the first Sub Officer, and he was given a list of 38 members some of whom were 80 years old (don't know who was in charge). They had 10 lengths of hose, an Alcan pump, an axe and a rope. Sandy had an Escort van for his plumbers business and they used to empty his stuff and put in the fire equipment. When they attended an RTA they would used his plumber's tools to assist in the removal of casualties until a pump arrived. They had a hand operated siren which was used to call them out until 1971 when a siren was installed on the roof of the Post Office. Sandy was always pushing the Brigade for equipment and he suggested they get Escort vans like his for Volunteer units to keep the equipment in instead of huts, this idea was adopted by the brigade but Drumnadrochit were about the second last unit to get one. The Brigade promised to build a garage but after mush stalling Sandy got the council to lay a foundation plinth and everyone in the village was going to contribute  £1 to buy a wooden garage. He then applied for planning permission for the garage and after it was granted the Brigade found and asked him about it and the Brigade then paid for the garage. Alexander Whyte was nominated by the Brigade for a B.E.M. for services to the Brigade.

Probably the biggest fire in Drumnadrochit was the Drumnadrochit Hotel Fire on 16/1/1984, which was attended by 3 WrLs from Inverness, 1 WrL from Nairn and 1 WrL from Dingwall. Drumnadrochit didn't get their van until March 1984 but it wouldn't have made any difference if they had had it for the fire.

In 1990 was unit A12.

1999/2000    Upgraded to Breathing Apparatus status.

2001 New station being built. This station went operational in February 2003.

With the new brigade structure introduced in the summer of 2003 the 3 Divisions were re-organised into 2 Commands North and South, Drumnadrochit was put into South Command. Call signs remained the same.

On 1st April 2005 along with 61 other units Drumnadrochit was upgraded to a Retained Unit, drilling one night per week and receiving a retaining fee.

Drumnadrochit had a call sign of A31 in The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to S40, the new National Call Sign, when the Control at Inverness closed on 6/12/2016 and moved to Dundee.




A non mobile voluntary fire party was set up in Drumnadrochit on the 10th of May 1954.
All those who were interested were invited to come along and be trained in the use of the fire fighting equipment from instructors from Inverness Fire Headquarters
A fire box was installed in the village for the use of, of course Drumnadrochit, and the surrounding small villages like Milton and Lewiston. Keys for the box were distributed throughout the village and also one key was placed in a glass box beside the box.
The equipment then consisted of, One Power Pump, which could deliver 50 g.p.m. it could pump water from any burns or rivers.
Hose, the hose was made of canvas and had instantaneous coupling.
Standpipe which could be plugged in to any hydrant where installed.
There were a couple of hydrants in the Drumnadrochit village.
It was stressed to the villagers that when the standpipe was connected to a hydrant the pump was not needed.
The villagers were also given a Hand Operated Siren, in order in the event of a fire occurring the villagers were warned of the fire and that volunteers were required to work the equipment.
It was also stressed to the villagers that in the event of fire occurring some distance from the fire box, local transport would be requisitioned, the account for same being rendered to the Northern Area Fire Brigade Head Quarters in Inverness.
2nd January 1958 the volunteer firefighters were called to a house fire in Drumnadrochit. Unfortunately the house was totally destroyed, but some furniture was saved by neighbours. The house belonged to one Miss Kennedy. In June 1958 there were 10 volunteer firefighters in Drumnadrochit, they were

                Donald Macdonald              P.O., Drumnadrochit.
                John H Stephen                    4 Druimlon, Drumnadrochit.
                Barry Finlayson                    6 Druimlon, Drumnadrochit.
                Alistair Macleod                  21 Druimlon, Drumnadrochit.
                James Alex Fraser                School House, Drumnadrochit.
                Robert Macdonald               Balmacaan, Drumnadrochit.
                Hugh K Maclennan             Benview, Lewiston.
                David T Mackintosh           23 East Lewiston.
                Alex S Fraser                         22 Druimlon, Drumnadrochit.
                John C Ferguson                  Milton, Drumnadrochit.

In 1961 Mr. Alexander (Sandy) Whyte moved to the village from Fraserburgh where he was a retained fireman.
In years to come he became Sub Officer of the Fire Party, a position which he held until his retirement 38 years later. May 1964-65. In these 12 months the Drumnadrochit firefighters turned out 7 times to 3 chimney fires, 3 heath fires and 1 fire, Things stayed more or less the same and there were few fires.
In 1971 the equipment was now stored in a purpose built shed behind the village Post Office, The equipment now included a Portable Engine(Pump), Ample supply of fire hoses, Axes, Fire reels and ladders. Now when a fire call was put through with Drumnadrochit in the address the fire siren was sounded at the P.O. (A siren was now fixed to the roof of the Post Office)
In a local publication where the Fire Party had a space every now and again to tell how many and what fires their had been and to tell the news of what was happening with the party, in the 1971 edition of The Glenurquhart Rural Community Association Magazine there were several hints on fire prevention also a list of the people to get into contact with if fire occurred they were, Sub Officer Whyte, L/Fm Macdonald at the PO, and the local Police House Number. The article went on to say that the local firemen were on call 24 hrs daily and that if you were in any doubt about a fire to call 999.
In 1972 despite the FP warning the year before there was an increase in fire calls in the Glenurquhart area, so in response to this the same FP article was printed in the same magazine for a second time.
On a lighter note the members of the party attended a social evening in the Drumnadrochit hotel, to mark the retirement of their training officer Mr. L MacRobb. Mr. MacRobb was presented with a Pewter Tankard in recognition of his many years service and friendship to the Party.
In 1978 the fire volunteers turned out to 11 emergency calls.
The numbers of calls went up and up in the Drumnadrochit area and in 1980 the volunteers attended 7 emergencies. In 1981 the volunteers were called upon 22 times, on two of these occasions the vols were called to particularly nasty and fatal incidents.
On the 12/3/81 firemen from Inverness and Drumnadrochit were called to a Road Traffic Accident to release the occupants from their cars following a two car head on collision west of the village. The bodies of two of the victims had to be cut free using Hydraulic Rescue and Cutting Gear. Later on the same year on the 25/10/81 a 45 year old man lost his life when his car overturned near Drumnadrochit. No other vehicles were involved, the brigade was called to release the victim from his car. The cause of the accident is classed an unknown.
In 1982 the fire party were turned out 11 times to fires and to road traffic accidents, at this point in time the volunteers were trying to persuade the Firemaster (W. Shand) to have a van based at Drumnadrochit as this would reduce the time taken to reach the scene of an emergency. Also in 1982, 4 of the party members received their long service and good conduct medals the recipients were Sub Officer A Whyte, Leading Fireman D Macdonald, Firemen, R. E. Mackintosh & A. Menzies.
In 1983 the vols turned out 8 times and they were still trying to persuade the Firemaster for a van to be based at Drumnadrochit.
In 1984 they got there wish, they received an Escort 55 b.w.s van.
In 1984 the vols turned out to their biggest fire SO FAR...
The Drumnadrochit Hotel Fire!
The fire was spotted in the wee small hours of the morning by a patrolling police constable. The Drumnadrochit fire Unit responded and of course were first on the scene. On arrival the volunteers found a well established fire involving the ground floor and stair case. When the appliances from Inverness wholetime arrived the three floors were involved. Ultimately 5 fire appliances attended and six jets were required to bring the fire under control. A number of factors such as the considerable size of the fire before being detected, open fire doors, the existence of continuous voids throughout the construction, allowed rapid and hidden fire spread throughout the building, and severe weather conditions all combined to create very arduous conditions which made great demands on all crews involved. There was a very real risk to firemen as lots of slates kept falling off the roof. The helmets the firefighters wore paid there way that night.
Still with 1984 the equipment the volunteers had now included more hose, pump, assortment of extending roof ladders, also on a rack behind the garage were fire beaters, fire extinguishers. 

<PHOTO> Sheildaig Fire Equipment Garage 


Every now and then the fire unit have a space in the above local newsletter, that tell what has been happening with the fire unit and to state what calls the unit has dealt with. 

Bulletin: 1982. The unit was called out on 21 occasions to attend Fire’s and Road Traffic Accidents over the last year.
Members have been trying to persuade the Firemaster of the Highland Region to have a van based at Drumnadrochit.
This would help reduce the time taken to reach an incident.
In case of fire dial 999 and ask for the Fire Brigade. 

1983. The following members of Glenurquhart Fire Brigade gained Fire Service Long Service and Good Conduct Medals:- Sandy Whyte, Donnie Macdonald, Ronnie Mackintosh, Alistair Menzies.
Congratulations to them all from the community, and particularly from the British Legion Club, who drew the attention of the Editor to the awards. 

1985. At last after many years of asking, The Highland & Islands Fire Service have stationed a van in the village. This is equipped with an extending and a roof ladder along with a pump and all the hoses required to contain a fire until the full time service arrives from Inverness.
The arrival of the van has given a great boost to the local members who take great pride in turning out within a few minutes of the siren being sounded and having the fire extinguished before the arrival of the Inverness appliance.
Since July when we started using the van, the unit has turned out to 22 incidents, ranging from Chimney, Heath and Scrub fires, to Road Accidents, and one case of burnt sausages. The woman householder did the right thing when she found her house full of smoke. It could well have been a more serious fire than just a few bangers.
The members would like to thank the Community Association for paying for the cost of the foundation of the garage, and also those who helped obtain planning permission.
I am sure you will join me in thanking J. Cameron, Balmacaan, who has retired from the service after a number of years.
If you require the Fire Brigade always dial 999 and ask for the fire brigade. Give your name and address and phone number and say where the fire is. All messages are tape recorded, so that HQ can refer to it if necessary. The Local Units are then mobilised.

1987. Over the last year, the unit were called upon 14 times to two Road Traffic Accidents, Three Heath fires, One Temporary Accommodation Unit which was completely destroyed, One Garden Shed, Six Chimney Fires, and One Minor Household Fire.
At a small gathering at The Drumnadrochit Hotel, suitably inscribed tankards were presented by R.E. Mackintosh - one of our longest serving members to John Cameron who resigned last year and Jimmy Cameron, who resigned this year due to health reasons. We all wish Jimmy a speedy recovery.
We welcome to our ranks local men Billy Reid and James Cameron. 


In the early hours of the 16th a fire of serious nature started in the Drumnadrochit Hotel.
It was spotted by a local Police Constable on routine patrol.
The fire brigade was called and the Volunteer Fire Party as they were then were turned out. (Drumnadrochit received there appliance in March of the same year, but even if the vols had the van it would not have made any real difference to the controlling of the blaze.)
The fire spread rapidly through hidden voids in the roof and walls and eventually the fire consumed the ground floor, 1st floor, 2nd floor and Roof.
There was a very real danger of injury to the firefighters on scene with slates falling of the roof of the burning hotel.
The back up appliances had difficulty in getting to the scene as the weather was bad at the time of year.
This highlighted the importance of having Small Voluntary Fire Unit’s and Parties in rural and remote areas.
At this time there were two other serious fires in the Highlands which had to be contained by local volunteer firemen for long periods of time until back up Retained and Wholetime fire appliances could get through to assist.
These delays were due to weather and it is fortunate that no one was injured or trapped in the three separate fires of which two were accidents and one was a case of arson at a large house in the Kildonan area of Sutherland.
The Kildonan blaze was attended by the Volunteer Fire Party from Helmsdale, until fire appliances from Golspie, Dornoch, and Lairg could make an attendance at the scene.
The Drumnadrochit Blaze required 5 fire appliances from Inverness, Nairn and Dingwall (Wholetime and Retained stations) 

Drumnadrochit Hotel,
Beside Monster Exhibition,

To Attend.            A12 Drumnadrochit V.Fire.P
                                A1 Inverness WrL, WrL, WrL.
                                A2 Nairn WrL.
                                B1 Dingwall WrL. 

<PHOTO> Sumburgh Community Fire Vehicle (MST713R) 

LIST OF INCIDENTS ATTENDED   1974 to 1990 ( I haven’t typed them out in this copy) 

<PHOTO> Kilchoan C.F.V. (MST683Y)
<PHOTO> Tarbert C.F.V. (XAS724V)
<PHOTO> Station A12: Drunadrochit with appliance (A991PST) looking out. This is a typical design of Voluntary Station in the Highland & Islands Fire Brigade Area.
<PHOTO> This is A12:1 (A991PST) It is called a Community Fire Vehicle or C.F.V. for short. The call sign A12:1 means A= means the station is in ‘A’ Division, 12=the fire station number,: 1= the first fire engine out of the fire station which in all the mobile volunteer stations is only one away.
<PHOTO> Interior of A12:1. Equipment includes, approx 8 rolls of hose, key and bar for hydrants, hose branches, 50ft line, Alcon pump, 6m ladder, roof ladder, first aid kit, chimney rods, fire blanket, dry powder extinguisher, suction hose, petrol can, fire beaters.
<PHOTO> Fire uniform worn by the A12 firemen, and volunteer firefighters all over the Highlands and most of Scotland.
<PHOTO> Drumnadrochit Volunteer Fire Unit held a dinner at New Clansman Hotel, Loch Ness side last week. Two members of the unit were retiring after 38 years service each: Donnie MacDonald, leading fireman (seated left), and sub officer Sandy Whyte (seated centre). Presenting their medals was Highland & Islands Firemaster Donnie Grant (next seated). Long Service medal award recipient Willie MacLennan is seated right. With them to celebrate the evening were other fire service personnel and friends. 

As you can one once a local man has joined the fire service unit they are usually in it for a very long time this as it is a volunteer fire station is of course totally voluntary.
To get in to a vol stn there first must be a vacancy for you at the present moment Drumnadrochit have the full quota of men that are required for a stn that is classed as volunteer. 


UNIT MEMBERS:                Sub Officer                            Alistair Menzies.
1989                                        Leading Fireman                   Donald Fraser.
                                                Fireman                                  Gordon Menzies.
                                                Fireman                                  Alan Crighton.
                                                Fireman                                  Willie Maclennan,
                                                Fireman                                  Nigel Maclennan,
                                                Fireman                                  John Robertson.
                                                Fireman                                  James Cameron.
                                                Fireman                                  Billy Reid.
                                                Fireman                                  David Menzies. 

<PHOTO> Longhope Light Fire Appliance (B682VST)
<PHOTO> Glenelg Fire Equipment Garage
<PHOTO> Dunvegan Vol Fire Station (B683VST) 



Mrs. J.L. Mackenzie, Mr. R.L. Swann, Sub Officer A. Menzies, Mr. M. Smith, Leading Fireman D. MacDonald (Retd), Sub Officer A. Whyte (Retd), Firemaster D. Grant, Mr. S. Allan, Other Drumnadrochit personnel (Mainly Fireman G. Menzies!) for putting up with my questions from times past. Sub Officer ‘Peem’ MacDonald — Stn  A9 Kyle of Lochalsh. 


                                                Calurn M McLean. 

<PHOTO> Kyleakin Fire Equipment Garage.

Copyright 1990 by Calum M McLean.




Establishment 2000





1 Light Fire Appliance

1 Sub Officer



2 Leading Firefighters



9 Firefighters













20th SEPTEMBER 2003



















1400 Hours     Welcome                                 Firemaster Brian Murray, QFSM


1410 Hours     Opening Address                   Drew McFarlane Slack, MBE


1420 Hours     Official Opening                     Mr Sandy Whyte, BEM


1430 Hours     Dedication and Prayer           Rev Moses Donaldson


1445 Hours     Photographs


1500 Hours     Refreshments

(The Official Opening Programme)


If you know of any mistakes in this or have any additional information please let me know.


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