Anthrax Bay

Rob Outram

Inverness, United Kingdom

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Gruinard Bay at sunset. Gruinard was the site of a second world war anthrax experiment by the British Government. Ever since learning about this experiment I wanted a shot like this.

From Wikipedia:
“In 1942, during the second world war, Gruinard was the site of a highly successful biological warfare test by British military scientists from Porton Down.6 At that time there was an investigation by the British government into the feasibility of an attack using anthrax, In order to contain and limit contamination a remote and uninhabited island was required. After a survey, Gruinard was deemed suitable.

Eighty sheep were taken to the island, and bombs filled with anthrax spores were exploded close to where selected groups were tethered. The sheep became infected with anthrax and began to die within days of exposure.

After the tests were completed British scientists concluded that a large-scale release of anthrax spores would thoroughly pollute German cities, rendering them uninhabitable for decades afterwards.

Decontamination attempts on the island following the biological warfare testing were unsuccessful due to the durability of anthrax spores. As a result Gruinard Island was quarantined for many years afterwards. Visits to the island were strictly prohibited.

Starting in 1986 a determined effort was made to decontaminate the island, with 280 tonnes of formaldehyde solution diluted in seawater being sprayed over all 520 acres (2 km²) of the island, and the worst-contaminated topsoil around the dispersal site being removed. A flock of sheep was then placed on the island, and remained healthy. On April 24, 1990, after 48 years of quarantine, junior defence minister Michael Neubert visited the island and announced its safety by removing the warning signs.6 As of October 2007 there have been no cases of anthrax in the island flock."

Camera Model Name
Canon EOS 450D
Tv(Shutter Speed)
Av(Aperture Value)
ISO Speed
EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Focal Length
18.0 mm

57 51 17 N 5 27 09 W

Artwork Comments

  • Kelly Robinson
  • Rob Outram
  • Colleen Milburn
  • joak
  • Rob Outram
  • Alistair35
  • Rob Outram
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  • Scott  d'Almeida
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