In May 2017 the Kippford Association arranged a Spring walk to the local Edingham Munitions Factory, located mostly on grounds owned by Edingham Farm on the outskirt of Dalbeattie.

A brief history of Edingham

The ground of Edingham farm was taken over by the Ministry of Supply, under compulsory purchase, and work began to build one of six ICI factories around Southern Scotland during 1939.  Edingham was selected for easy access to a train line (the Dumfries to Stranraer line ran straight through it).  There was also ample water supply, the area was relatively remote, and almost at sea level (so less risk of frost).  

The site was constructed by McApline at a cost of around £4m, using local workmen and Irish navvies.  Once open, and during the second world war, it was staffed by 2,200 workers; 2,000 of these being women.  The site produced nitroglycerine and cordite used for bomb making!

After 1945 the site was used by the Royal Navy Armaments Depot until 1960 when it was closed and partially demolished.  It has now been returned to farmland.  Occasionally the Army use the land and remaining derelict buildings for strategic exercises.

The walk

The weather for the previous two weeks had been glorious, hot and dry.  Temperatures hit 20°C most days.  However, on the Saturday morning of the walk the skies clouded over and the rain began to fall, and fall some more.  Despite a constant downpour a group of around twenty turned up for the morning walk.

Despite the rain, a crowd of hardy walkers turned up

Despite the rain, a crowd of hardy walkers turned up

A second railway bridge spans a stream.  All built by hand

A second railway bridge spans a stream.  All built by hand

A view of some of the buildings

A view of some of the buildings

The site is extensive, with many derelict buildings

The site is extensive, with many derelict buildings

Many of the buildings were used in the production of highly flammable and explosive material. Buildings were duplicated around the site; there were even two huge canteens. If one building blew up others were there to continue the process

Many of the buildings were used in the production of highly flammable and explosive material. Buildings were duplicated around the site; there were even two huge canteens. If one building blew up others were there to continue the process

All around the site are concrete pillars.  These supported a network of large tubes carrying hot air to the building to dry the materials.  Naked flames could be no where near any building.

All around the site are concrete pillars.  These supported a network of large tubes carrying hot air to the building to dry the materials.  Naked flames could be no where near any building.

One of many air raid shelters -- most were dug into the ground.  The workers would shelter in these during bomb threats from the air

One of many air raid shelters -- most were dug into the ground.  The workers would shelter in these during bomb threats from the air

Inside a shelter -- very narrow, dark and tiny

Inside a shelter -- very narrow, dark and tiny

 

A huge thanks to the Farmer, Matthew Taylor, for the guided tour.  His knowledge of the site, and humour, made a wet morning most enjoyable.