The Lost City of Lenabo Woods

Demolished building in Lenabo Woods

Originally posted 2020.

Just like everyone else at the moment during the Corona Virus Crisis, I am not able to gallivant around filling my phone with pictures of interesting places. However, during my daily scroll to find #goodthings to post on Instagram and Twitter, I found photos of Lenabo Woods taken in 2017. I had meant to blog about the site back then, but didn’t get round to it.

So, take my hand, virtually, hygienically, and we’ll walk through what was once the setting of Britain’s most northerly airship base.

Lenabo woods near Longside

RNAS Longside was active from 1916 to 1920. 1500 personnel were based at the station and the site boasted a swimming pool, a theatre, shops, a church and gas works. All of those buildings are long gone, but some things remain.

Officers' Mess in Lenabo Woods

The above wall is thought to have been part of the officers’ mess. Memorial plaque below:

Memorial plaque in Lenabo Woods

The fireplace within:

fireplace at Lenabo

Throughout the woods, remnants of various structures are to be seen, such as these airship moorings:

airship moorings at Lenabo

Buildings swept away:

remains of a WW1 building at Lenabo

The site was known locally as RNAS Lenabo and the ships referred to as ‘Lenabo Soo’, soo being the local name for female pigs!

It’s fun to imagine the bustling community that lived at Lenabo for those four years, swimming in the pool, attending the theatre, and, of course, maintaining and operating the airships.

Well, this has been a pleasant virtual walk today (I’ll let your hand go now) and Lenabo will be a good place to explore in person again once things have calmed down.

Building remains on Lenabo Woods

I forgot to mention in my last post that I’ve made a Pinterest board for Fireflies and Chocolate (my next historical novel). Pinterest is a good virtual place in these times too.

Thanks to Reading is my Yoga for this beautiful #bookstagram picture and review of The Mermaid and the Bear: “While the first part put an almost constant smile on my face, the second part made me cry ugly tears.”

See the whole review here and the book is now free on Kindle Unlimited.

The Mermaid and the Bear, bookstagram photo
Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, out 2021

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, out April 1st 2021, was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

See the publisher’s Press Release here




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91 Replies to “The Lost City of Lenabo Woods”

  1. Ailish, you struck a chord for me with this post, focusing as it did on military history. Interesting place. Thanks for the historical context. Hope you’re doing better.

  2. Nice post, Ailish. The photos remind me of two places I used to go. The first was the remains of camp where members of a corp that FDR put into operation during the Depression in the United States. There wasn’t much left in the 1950s but we still looked for interesting tidbits. We also found musket balls from earlier times.
    The other place is in the Patapsco State Park which divides Baltimore County and Howard County. During Hurricane Agnes back in 1972. Several small towns along the Patapsco River were drowned by the hurricane, so the State decided to buy all the farms and turn the area into a park. We used to ride our horses in the park and would across half of a basement wall, or the bottom part of a chimney and sometimes we’d run across and ironing board still set up to iron something. Great grist for the writer’s mill. Thanks for sharing.

  3. What an amazing hidden place… I love living in this country – there have been so many generations of feet who have trodden this land before me. What a comfort! Thank you for sharing these pics at this difficult time Ailish:)

  4. How fortunate you chose to post this now. In my current book I’m including some history and alternate history about the airships in Scotland and I researched Montrose, but I didn’t realize the larger base was actually at this site. Research from afar is often difficult. I wish I could come to Scotland in person and walk the areas in my story and meet people and hear stories and absorb the reality of the place. Your blog is always a delight, and it helps me see and understand many things about Scotland and life there. I enjoyed your first book and I’m looking forward to the next one!

    I’m getting close to having my next book ready for beta readers. Would you or perhaps someone you know have interest in reading it to give feedback on the Scottish expressions and descriptions that are included? I want to be as authentic as possible. I’ve found such readers to help with my French and Italian characters in past books. I’d be happy to return the favor of a beta read for you perhaps? Or let me know what might work.
    Thanks! -Sheri

    1. Oh, I love this sort of synchronicity! If you drop me a line via my contact form when you’re ready for beta readers, I’m sure we can sort something out.

      1. Thank you! I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m hoping for some time in May to complete the draft. If all goes well. As you likely know, fiction with historical reference can be very time consuming due to research. But I think its mostly in order to move ahead now. I’ll be in touch soon.

  5. Thanks Ailish. Enjoyed a lockdown virtual visit to this fascinating site via your post. Something kind of poignant about a once busy site becoming reclaimed by ivy and moss.

  6. Just wanted to let you know I nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award. If blogger awards don’t fit in with your blog’s style, no problem. I mainly wanted to express my appreciation for the beautiful images and musings you share.

  7. Hey, I absolutely adore Scotland and its nature and I am so glad I came across your beautiful blog! What nice pictures… I meant to go Scotland this year but due to the covid 19 I had to cancel my trip but I really enjoy reading your bloh, it’s amazing!

  8. Great virtual tour! Strange that they would build a base, use it for only 4 years and then abandon. But I’m sure they had their reasons. Interesting to see the forest reclaiming the ruins. Nature is so powerful.

  9. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. Nothing like learning a bit of new history from abroad. Nothing better than finding a good dirt path to dust off your witch’s hat.

  10. Interesting post. Here in Colorado we have something similar near a town called Leadville where they set up a now abandoned base to train American boys for Winter combat in Europe during World War II. For better or worse it led some of the returning soldiers to start our ski industry.

  11. Very good post. Highly informative for travellers who want to visit the lost city of Lenabo Woods. Nicely written and keep up the good work.

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