Birmingham UFO Group Case Report
Author: Dave Hodrien
Release Date: 17/12/2019
In his twenties Rob would regulary go fishing with Mick on the pier at Helensburgh, 10 miles from Dumbarton. They would often stay up the whole night fishing for cod and then travel home in the morning.
On a Saturday evening in November 1988 they caught the train to Helensburgh with the intention of fishing till the following morning. They got there around 5pm. There were lots of other people around on the pier at that time but as the evening went on there were less and less around until it was just them standing in the darkness. They had warm clothes and a bottle of Whiskey to see them through the night. It was overcast with low lying cloud cover but quite still.
Behind them at the edge of the town Rob heard the familiar sound of taxis leaving the nearby taxi rank. This meant that the pubs had closed and it was about midnight. He then began to hear a regular ticking noise in the distance.
He moved his head around and worked out that the sound was coming from the direction of Rhu along the coastline to the North West. The noise began to get louder. Rob then realised what it was. He said to Mick “Do you know what that is? That’s a helicopter! It’s actually coming down the water’s edge.”
They then caught sight of it in the distance against the base of the cloud layer which was reflecting the lights of Helensburgh. They soon noticed that there were no navigation lights visible on it, it appeared to be flying dark. As it got closer they realised it was a military helicopter and that it was flying at full speed, with its nose dipped down towards the ground. Rob exclaimed “This thing’s coming directly towards us! If he doesn’t elevate soon he’s going to crash straight into this pier!”
As soon as he had said this it started to gain altitude. It was now only about a hundred feet away from them along the beach. As it got close to the pier both Rob and Mick looked up to watch it fly overehead. It was now that they noticed a disc-shaped object in the sky directly over them! It looked completely black silhouetted against the cloud. It appeared to be about 300 feet above them and about 12 feet in diameter.
The disc remained motionless for several seconds but then suddenly began moving away from them to the South West. As it began to head out across the estuary it picked up speed until it was going a little faster than the helicopter was flying at (Rob estimates about 50mph faster). They watched as the helicopter turned, clearly giving chase to the object. Both the disc and the helicopter flew off into the distance in the direction of Greenock.
After seeing the UFO both Rob and Mick became very un-easy and felt a little vulnerable in their current location. They decided to reel their fishing rods in and head into the town. However it was now 12.30am and all the trains and buses to Dumbarton had stopped running. At the Co-Op on Sinclair Street they found a loading bay for delivery trucks and decided to rest there for the remainder of the night until morning. This felt preferable to remaining on the pier, despite the fact that they had nothing to do to pass the time, which highlights how uncomfortable they were feeling with the situation.
In the morning when the trains finally began to run again they caught an early one back home.
Further along the coastline North West of Rhu is Gare Loch. The A814 runs along the Northern edge of the Loch. The road is usually very quiet as the only people who tend to use it are MOD staff on the way to Fastlane submarine base which is situated at the North West end of the Loch or residents of the sporadic properties in the area. A third of the way along the edge of the Loch is a gradually sloping hill which leads to Blairvadach stately home. This is used by the Council Office Planning Department.
Part of the grounds of the estate were used for camping, and Mick’s dad Jimmy owned a caravan there. When he wasn’t using it himself, Jimmy would let Mick, his brother Raymond and Rob stay in it overnight. They would regularly take a boat out from Blairvadach Outdoor Education Centre, go out fishing on the loch in the day and then return to the caravan for the evening.
One weekend they were out fishing when it begin to spit with a light rain. They decided to call it a day before the rain got any heavier. They tied up the boat at the boating centre and walked across the road to the caravan field. On arrival they put some music on and sat down for a relaxing evening with a few drinks.
The main window end window of the van faced in a North Westerly direction with a view of part of the field including the six foot high hedge that separated it from the A814. There were also two smaller side windows. The curtains of the right side window were closed but the main window and left side window were uncovered.
It was between 11pm-midnight and very dark outside. However it was possible to see the road due to the occasional street lights along it and the lights from the nearby Outdoor Education Centre. Looking out of the main window, Raymond suddenly remarked “Look at this guy here!” He drew Rob’s attention to a figure in the distance on the opposite side of the hedge. The figure appeared to be slowly heading in their direction and on the path alongside the edge of the road. But something wasn’t right. The figure seemed to be much too tall. It was possible to see them down to their waistline. But the hedge itself was 6 foot high, and was also at an elevated height of several feet from the road, so this meant that the figure would have to be about 15 foot in height.