Thought I’d share this here.
Its what I made my living at really, retired and disabled now of course, but was once uber fit, oh yeah Construction was always my thing, scale model kits now, but this is how it panned out for me, cant imagine any construction bigger than this?
Started at the Ardersier Scotland fabrication yard at age of 18, was there for pretty much all of it until yard closure in 2001, American owned company to start with McDermotts … crazy days, big money, like triple to quadruple wages what the other lads were making as joiners/bricklayers etc and that was before overtime rates kicked in … and the overtime OMG, any hours you wanted, used to often do 12hr shift sessions to buy a brand new Motorcycle there, if you wanted the hours, they were there and they paid extremely well, there were even what we call “ghoster shifts” work for as long as you can, would not be allowed that now in modern Health n Safety rules but many did it.
Ardersier fabrication yard was close to Inverness and Inverness is close to Loch Ness of course, home of the infamous Loch Ness Monster (great tourist attraction) we had this behemoth twin boomed crane at the yard, so naturally it was nick named “Nessie” was on site one evening and watching it do early lifting exercises when it sort of fell over on itself … one of the most chronic disasters I’ve ever seen, the earth really shook underneath me, ran to scene to see what I could do, guys were already pulling the crane guy out of the control cab, he was a gibbering wreck, never seen anything quite like that in my whole life … Nobody was killed on that incident, a few death accidents did happen at our yard I’m sorry to say and we were very safety concious, but shifting thousands of tons of steel around per day, working with gases ETC, ■■■■ happens sometimes.
Everything was big at the yard though, even the fork lift trucks.
That was our big crane down, but again as is with the oil industry, money was no object, so they threw even more cranes at us to get the jobs done.
Up to 5000 guys were employed there at the peak times, guys from Glasgow, Ireland, North England with the right skills (mostly welders) flocked up here for a bit of the big money, good craic, good comradeship really, a few arguments a few fist fights at bars in the evening, but generally quite good
We built some outstanding rigs there, many firsts for the UK North Sea sector (<-- why our yard location was chosen I suppose?) We built original Piper Alpha rig there, then after its horrific demise built its replacement the Piper Bravo, many other firsts, inc TLP platforms and jack up rigs too.
Here are some memory pics of my time there I’d like to share and in no particular order.