Inverkip Powerstation, Feb 2011.
Construction began in 1970 for the then South of Scotland Electricity Board (SSEB) in 1970. It was to be Scotland's first oil-fired power station.
Dominating the local area with its 778 ft (237m) chimney, the third tallest chimney in the UK and Scotland's tallest free-standing structure. In common with other power stations in Scotland it lacks cooling towers; instead, sea water is used as a coolant. The station consists of three generating units with a combined total rating of 1900 megawatts (MW).
However, the soaring price of oil as a result of the 1973 oil crisis meant that by the time construction was completed generation was uneconomical. It was therefore rarely utilised to anything near capacity, with 1200 MW being mothballed and the remaining capacity being used to satisfy peak demand. A notable example of when it was used at capacity was during the miners' strike of 1984-85, when low coal supplies prompted operation. Generation ceased in January 1988.
The station was decommissioned in 2006. Until then it could have been fired up at any point to supply power for the national grid. The power station's equipment was intact and continually operating dehumidifiers were used to keep it in good condition while the facility was mothballed. The powerstation is now owned by the privatised Scottish Power utility group and is maintained in a mothballed condition as part of the strategic reserve - Wiki
First things first - Massive shouts to Forsaken & Horus for a most memorable trip.
This was a fairly last minute.com arrangement which sadly clashed with the recent Sheffield meet, but how could I postpone something as Epic as this place!
A 2 hour trip to meet up with Horus & Foresaken, I transferred all my gear to Forsakens car for the remainder of the 4 hour trip to Inverkip. A quick cup of tea and a chat we were on our way.
It was nearly midnight by the time we arrived, as we attempted our entry security drove around the corner and pulled up, had they seen us?
Having heard stories about previous busts and the fact that the Police weren't too forgiving we decided to sit this one out just in case. We waited nearly 2 hours before we just decided to make a move and take our chances. After a number of hurdles we made it to the point we needed to be, except it had been sealed, and so had other previous entry points. With no intention of damaging anything or causing any unwanted noises, it took us a couple of hours of
perseverence and some dangerous maneuvers before we finally made it inside.
It was pitch black, and using only the illumination from mobile phones we made our way up as high as we could out of site and setup camp for a few hours kip.
We woke around 9am to some strange sounds, sounded like workmen in the turbine hall? who knows. We sat it out for 30 mins before deciding to pack up and start exploring this monster of a site.
The powerstation is huge and nothing short of amazing, as apart from official stripping of parts, the place is virtually untouched. There is power in many sections, and most of the machinery, controls and equipment panels are still live.
We must have spent nearly 8 hours mooching about the next day ontop of the previous evenings mission to get in and find somewhere to sleep.
I can honestly say this was definately the most challenging, tiring yet rewarding trip ever, with many setbacks to overcome. It was equally frustrating as many routes were now seemingly locked compared to previous explores so endless searching for alternative ways into places filled much of the time.
We worked our way around all of the sectors from the Boiler rooms to the Turbine hall, climbing ladders, stairwells and walkways along the way, even the huge Gantry Cranes in the main Turbine Hall.
Despite not being able to access the chimney we did manage to see the Boilers, Turbine hall, Instrument rooms, Battery rooms, Switchgear rooms and finally the Central Control Room.
The Central Control Room more than made up for the chimney! (But still gutted that I missed out on spectacular views) - No doubt in the future it will become do-able again.
As we fired up the lights, it was like stepping back into the 1970's, it sure does leave you speechless as you try and take it all in.
Despite some goons squirting ink over some of the controls and carpet, the room was practically untouched, there were folders & files everywhere, data logs from the instruments, Live control panels, dial phones, keys and newspapers dating back to the 1980's. We spent a considerable amount of time inside as there is literally that much to see.
After spending the whole of the night/day inside, we waited for the cover of darkness and made our great escape un-detected. A long walk back to the car we then braced ourselves for the 6 hour journey back home.
Apologies for the pic heavy report, but as you can imagine with somewhere like this it would be rude not too.
We started at the top of one of the boiler houses and gradually worked our way downwards...
Deaerator Storage Tank
Steam Pipes are everywhere, some crazy plumbing
Boiler controls & Dials
Gantries and Walkways that span the entire complex
One of the 3 giant Flues
No.2 Boiler, A modular system where individual cells can be removed by crane
We then headed into the main nerve centre, which took an age finding a way in and around to get to the good bits, as the majority of access is locked off now, Seek and ye shall find...
Battery Backup Rooms
Chlorination Control Room
Switchgear Control Rooms
After a couple of hours we decided to checkout the Turbine Hall, as we couldn't gain access to the Central Control Room and decided we would have another look later in the day.
The place is huge, with 3 turbines, tanks, boilers and other such machinery & equipment, including 2 x 90 tonne and 1 x 145 tonne Gantry Cranes. They have been stripping many parts from here, infact there were quite a few tagged up ready to go.
We proceeded with extreme caution, as I'm convinced they were working in here earlier in the day, and they have been known to just turn up at anytime night or day for spares.
Radiation Equipment Room
Machine Recording Log
Climbing your Gantry Cranes
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