In September 2023, Nicol of Skene took on the urgent task of replacing an existing 33kV circuit for the Beinn An Turic Windfarm connection into Carradale Substation. The reason for this critical mission was severe erosion to a riverbank that had exposed the existing circuit, demanding immediate action. The project involved the installation of 225mm and 125mm SDR11 ducts to accommodate the 33kV cable and fibre optic components, with an additional set of spare ducts. Nicol of Skene's dedicated team also meticulously prepared the cables and fibres for connection to the substation.
The project was not without its challenges. Firstly, it marked a milestone for Nicol of Skene's Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) teams, with the longest drill to date at an impressive 510 meters, spanning over half a kilometre under the Carradale river and floodplains. Additionally, Carradale's location on the far West Coast of Scotland posed logistical difficulties due to its narrow access roads. The project also had to prioritise environmental considerations, ensuring minimal disruption to the landscape. In response, Nicol of Skene meticulously designed and executed bore plans, eliminating any disruption to prime agricultural land that open-cut exercises might have caused.
To meet these challenges, Nicol of Skene deployed the Prime Rig PD80 Horizontal Drilling Rig and a full mud recycling system. Collaborating with SSE, Nicol of Skene successfully achieved its objectives. The project set a new record for Nicol of Skene, marking the longest HDD drill at 510 meters, and it achieved its goals with minimal disruption to landowners and the client. This new cable connection ensures network integrity for the lifespan of the asset. The project showcased the incredible dedication and expertise of all involved, from management to ground staff and the HDD crew.
Derek Nicol, Chief Executive of Nicol of Skene, commented on this demanding technical project: 'This has been a very challenging technical project for Nicols from planning to completion, involving environmentalists, SEPA, Fisheries, Landowners, and SSE. The whole team from Nicol of Skene, from management to ground staff and the HDD crew, have committed to fully deliver on the program.'
The Carradale HDD Works project exemplifies Nicol of Skene's commitment to overcoming complex challenges and delivering outstanding results for its clients.