A visit to a real-life Fallout Vault

Back in the summer I found out that there’s a decommissioned nuclear bunker not far from where I live in Edinburgh, just at about the same time I heard the announcement of Fallout 4. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to write an article on what life in a real Fallout Vault would be like – as well as a good excuse for a day out.

The entrance to the bunker is disguised as a farmhouse.

The entrance to the bunker is disguised as a farmhouse.

The bunker’s owners were kind enough to let me in for free, and I spent an enjoyable morning on one of the hottest days of the year wandering around underground, fascinated and appalled in equal measure. It still boggles my mind to think of how close we came to nuclear annihilation – close enough for the government to deem it necessary to build a network of huge regional command bunkers anyway. It’s even scarier to think that World War III could have kicked off due to a faulty missile detection system.

The sloping tunnel down to the bunker. The kink at the end of the tunnel is to deflect the force of a blast.

The sloping tunnel down to the bunker. The kink at the end of the tunnel is to deflect the force of a blast.

So, what would life have been like in a real Fallout Vault? Pretty damn horrible, as it turns out. Even though the Scottish bunker is the size of two football pitches, it would have been a squeeze to fit the allotted 300 people in there, and everyone would have had to share beds by sleeping in shifts. I imagine it would get pretty stinky pretty quickly, even with the state of the art air filtration system. More to the point, morale would have been incredibly low, as the inhabitants would be all too aware of the utter devastation in the world above – and then there’s the risk of disease, along with the limited medical supplies. Definitely not as much fun as the video game, then.

Check out the finished article below:

Inside Scotland’s Real-Life Fallout Vault

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