After years in the pipeline and disappointment after disappointment, we have decided once again to attempt to ease fish passage at Mill Dam Darvel. Today Helen and I met with Martin from a Syphon Fish Pass consultancy to look at the possibility of using new technology to solve a long standing issue. Martin was in no doubt that their Syphon type fish pass would work well in this location and we talked through various potential problems and requirements before he went on his way.

The Irvine was flowing well with a tinge of colour from the spate. I dropped the camera into the depths but visibility was poor and limited to just a foot or so. The dam and existing fish pass entrance can be seen in this video clip.

We now need to put together a final costing and proposal and take this forwards to the local community and funders for support. Martin will now update his quote and send outline drawings for us to take to funders. We have been working closely with Darvel AC to produce a feasibility study of various ideas to improve their fishings and the amenity. Not everyone is supportive of all ideas but that’s life. What most seem to appreciate is that the Mill Dam is an obstacle to fish migration that could be improved. There have been studies before but none that seemed to offer a perfect solution that would be supported widely. The Syphon if supported would be the first of it’s kind in Scotland and the first designed to allow salmon to migrate upstream. A similar pass was installed in Norfolk to assist with Coarse fish movements and within 24 hours, sea trout had passed through. This was an unexpected result but proof was captured on a Vaki Camera installed within the syphon. If sea trout can use this, then there should be no reason salmon can’t. Salmonids are rather better at migrating over and through obstacles than most coarse fish species. It is also hoped that this new technology will favourably attract funders attention. Here is a link to the fish syphon being installed in Norfolk.