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Polphail accommodation, 2009, fox
Polphail accommodation

Polphail was built during the early 1970s to provide accommodation for up to 500 workers at a nearby oil platform construction yard in Portavadie, but was never occupied because the yard never went into production.

There have been numerous proposals to create timeshare facilities on the site of the derelict village over the years, but all have failed to attract sponsors. A further proposal reviewed in 2006 projected a village which could rival Tighnabruaich in size, with a marina for up to 250 vessels.

Redevelopment announcement I

In June 2009, the media carried a story that the ghost village of Polphail was finally to be demolished.[1] [2] Site owner Alan Bradley said changes would be evident within a year, and demolition would clear the area for 270 new properties to be built over the next five to ten years.

Redevelopment announcement II

In June of 2012, agents announced that buyers were being sought for the village. No mention was made of any result from the 2009 story mentioned above.

The property consultants responsible for the sale said they believed the site could be suitable for housing or leisure development. No price was set for the site and they said they were open to offers.and that "The site has lain empty for over 35 years and is a bit of an eyesore to local residents and visitors alike. If you can see beyond the dereliction, Pollphail (sic) occupies a fantastic position overlooking Loch Fyne with views towards the Mull of Kintyre." The added that the site had "huge potential" and was "suitable for a range of uses" although they suspected that housing would be the most attractive option, and that it was "An exciting opportunity for someone to take on.[3]

Local photography project

Local photographer Philippa Elliott has documented the derelict site in a series of photographs, and her images include a rack of door keys hanging disused, and rusting washing machines abandoned on the site. She said some locals believed Polphail was actually built as a military base on a par with Faslane, but that other suggestions for what the site was to be used for differ "depending on who you talked to".

Agents of Change: Ghost Village Project

Ghost Village Project, 2009
Ghost Village Project
© paul birrell
Ghost Village Project, 2009
Ghost Village Project
© paul birrell

In October 2009, a group of six graffiti artists were granted permission to paint on walls within the derelict accommodation buildings of Polphail, prior to its imminent demolition.[4]

Kyle Mccann, 2010
Kyle Mccann, 2010

Eroded Lifes

In June 2010, Glasgow documentary and fashion photographer Brian Cumming visited the site to document the change since the arts project. His findings were that not much had changed, "Polphail is still very much derelict with not much happened over the last few years, it still really is a dark and gloomy mysterious yet fascinating place, especially for creative people such as myself."

Eroded Lifes - The story of Polphail

Kitsault - tale of an abandoned Canadian mining town

The town of Kitsault, north of Prince Rupert on Alice Arm, was an almost 'overnight' build in the early 1980s by US mining conglomerate Phelps Dodge. It had hoped to mine close to 109 million tonnes of molybdenum, a metal used in steel production, from the area. Around 1,200 mine workers and their families moved there.

Phelps Dodge built about 100 detached homes, apartment buildings, and all the amenities needed by a community, includng a recreation centre with a curling rink cinema, fully equipped hospital, shopping mall, and a swimming pool.

But, only 18 months later, in 1983, commodities markets crashed and Phelps Dodge closed the mine, bought the back houses from workers and ordered everyone to leave. However, unlike many other such places which were completely abandoned after such an event, Kitsault was bought by a millionaire businessman who saw a potential 'long-term' game with the future potential of LNG (liquified natural gas) in the area.^B.C. ghost town could become major natural gas hub - British Columbia - CBC News Retrieved 14 July 2017.^]]

Still more remote, it seem there is another facility known as Alice Arm. It actually has a few people, as some go there for recreation, and there are a few others working on restoring two abandoned dams dating from 1922. Declared dangerous, but now being restored to provide grid power, and restore the fish habitat. Ironically, they will feed into an underground connection and contact the grid via the feed established for Kitsault.[5]


1 'Ghost village' to be demolished. BBC News, June 23, 2009

2 BBC News, Reporting Scotland, Redevelopment for 'ghost village', June 23, 2009

3 Buyers sought for 'ghost village' of Pollphail (sic) in Argyll and Bute Retrieved August 24, 2012.

4 Graffiti artists transform Scottish ghost town Polphail, Scotsman.com Living, October 15, 2009

5 Kitsault & Alice Arm | Northern BC's Only Independent Regional MagazineNorthword Magazine Retrieved 14 July 2017.

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Aerial views



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