The line of the new Beauly-Denny pylon line takes it through the Corrieyairack Pass in the wilds of the upper Spey. Those travelling up and down the A9 will be aware of the scale of the construction works underway with the first pylons now appearing on and over the skyline. Working in a remote upland area such as the Corrieyairack Pass is obviously a challenge and the contractors ran into some difficulties recently with a peat slide above the upper reaches of the Allt Yairack.
The fishery board were informed at the time and Duncan Ferguson has been on scene, along with the regulators, and was able to take the photos posted here. The site of the peat slide is well up the Allt Yairack at about 730m altitude so well beyond the reach of any salmon. The photo above shows that there is a large quantity of peat in the bed of the burn with more ready to slip down the bank. The contractors have used sheet piling to try and stabilise the peat at the top of the bank and monitoring results provided by SSE show little impact on water quality to date. This has been the driest summer for years but the risks of working on peat are clear even in almost drought conditions.
Peat slides associated with wind farm developments have caused major damage to rivers notable in Ireland (see here) where huge numbers of fish were killed. The peat currently in the Allt Yairack burn bed and on the bank will be washed away in the next spate to be deposited in the lower burn and upper Spey. Salmon fry and parr are found in the lower Yairack, part of the very fragile upper Spey salmon population. The fish up there have enough to contend with!