Most of the WW2 coastal look outs (Coastal watching Service) are situated on the east side of Shetland facing what was occupied Norway so its a bit unusual to find a look out at Eshaness which is a remote spot out on the west side of Shetland mainland.
During WW2 it may have been a good few hours to get from Lerwick to Eshaness so this look out post would have been very important. The view from the hut covers a large area to the west and also to the south including the approach to Muckle Roe and Brae, possible landing sites.
This remote spot was manned by just a few men including Andrew Johnson, a local living down in Eshaness. Jeannie Johnson was a family member remembers him telling her that in summer the midges drove the men mad.
There is lots of wet peatland surrounding the lookout post.
One winter he was about to go on duty up on the hill, he and a couple of others arrived by lorry and parked up by the lighthouse it was snowing heavy and the wind made it difficult to see. They set off just as a blizzard hit and the men got separated, Andrew couldn't see very far and was using a staff to help him walk in terrible conditions.
He lost his sense of direction and nearly fell over the cliff, he couldn't feel any ground in front of him using his staff. By luck he made his way back and found the lighthouse buildings , then the lorry where he stayed until the blizzard cleared. The other couple of men had decided to just sit it out and wait for the blizzard to ease.
Life in the hut was very basic and cold, room to make a brew and fire to keep them warm which made condition smoky. Close by a larger building was surrounded by a blast wall, it was here that the radio transmitted was housed
Remains of the supports to the antenna can still be seen and the base to the inner building . The look out post was made of reinforced concrete, thick enough to be bullet proof. Another small radio room was situated close to the mast.
Life here was at a slow pace and it was often difficult to concentrate. On a couple of occasions German planes flew over but other than that there was very little to talk about. Duties lasted for 8 hours and the observers felt this was more than enough on cold dark days and nights
Any sightings of military activity was recorded in a log book and reported via the radio
These observation posts were often constructed by the Observers themselves and this is possibly what happened at this remote outpost and well into 1940
These observers were more than likely were part of Shetland Defence Company which contained mostly WW1 veterans , more than 1000 enrolled, it later changed to the Home Guard. (The Giving Years 1991. James W Irvine)
Eight defensive systems had been identified in May 1940 with the one at Mavis Grind the closest to Eshaness