Drew Macleod‘It was just a huge adventure playground’
Duration: 15m 17s
Recorded: 25 July 2019
About this recording
“We lived on the airport and for young kids it was a total and utter adventure,” says Drew Macleod as he looks back on some of his childhood exploits.
His father had a reserved occupation with the Civil Aviation Authority and for the first 15 years of Drew’s life the family home was on the Wick aerodrome site, amid the remnants of the wartime RAF base.
Drew recalls how he and his brothers and their pals made the most of their surroundings, regardless of the potential dangers. He talks of clambering up an 80ft water tank, crawling into an old boiler, cycling on the runways, daring each other to enter a pitch-dark hangar with pigeons fluttering around, exploring the network of connecting Nissen huts, avoiding treacherous ponds of stagnant water and staying one step ahead of any watchman who tried to chase them.
He remembers using dirty old air-raid shelters as gang huts and one day finding a blackboard full of the names of World War Two air crew.
Drew also recalls meeting pop group the Hollies at the airport and getting their autographs, and he describes how his father was awarded the BEM for his work during Operation Snowdrop.
The Macleods remained at the aerodrome until 1968 when they moved to Glamis Road.
Drew and his wife Rhona have lived for many years in Hill Avenue, a stone’s throw from what is now Wick John O’Groats Airport.
He makes the observation that surely no other part of Wick has changed so much over the years.