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Report - Nobel Explosives: The Power Plant, Ardeer – October 2015

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Idle Hands, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Nobel's Explosives Company Ltd

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    There are good reasons why the ICI Nobel site isn’t covered more, the main one being that it’s an absolute bastard to get to. I’m not even joking: Once you get near you have to navigate a vast wasteland that borders various live sites covered by the 2005 Explosives Act and the best you can do is follow your GPS through the trees and try to stay well away from anything that might attract unwanted attention.
    I’ve had this on my ‘to do’ list for around four years and never got round to it – partly because I hadn’t realised there was a power plant on the site. But when the connection was made I scoured maps galore to work out where the boundaries were, where the plant was and which route would likely give us enough cover to get there unseen. Almost an hour and a half later after hacking through scrubland, traversing a quarry and negotiating some severe terrain – not to mention being bitten by ticks and savaged by gorse bushes – we crested a sand dune and our destination lay before us.​


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    The remoteness and natural topography of the Ardeer Peninsula lent itself perfectly to the requirements of the British Dynamite Factory when it was established here in 1871 – far enough from a civilisation that remained wary of such inventions and plentiful enough in sand for the construction of bunkers around the many buildings dotted about the 100 acre site.​

    In 1876 strands of the company were consolidated and became Nobel’s Explosives Company Ltd, while in 1926 (and some years after the death of its founder) it became a founding member of ICI. In 2002 the company was acquired by Troon Investments Ltd. At its peak around 13,000 people worked on the site.​

    Industrial Goliath and man of good intentions Alfred Nobel was by all accounts so perturbed by the suggestion that his discovery might be used to fuel ill intentions that he established the Nobel prizes – including the peace prize – by way of redressing the balance.​

    The plant itself is not the original, thought to have been built in the post-war years and operating at a capacity of 16MW. The power generated was then transported around the site to facilitate the factory’s operations.​

    If I’d visited four years ago when I first thought about it the place would have been in far better condition. That said, it offered up a lot of bits and pieces, documents and ultimately heavy industry that’s well worth the effort if you like that sort of thing…​


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    Some of the control panels look like they would have been impressive in their day. Sadly many parts of them have now been smashed…


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    Slowly we began to climb up the installation, ultimately aiming for the roof…


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    And then we got to the roof, trying to see all aspects of it without anyone down below seeing us.

    There wasn’t a soul about – nobody official, nothing except for an old man walking his dogs and another guy on a bike. It did make us feel like our approach had been a little over-cautious…


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    We didn’t have the said roof permits, but we went for it anyway…


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    There’s plenty more to see on the site but I got out of it what I wanted on this occasion. Maybe next time I’ll see what some of the other buildings have to offer…

    Until then, thanks for stopping by :thumb
     

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  2. BoroLad

    BoroLad 28DL Regular User
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    Awesome report!
    Loads to see never realised they was so much...
     
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  3. Cuuvin

    Cuuvin 28DL Colonial Member
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    Tis' a very nicely done 'plor ! Ol' Hands weren't too Idle there (nor the feet), eh?:rolleyes: & excellent snappys! :thumb
     
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  4. Bugsuperstar

    Bugsuperstar Irresponsible & Reckless
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    I like it!
     
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  5. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    Oh dear Hopkinson is looking sorry for itself!
     
  6. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks guys :thumb

    Yeah lots of it is smashed but its location seems to have saved it in a lot of ways...
     
  7. Echoes

    Echoes 28DL Full Member
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    good report and pics. I was there a couple of months ago and definitely worth a 2nd visit.

    Despite the metal stripping i was surprised at home much had been left behind.
     
  8. mw0sec

    mw0sec 28DL Full Member
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    Never understood the attraction of smashing glass!
     
  9. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
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    I think it's more the art of 'target practice'. We once stood by Willington cooling towers trying to throw stones through the doorway about a quarter of the way up the tower... none of us did it, but it was bloody good fun trying. I guess if you don't see the beauty in a Hopkinson gauge trying to throw a rock at it is entertaining!
     
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  10. hamtagger

    hamtagger 28DL Regular User
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    That's a great report, I like the ferns growing out of the machinery, the aerial shots and the control panels. Shame about them being smashed up but cool to see anyway :)
     
  11. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Thank you mate - I'll hopefully be back to pick up on some of the rest of the site!

    Thanks Hamtagger - well worth a visit if you're out that way (as much as anyone can ever be out that way...)!
     
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  12. Speed

    Speed Got Epic?
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    Yeh we went back here in the summer and it's a right adventure still but sadly pretty fucked now. I couldn't understand why they had gone to so much trouble moving the turbine only to still leave it to rot in a slightly different place.. Copper I guess!

    Pays to be careful on the approach too. They put up a good chase if they cotton on you around!
     
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  13. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Cheers Speed - I think it was your report I found that said as much and made me plot such a cautious route. That said, we brazenly walked back out of the site in half the time and still didn't see anyone!
     
  14. The Lone Shadow

    The Lone Shadow Industrial Fanatic!
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    That is a handsome report there! Love some of those long shots and rusty old signs.
     
  15. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Thank you mate, much appreciated :thumb
     
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