After a few delays, work has finally commenced to improve fish passage at the Black Rocks Waterfall on the Kilmarnock Water. Work was supposed to start last year but was delayed due to planning hold-ups followed by bad weather.

ART engaged IH Borland of Kilmarnock to undertake the works and they started this week. (Actually they started 2 weeks ago by erecting scaffolding but then we had heavy rain and the job was put on hold but at least the scaffold survived). This week Borland’s men began by diverting the water flow with shuttering and breaking out concrete to form take off pools.

Shuttering diverting the flow whilst work proceeds

Progress is slow due to the strength and thickness of the concrete but they are getting there. Access to and from the site is difficult and means everything has to be done manually. The broken concrete will be removed from the river by hiab but it will have to be barrowed and bagged first. Drilling is also underway for the 800 stainless steel dowels that will tie the new weirs to the concrete slab. Next week the take off pools will be prepared and steelwork will be assembled followed by the formwork (all weather permitting).

Breaking the concrete slab for the take-off pools

The take off pool nearest the camera has been broken out and drilling for the dowels is underway

When I was there today one of the men pulled a large eel from below the concrete slab and offered to stamp on it! After a quick education I hope he will look on them differently in future. We will keep updating the blog as things progress.