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Friday, 30 October 2015

Skrunda 1, Latvia - October 2015

If you drive down the country P116 road in Latvia you come to a bus stop next to a concrete side road into the trees.

Tin Dog, Tbolt, Darmon Ritcher and myself pulled up in the car only to be greeted by a number of the locals.

One of the locals, a Bill Clinton like chap, stepped forward to our car and began to question us in Latvian. "English" I piped up and a comical exercise in why perhaps it is a good idea to own a phrase book occurred. I decided to act dumb and made bird like wing movements with my hands "we bird watchers", a long pause and then Bill Clinton's  reply was something like "no birds, abandoned military base". We thought he was kind of beckoning us in to take a look - so far so good, we drove on down the concrete road.

We parked up a little hesitant, Skrunda had a checkered history of access with stories of guard dogs and heavy security only short of, to quote "sharks and laser beams". Skrunda had then become a free for all for the locals but then had recently been sold - access today would seem to be wide open, as we had been advised.

Skrunda 1

This Russian secret military base was finally abandoned in 1998 and is rather reminiscent of Pripyat without the Ferris wheel and radioactivity.

Skrunda 1

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Onto a roof for a view of the area

Skrunda 1, Latvia

It was about this time we spotted a security van driving through the site, thankfully it finally left but we upped our game, given that we had simply walked in through an open gate we hadn't expected a security van. Had Bill Clinton and his band of locals set us up for a big fall?

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1

Skrunda 1

Target 1, the shooting range - no pun intended.

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Then it went a little bit shit, Darmon spotted two chaps in high viz, we scoped our car and parked slap bang next to it was a police van !!! Time to move sharpish - these chaps are mostly armed and like a good large bribe - we didn't know if we should be in this place or not and stupidly we didn't know our legal rights - not that this means a great deal when you may be face to face with a couple of bent coppers with guns.....

Into the cover of trees and into the shadow of buildings we nervously made a rather rapid move towards the far end of the site taking shelter one of the buildings.

Darmon instructed us all to swap the memory cards in our cameras for fresh blank ones, shortly after we took the shots from target 2.

Skrunda 1

Skrunda 1

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Time to move bloody sharpish, we could see the coppers moving from building to building, we moved to the far end of the site, in a rather feverish few minutes - being stalked by armed police was not part of the holiday pitch to Tbolt and Tin Dog. Mrs Tbolt and Mrs Tin Dog would never forgive me if this all went tits up.

Skrunda 1

 Skrunda 1

Skrunda 1

Shelter taken, the decision was taken to exit and we fled over the border to Lithuania.

Skrunda 1, Latvia

Skrunda 1


A rare 10/10 - a return visit required as so much more to see.



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