The dam at Blackwater was the product of the second major hydro-electric project undertaken in Scotland by the British Aluminium Company. The BAC wished to construct an aluminium smelting plant, using hydro-electric power, at Kinlochleven. There were suitable hills above the village – hydro-electric power depends on height to generate a strong enough flow of water – but no suitable water. So a loch would be provided.
Construction began in 1904. The workforce – 3,000 strong, many of them Irish navvies – had no idea what they were building. They called it ‘the waterworks’ ... In reality they were making one loch out of three, with a dam that was over 900 metres long. The Blackwater Reservoir – 75 feet deep, nine miles in length - would eventually contain 24,000 million gallons of water.
Accidents at Blackwater were frequent, and eventually a graveyard was established just a few hundred metres from the dam itself.
Available since: Thu 11 Nov 2010
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