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Report - Kinlochleven Aluminium Smelter, Scottish Highlands

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Gorecki, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Gorecki

    Gorecki 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jul 29, 2007
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    Something a bit different ... I thought it was one of the coolest things i've ever seen!! :D

    The village of Kinlochleven was developed in the early 1900’s when the then North British Aluminium Company harnessed two of the Highlands natural assets – water and hills – to create the Blackwater Reservoir, a hydro-electric plant and the Kinlochleven Aluminium Smelter.
    The smelter specialised in the production of high purity aluminium.

    The demand for aluminium during the First World War brought an expansion of the scheme; 500 British soldiers and 1200 German prisoners-of-war constructed a 5-mile (8-km) long pipeline to bring more water from Loch Eilde Mhor by a circuitous route via the Blackwater reservoir to the power-house adjacent to the Kinlochleven Smelter.

    View of how it was, photo from RCHAMS:


    The smelter’s operator, Alcan Smelting and Power (UK) Ltd, announced in 1994 that, due to changing international patterns of demand, outdated technology and economies of sale, it would close around the turn of the century.
    In March 1999, 96 people were employed in the smelter, with an anticipated closure date in June 2000.
    In June 2000 the smelter finally closed.

    Most of it was demolished apart from the Carbon Plant and the Power House.
    The power house still remains and is now controlled remotley from Fort William.
    The Carbon Plant is now called "The Ice Factor" and is an indoor ice climbing wall!

    Arial view of whats left:


    The pipes looking down towards the Power House.


    So yeah... we decided to follow the pipes up the mountain.


    Passing old cranes just abandoned there.




    Got to the top of the hill .. we though... but noooo, the pipes continued down hill then back up another mountain. Naw.
    You can see in the distance, they still continue up!!


    Back down to the power house.



    The old carbon plant:


    And how it is today:


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