Abandoned buildings can attract all sorts of trouble — from arson, graffiti, and drug dealing to under-age parties and even theft of valuable materials, such as metals. However, property that has remained vacant for an extended length of time can also attract talented photographers from all over the world. Even when buildings show obvious signs of hazards, adventure-seekers still find it irresistible to risk everything to capture eerie snapshots of varying states of decay.
Scotland’s Abandoned Structures website has been up and running since 2011, and it’s an impressive collective effort to immortalize some of Scotland’s most forgotten locations before it’s too late. Railways, tunnels, bridges… churches, parks, factories… these crumbling structures are but echoes of their former grandeur.
It’s easy to get absorbed inside this rare archive, and it’s also somewhat emotional. A video of the derelict village of Polphail leaves one with an overwhelming sense of sadness. Polphail village was never occupied. It was a ruin from the outset. The origins of the 1970s village lie during the expansion of the oil industry in the 1970s. Specific locations around the coast of Scotland were developed for the construction sites to build oil rig platforms. Portavadie and Polphail on the west coast of the Cowal peninsular, on Loch Fyne, was chosen as one such location. It provided a sheltered port, a geological feature in which to build a dry dock and a construction yard for the building of deep water oil gravity platforms. Land was purchased for the whole development by the Government for the construction yard and adjacent village that was built between 1975 and 1977, to house up to 500 workers. The impetus to build the yard was based on future forecasting and was to be operated by the people living in Polphail village, but structural design issues of the oil gravity platforms, cost implications and inflexibility in the sector at the time led to no orders being placed at the yard.
Other videos are equally somber. The abandoned theme park at Loudoun Castle, the underground train station at Glasgow Botanic Gardens, football stadiums and hospitals…
Historians and tourists alike will enjoy browsing Scotland’s Abandoned Structures, but some locals may find it altogether bittersweet. Nevertheless, it’s a significant contribution to Scotland’s history and that’s the reason why we’ve selected it for today’s Site of the Day.