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The Invergordon Archive

Inchindown Fuel Storage Caverns
The Invergordon Archive
Inchindown Fuel Storage Caverns

The Inchindown Admiralty Underground Storage Depot was constructed between 1939 and 1941. It consists of 6 caverns or cells with two access tunnels. This is the entrance to the 'west' access tunnel.
Each cell is 237 metres long with the capacity for 5.6 million gallons of furnace oil.
A 4 mile pipeline was constucted between the storage depot and the Seabank Tank Farm. A major pumping station was at Tomich, while there were two smaller stations, one halfway along the Tomich Road, the other where the pipeline crosses the Scotsburn Road.
The fuel was pumped up to the caverns at Inchindown, while the fuel flowed under gravity in the opposite direction. To ease the flow in cold weather, heaters were installed on the pipeline every 200 yards or so.
There is much more about this wartime facility in the Invergordon Naval Museum and Heritage Centre.
Picture added on 08 September 2004
This picture is in the following groups
Inchindown Underground Fuel Storage Facility
Bill, this and the other pictures in the 'group' were taken in August of this year so it is very much still there!
Added by Malcolm McKean on 24 December 2004
Goodness me! I was told about this as a boy and spent many hours wandering around the back of town looking for the entrance and never found it. I am gobsmacked that 50 years later I see it via the internet. A wee piece of childhood mystery has been solved. Is it still there?
Added by Bill Geddes on 24 December 2004
I remember mucking about here as a boy and I always remember it all being a little bit sinister! - and according to recent inspection there has been recent work carried out - e.g. new electrical equipment, wiring, fuse boxes etc. Does anyone have any gen?
Added by Stevie Heenan on 09 June 2005
I went up for a deek at the Inchindown facility in 2006 and there was a card left by the Hydro in 2003 in a control room and the electric meter in the control room looked to have been replaced at that time.
Anonymous comment added on 23 March 2007
I used to work in them in 1980s. If I remember right, there were 6 cells in the right tunnel. We used to be put on a tray, pushed in the hole and cleaned them; there was a man posted outside ready to pull us out. They didn’t quite finish this tunnel as war broke out. One on left was an escape route from other tunnel. Still amazes me why they took so long in opening them to public, they stopped pumping oil there in 80s, line was bad. At the entrance to the tunnels were blast walls, myself and Kenny Mackay knocked them down about 1969; hope this is of some help.
Added by David Gow on 25 July 2010
Amazing, I lived in Newmore as a lad and always heard rumours of underground depots. We used to search everywhere but never found anything. Where is this in relation to Newmore Primary? I used to live in the bungalow at the back of the school which my dad built as well as the bungalow next to it.
Added by Brian Finlayson on 29 August 2010
It's up the road further. You have to cross the Scotsburn road, keep going north to where the farm is and it is just up from the farm.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 30 August 2010
There was also an ammunitions dump hidden in the bog-lands East of Newmore School. It had a fence around it like the fence that was around the tank farm, with 3 strings of barbed wire across the top. I used to come across it when poaching the Rabbits.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 02 September 2010
Article in the 'Scotsman' about guided access to the tanks in September. "Hidden inside Kinrive Hill on private land, the site is only accessible through organised tours.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

The scale of the project was immense”

Allan Kilpatrick RCAHMS

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is taking bookings for the new walks on 21-22 September.

FCS staff and Allan Kilpatrick, of the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), will lead the tours." ww.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-14418588
Anonymous comment added on 11 August 2011
When wandering about in the woods behind Invergordon as a boy, I recall coming across the concrete foundations of long gone buildings. Some of these bases had large holes in them which revealed huge cellar-like voids under the concrete. They were half filled with water in which was floating the rotting carcasses of sheep which had presumably fallen down the holes. Does anyone know what they would have been for? Perhaps septic tanks for a military camp or something to do with the oil installations?
Added by Bill Geddes on 12 August 2011
There was a fascinating article on Inchindown on the BBC's "The One Show" yesterday (20/1/2012). If you are quick you can catch it on the BBC iPlayer here ... www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01b1m30/The_One_Show_20_01_2012/ ... fast foward to 33minutes for the 5 minute story.
Added by Kenny MacCormack on 21 January 2012
Thanks for the link, Kenny. A facinating insight into what used to be a regular playground of mine.
Added by Rod Bell on 22 January 2012
Like Rod, as a child I used to explore the Inchindown hill with Johnny Morrison and David Munro. We used to get some reasonable trout in the burn lower down that ultimately feeds into the Balnagowan river.
Added by George Mackay on 25 January 2012
While working there in the '60s, I discovered a bunker which could have been used as a lookout point; it's above the tunnels and had telephone wires attached, it was overgrown then, probably 15x5ft.
Added by David Gow on 25 January 2012
Does anyone know about a World War 1 rifle range at Inchindown, now cleared away? Its former existence is noted on a government site, but not which of the Services used it or dismantled it after the war.
Added by Linda McVicar on 27 January 2012
Ken Mackay and myself were there for more than a month, breaking down the blast walls to the tunnel's entrance. We had no drills, just hammers and chisels, I still remember. We got what was called 'out of port money', about 4 shillings a week extra. I enjoyed it, I hope Kenny did, nice memories.
Added by David Gow on 27 January 2012
Can anyone tell me whether the tunnels are open to the public all the time and its exact location. Thinking about taking a walk down with a friend. Thanks
Added by Pete Proff on 13 February 2012
The website www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-8bwkn9 states that "This site is not accessible to the public, other than on guided tours." You have to keep your eyes peeled for the tour dates... an email to Forestry Commission Scotland maybe your best bet. See the location on Highland Council website her.highland.gov.uk/SingleResult.aspx?uid=MHG30306
Added by Kenny MacCormack on 15 March 2012
My father came home from WW1 and in 1937/38 worked in tunnel he was back in ww11 but was sent home tuberculosis I silicosis I believe to this day silicosis was by dry boring in tunnel particles sticking to throat coughing loosened them fell, into lungs thus silicosis. My father was serving with Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. First World War. Seaforth Highlanders. Second World War I was nine years old when my father died he spent long time in the sanitarian Invergordon.
Added by Tommy Macallister on 01 July 2016
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Inchindown Underground Fuel Storage Facility

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