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Ardyne Point Yard

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Ardyne Point platforms
Ardyne Point
Brent 'C' and Cormorant 'A'

Ardyne Point, located on Loch Striven to the southwest of Dunoon, was the site of an oil platform construction yard, (oil rig fabrication yard) built by Sir Robert McAlpine. Only three concrete platforms for the North Sea oil industry were constructed there before the yard was forced to close.

We constructed three concrete gravity platforms for the North Sea oil industry at Ardyne Point on the West Coast of Scotland between 1974 and 1978.

Weighing over 300,000 tonnes, at the time of construction Cormorant 'A' was the largest oil production platform ever built. The 100m square, 56m high caisson had a storage capacity of one million barrels and carried four 116m high towers.
- Concrete Gravity Platforms. Sir Robert McAlpine.[1]

The Ardyne Point yard was one of several constructed in the 1970s, to fabricate concrete oil platforms as part of a plan conceived in the oil boom days when Tony Benn was energy minister. Early expectations were that 65 platforms would be built, and yards were established at Hunterston, Loch Kishorn, and the most famous, or infamous, at Portavadie.

Around a dozen concrete blocks have been identified on the seabed off Ardyne Point, at a depth of over 40 metres, having been used as anchoring points, and some examples have been plotted on the map below.

Cormorant Alpha

In June 2005, the Dunoon Observer carried an article regarding a group of Norwegian divers who were working with a freelance journalist to reveal what they contend to be a major inter-governmental cover-up over a narrowly averted disaster on a huge oil platform built at Ardyne Point in the 1970s.[2]

Decommissioning and scrapping of nuclear submarines

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on September 11, 2003, that Sir Robert McAlpine’s submission for the management of radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear submarines was one of a number of proposals being considered for this task. At the time, there were some eleven boats in this category, from a fleet of 27. Following consultation between the company and local councillors, and what was described as "an avalanche" of letters of protest from residents in the surrounding area, the proposal was subsequently withdrawn.[3] [4]


In late 2006, a plan was proposed for this area by London-based construction group Sir Robert McAlpine, and included a marina, restaurants and luxury waterside dwellings.[5]

During 2010, reports indicated that McAlpine had obtained permission to proceed with the proposal, although detailed discussions with Argyll and Bute Council and South Cowal Community Council were still ongoing, but the agreement meant that development work could actually begin. However, no work was ever carried out. [6]


After a number of proposals came to nothing during the preceding years, it was reported that the site had been sold in August 2013.

Local reports indicated that the site haf been bought by an Edinburgh property developer, and that part of the former yard would become a salmon processing plant.[7]

Site Visit

A site visit was carried out during January 2011. Despite various warning notices on the main gate the site remains a popular dog walking area where no redevelopment has commenced by that time. The site was examined moving in a clockwise direction after turning left inside the gate. All buildings other than the electrical substation had been removed, leaving the site to become covered in scrub, mainly gorse. Coniferous wooded areas were assumed to have been planted for screening. The north end of the site had been occupied by a salmon farm. Rubbish disposal at the site appeared to have been carried out by bulldozing everything over its edge, into the sea, then covering it with a thin layer of soil. The sea is now reclaiming the edges of the site.

The two basins where the rigs were manufactured remain impressively large when seen.

In operation, their entrances would be dammed using sand and gravel, allowing them to be pumped dry so the flotation tanks mounted at the base of the rig could be constructed. Once these were completed, the docks were allowed to flood, then the remains of the sand and gravel coffer dams were dredged away. This cleared the entrance and allowed the floatation tanks to be towed out to deep water where they were moored to large concrete blocks placed on the seabed. A temporary gangway connected with shore based ramps, allowing men and materials to be transported to the point where the rig was being constructed.


Platforms at Ardyne, McAlpine publicity
Platforms at Ardyne

Derelict yard and basin, 2006
Derelict yard and basin
© william craig


1 Concrete Gravity Platforms | Sir Robert McAlpine Retrieved October 23, 2010.

2 Dunoon Observer article, June 24, 2005 (Conspiracy theory?) Dead archive

3 Sunday Herald, nuclear waste article, September 21, 2003 Dead link 2013

4 Dunoon Observer article, October 3, 2003 Nuclear sub decommissioning rejected Dead archive

5 Sir Robert McAlpine Development Presentation, November 8, 2006 Dead link 2013

6 Luxury village with £100m marina to be built on derelict coastal site - Herald Scotland | Business | Corporate & SME Retrieved October 23, 2010.

7 ARDYNE SOLD Retrieved August 24, 2013.

External links

Related Canmore/RCAHMS and ScotlandsPlaces (SP) entries:-



Aerial views



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