Inchindown oil tanks

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Coordinates: 57°44′26″N 4°12′17″W / 57.7405°N 4.2047°W / 57.7405; -4.2047

Entrance to the oil depot

The Inchindown oil tanks is a disused underground oil depot in Invergordon, Ross-shire, Scotland.[1] The tanks hold the record for the longest reverberation in any man-made structure, surpassing the Hamilton Mausoleum in 2014.[2]


The secret site was officially called "Inchindown, Royal Navy Fuel Tanks" and also known as the "Invergordon Oil Fuel Depot".[3] The complex consists of six tanks: five were 237 metres (778 ft) long, 9 metres (30 ft) wide, with arched roofs 13.5 metres (44 ft) high; a smaller sixth tank was of the same height and breadth but shorter.[4] Work on the tanks began in 1938 and was completed in 1941. They were built to be a bomb-proof supply of Furnace Fuel Oil to the Royal Navy's base at Invergordon.[1]

In 2014, the tanks were designated as a Category A listed building.[5]

Reverberation record[edit]

In 2009, guided tours of the tanks were offered by Forestry Commission Scotland.[6] After the tours were mentioned on BBC television programme The One Show, professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford Trevor Cox was motivated to perform reverberation tests in the underground tanks.[2] In 2014 Allan Kilpatrick from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland fired a pistol blank inside one of the tanks. The sound was recorded by Cox, and is reported to have reverberated for 112 seconds at 125 hertz, 30 seconds at mid frequency, and 75 seconds broadband.[7][8]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In February, 2019, photographers Simon Riddell and David Allen recorded a feature-length documentary inside the Inchindown oil facility. This documentary contains the only comprehensive tour of the facility. As part of the documentary, the photographers used a large format camera to make one negative of the first tank. They, then, slept overnight in tunnel 2; which they turned into a darkroom the next day. They continued to create a darkroom print of their negative on location without leaving the underground facility. The film won 'best documentary with the UK Monthly Film Festival.[9][10][11]
  • The Inchindown oil depot was featured in the "Swamp of Despair" episode of the Science Channel's TV series Mysteries of the Abandoned (season 6, episode 2), first cablecast on April 2, 2020.[12]


  1. ^ a b McKenzie, Steven (8 August 2011). "Return to Highlands' Inchindown secret tunnels". BBC Scotland. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b Adam Sherwin (16 January 2014). "Now we've heard it all: Acoustic scientists shatter the world record for longest ever echo". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Site Record for Inchindown, Royal Navy Fuel Tanks". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  4. ^ "28 October 2009: Inchindown, Royal Naval Fuel Tanks". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. 28 October 2009. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  5. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Underground Fuel Reservoir, Inchindown, Invergordon  (Category A Listed Building) (LB52317)". Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  6. ^ "First glimpse of world war depot". BBC News Scotland. British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  7. ^ Cox, Trevor. The Sound Book. W.W. Norton & Company, 2014, p. 57.
  8. ^ "New world record for longest echo set near Invergordon". BBC News Scotland. British Broadcasting Corporation. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  9. ^ "One Shot: Inchindown | a film photography documentary". One Shot: Inchindown. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  10. ^ One Shot: Inchindown, retrieved 4 January 2020
  11. ^ McCool, Mary (23 September 2019). "Exploring Scotland's secret wartime tunnel". Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Mysteries of the Abandoned: Season 6, Episode 2 Swamp of Despair: TV Guide

External links[edit]