By: Blonde One


There has always been much debate over the industrialisation of our pastoral landscape. Opinions are usually quite strong, whether for or against. Whatever we feel, adding mans handiwork to a beautiful landscape is here to stay. We will always have to either put up with or enjoy the benefits of some kind of attempt to harness nature.

In Scotland this harnessing sometimes takes the form of using the power of water. The small town of Kinlochleven has had a history of aluminium smelting since 1909. Water is drawn from the Blackwater Reservoir and carried 5 miles over open moorland through pipes which were constructed by a combination of British soldiers and German prisoners of war during the first world war. The aluminium smelting plant was closed in 2000 when it had the claim of being the oldest and smallest smelter. The pipes are magnificent up close but even more impressive when seen from a distance.


The electricity that is generated today is used by the aluminium smelting plant in Fort William or sold to the National Grid. Whether we like it or not, these pipes are a very important part of Scottish history and current economic status. I, for one, love their majesty and am impressed by the feat of engineering that went into their construction and still goes into their maintenance.