Helicopter production – in Claggan

Douglas Barr with his miniature Sea King Search and Rescue helicopter. Photograph: Iain Ferguson alba.photos.

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Keeping occupied in the ongoing lockdown may be posing a challenge for some, but Douglas Barr has found plenty to do by setting up a helicopter production line in his Claggan home.

A keen model maker since he was a boy, Douglas’ subject of choice was the Sea King Search and Rescue machine which until recently was a well known sight in the Lochaber skies, buzzing around the Ben to help those in difficulty.

The American designed Sea King also served in air forces across the globe in different guises and colour schemes, many of which have been accurately recreated in miniature on the Claggan ‘line’.

While locals will remember the full sized Sea Kings in Red and Grey as operated by the Navy and in bright yellow RAF colours, the latter is one if his particular favourites due to its historical importance.

As ‘XZ585’, the helicopter flew its last sortie in Fort William on March 31 2015, before being transported to the RAF Museum in Hendon, where it is now on permanent display.

Douglas said: ‘At an early meeting of Lochaber Model Association in the 1980s, an older member complained he was running out of space for his 40 helicopter models.

‘I remember thinking I wish I had 40 helicopters, but now I fully understand what he meant.’

Douglas and his model making activities are featured in greater depth in the March issue of Lochaber Life.