The Dragon’s breath
4th April 2016
(Above) The ‘road to nowhere’ on the broad ridge above Carn Dubh at 800m skirting Coire a Bheinn (to the right of shot). Remains of some Victorian fencing along the watershed and marking the boundary between two estates. The posts extend right across the Carn Liath plateau and make a useful ‘handrail’ when navigating hereabouts in bad weather. The rotten wooden fencepost on the ground post-dates the substantial iron work. Evidence elsewhere of wooden posts inserted into the non-existent soil in an effort to patch up the fence line.
(Above) Scratched the surface to reveal lead. The Victorian fencing gang would have bored a hole (with hand tools), inserted the post then poured molten lead into the void to firmly embed and secure the post. Proper workmanship! It beggars belief that fires were lit up here (at 800-900m) to melt base metal. Must have been done in batches of 20 posts or so, surely?
(Above) Returning towards Spey Dam. The loch in the photo is entirely man-made, with the dam at the far end of the loch. The Upper Spey had its headwaters ‘captured’ in the first half of the 20th century to supply the aluminium smelter in Fort William with additional water for their electricity generating hydro scheme. Unhindered, the flow would have been North East but the diversion sends it South West. The Rio Tinto Alcan smelter’s future is uncertain but there are plans afoot to re-introduce spawning salmon into the waters upstream of the artificial dam. Salmon have been unable to spawn here since before WW2. This article gives further background:
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