Image for Blackwater Dam

Blackwater Dam

Duration: 02:01

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


Series Producer
Richard Downes
Iain Stewart
Tim Niel
Graham Strong
Tim Niel
Executive Producer
Neil McDonald

This clip is from

Making Scotland's Landscape Scotland's Water

4/5 The story of how Scotland's waters became some of the most managed on earth.

First broadcast: 14 Nov 2010

Image for Scotland's Water Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss