The lift operation was overseen by James Jack, the Scottish division of Ainscough Crane Hire. James Jack supplied the crane from its Aberdeen depot and transported it 130 miles to Cannich on a low loader, before it was driven the final nine miles across the Mullardoch Estate to the job site.

At the dam, crane operator Walter Petrie was required to position the crane between the high-sided concrete dam walls, with just 20mm space either side of the crane.

Tight fit

Once in place, the crane was used to lift and lower the 500kg head stock of the loch gates, an essential part of the opening mechanism. This saw it lower equipment 20m down the dam wall and a further 10m below the water’s surface to a dive team.

Underwater installation of the head stock made contact between the dive team and crane operator difficult, with the dive team’s instructions relayed to Petrie, who then moved the equipment as instructed.

Dam wall lift

Completion of the lift project allowed the gates of Mullardoch Loch to be opened for the first time in the 50 years since it was built. Water has now been diverted into the river allowing maintenance work to be carried out on the dam.