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Engineering & Science

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Kinlochleven

In the space of a mere five years, the British Aluminium Company’s subsidiary, the Loch Leven Water Power Company, and its contractors had constructed the Blackwater Dam which held the largest volume of water of any dam in the UK until the 1950s, and a reinforced concrete conduit of nearly four miles long driven through solid rock by the grist of human labour.

They had laid six mile-and-a-quarter long iron pipes through which the 20,000 millions of gallons of the Blackwater descended 935 feet to a power house producing 33,000 horse-power to satisfy the energy requirements of the factory complex. 

At its height of its construction the scheme employed 2,000-3,000 navvies, and was immortalised in the pages of Donegal labourer Patrick MacGill’s Children of the Dead End.