Retained Unit.


1/2/1973 to 20/3/1978 Wooden Shed beside Summer Isles Hotel Bar
20/3/1978 to 3/4/1984 Wooden Shed behind Roads Dept. Garage
3/4/1984 to 23/2/1997 Wooden garage, Polbain                                                                                                               Photo
23/2/1997 to 31/8/2002 Garage at Roads Depot next to toilets, ACHILTIBUIE.                                                            Photo
31/8/2002 Village opposite the War Memorial, ACHILTIBUIE.                                                                Photo    Station & opening




1/2/1973 to 2/2/2003 Sub Officer Alastair R. Armitstead
2003 to Sub Officer Stuart Edwards



3/4/1984 to 5/4/2000 A977PAS Ford Escort 55/HIFB ULFA
5/4/2000 K186LST DAF 400/HIFB LFA
2001 to 28/2/2007 X921RST LDV Convoy/HIFB LFA
28/2/2007 S771JST Isuzu NPR 6.2/HIFB MWrL
31/10/2009 R984LFE Volvo FL6-14/John Dennis/HIFRS WrL

R984LFE is an Ex Lincolnshire machine.



1973 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 established 1st February 1973.

Unit went mobile 3rd April 1984.

Station call sign was B14 before being changed to B42.

2000/2001 Unit upgraded to BA Status.

2001 New station being built.

The new station was Officially Opened on Saturday 31st August 2002 at 5pm at which light refreshments were served and the festivities continued with a Ceilidh in the Village Hall at 8pm.

Sub Officer Alistair R. Armitstead retired with 30 yrs & 1 days service at midnight on Sunday 2nd February 2003, which was unique in the Brigade according to the Firemaster because he had served 30 years as Officer in Charge.

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

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

Auchiltibuie had a call sign of B42 in The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, this was changed to T42, the new National Call Sign, when the Control at Inverness closed on 6/12/2016 and moved to Dundee.


Brief History

By Alastair Armitstead

Unit formed, small wooden shed situated to the east of Summer Isles Hotel Bar.
The original wooden shed was moved to the rear of Highland Regional Council, Road’s Department Garage at Badentarbet Cross Roads. If I remember rightly the brigade lorry came from Headquarters to provide the necessary transport.
We were equipped with one of the first of the Brigade’s three Ultra Light Fire Appliances, a Ford Escort van Reg Number A977PAS. To house this we were given the use rent free of a domestic garage in Polbain adjacent to “Castlehill” by the owner of that property, Miss Johan Macleod. After a short time we turned this garage through 90° so it faced the road for easier access. (The other two ULFAs went to Drumnadrochit and Bonar Bridge). Our ‘old’ shed was then sent out to the Western Isles to replace one that had blown away in the previous winter gales, can’t remember exactly where.
Courtesy of the then Roads engineer Bill Robins, whose brother was an ADO with Strathclyde, we were given the use of the vacant side of the Roads Department Garage. This was partitioned off and we moved into what we considered a huge facility, with room to actually walk round our appliance (still out faithful ULFA).
We were equipped with LDV Light Fire Appliance K186LST (This was temporary until we got our “own” LFA Reg number X921RST on the run in 2000) and our old friend A977PAS came off the run and passed to the training school as a hack and finally went for scrap in ? (date to be confirmed)
We moved into the purpose built Achiltibuie Fire Station which was opened by Highland Council Converer David Green, an ex Strathperrer & Achiltibuie Volunteer firefighter, in the presence of Highland and Islands Firemaster Brian Murray and Councillor Margaret Patterson, member of the Fire Board. On this occasion the Brigade presented Sub Officer Alastair Armitstead with a statuette as a mark of his efforts and endeavours since 1973 which had led to the eventual upgrading and provision of the new station.






JANUARY 29th 2003

Those of you who have been with us for more than a year or so will no doubt remember that about this time of the year I used to produce an annual “News Letter”, which regularly and religiously cajoled and encouraged you to turn out for training and to stick in for the unit’s upgrading. Looking back in the bowels of the computer I see how the theme was the training dates and how important it was that we turned up and hopefully how we might one day have our Station and BA and a LFA. Well as I leave you (unwillingly) and as I attend my last training night (tonight), all these aspirations have come to fruition. We train weekly [no need to remind you of  dates anymore]. We are in an excellent facility [indeed better than we might have had]. You have pagers [not the same need to list the phone numbers], BA, and a LFA.
At this uncertain time in the Fire Service, of strikes and counter measures being threatened by Mr Prescott, we are indeed lucky that the Firemaster and his Staff had the confidence in us to back us in our demands and last year everything came together and we moved into the new station. Who knows what might of happened had it not been built in 2002. I hope that the remaining forty odd communities still waiting, do get their crews upgraded and I ask you to remember them and support them in a positive way. In this day and age all communities have the right to decent fire cover and to achieve that the Firefighters providing that cover deserve no less than what we now have.
So this is a news letter that is different to those that went before insomuch that I am not shouting for better gear, personal fire kit, a decent machine, better accommodation, etc, etc. This is news letter to say thank you to you, the crew that have supported these appeals to the Divisional Commanders, the Boss, the Community Council, the MP, Convener David Green, to name just a few. You might say how did I support you ? You supported me, and the rest of the crew by being a member of the Achiltibuie Volunteers/Auxiliaries and turning out for training in a leaky shed, in winter, by being keen, and by that showing HQ Staff that we were keen and worthy of the upgrade. If you look at the list of members past and present in the Station you will see forty five names on it, some sadly no longer with us. Some of these folks served for longer than others, some with more interest and enthusiasm but all did their bit as part of a team. Time moves on and I have had the honour to be in charge of the team since DO John Howie asked the original crew to elect their OIC. I was the choice and for the last thirty years come Saturday next, I have tried to do my best for the unit and the community, which is why we are here. I will admit that I am sorry to go and I have enjoyed it tremendously (even in the rain and midges) but age counts in the Fire Service in the UK so my time is nearly up. I leave the unit in Stuart Edward’s hands with Ali and Donnie as L/Ffs.  Temporary promotions for, Stuart to Sub Officer in Charge, and Donnie to L/Ff are effective from Friday 31st January. They will be formally approved following a visit from District/HQ Staff in the very near future. I have pleasure in handing over their rank slides and markings tonight and wish them well. I know that you will work with Stuart and his L/Ffs to the same standard as you have with me and again thanks for all your efforts over the past years. I never thought that I would see so many changes for the better nor did I even consider that I might end up serving for thirty years when I did sign on for the hourly rate of 70p with the then Northern Area Fire Brigade. Again thank you to you all and thank you to the Officers, Control Staff and support staff who have worked with me in the Northern Area, Northern, and as we are now called Highland and Islands Fire Brigade since the 1st February 1973.

Alastair Armitstead
Sub Officer Achiltibuie




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


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