THRUMSTER is a former BBC transmission site near Wick in the Scottish Highlands that used to broadcast BBC 405-line television and BBC National FM radio to the Caithness area.

The site was built within the grounds of an existing Post Office facility which is now under the ownership of British Telecom and it is located within a few miles of the Rumster Forest UHF main station, from where all high-power broadcast services to the area are currently transmitted.

Although Thrumster has not carried any broadcast services since 1984, the site continued to be used as an engineer base by BBC Transmission and by their successor following privatisation, Crown Castle International, but it is not clear whether this is still the case with Arqiva.















The Thrumster transmitter was built by the BBC to bring BBC 405-line Television and FM radio to Caithness, the most northerly and (at the time) the last significant area of mainland Scotland yet to be served by the corporation, other than by fringe reception of the preceding stations at Meldrum and Rosemarkie.

The Thrumster site was already an established Post Office microwave station for land and sea path-based telephone links.  The BBC constructed their own dedicated transmitter and staff building on the site but were allowed to use the existing Post Office mast to mount transmitting aerials.  The BBC did however construct their own structure for receiving aerials that picked up the off-air signal from Meldrum.

An initial low-power television service from Thrumster commenced on 15 December 1958 with transmission on VHF Channel 1.

The permament full power television service commenced alongside the start of BBC FM radio services on 1 March 1960.

Thrumster was developed in conjunction with the Orkney station, the latter supplementing coverage from the former across mainland areas as well as serving the Orkney Islands.  Orkney commenced an initial low-power service on 22 December 1958, one week after Thrumster, with both full-power television and radio in service by 2 May 1960.

The Independent Television Authority (ITA) constructed a station near to Thrumster at Rumster Forest in 1965, utilising a much higher mast in order to serve both Caithness and the Orkneys on 405-line VHF Band III and eventually the mainland part of the area on 625-line UHF.

With a UHF-colour service from Rumster Forest in operation from December 1973, Thrumster continued with BBC1 on 405-line VHF until 4 April 1983.  The following year, BBC National FM radio services migrated to Rumster Forest with the changeover to mixed polarised transmission, leaving Thrumster without any broadcast services thereafter.  This position has remained to the present day.  





Above and below:  The old BBC station building sited alongside current British Telecom facilities.  The old Crown Castle sign is still present and just about visible in the image below, which is enlarged here.











Above: The main mast structure at Thrumster.  Click here to enlarge.  






Thrumster, Scottish Highlands, KW1 5TT

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Arqiva (Legacy: BBC/Crown Castle/NGW)

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No current broadcast services - all area transmissions from Rumster Forest.




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