The Cork Fellowship Scout Group who always amaze up with their programme and activities certainly keep up to their standards last week. Sometimes being described as the Golden Oldies and Dads Army they leave no stone unturned in arranging a wide and varied programme.
For their annual camp this year they were based at the National Campsite in Larch Hill and took in some wonderful trips. The highlight was perhaps the visit by eleven of the group to the ESB Turlough Hill Power Generation station. The group were fortunate in that one of the members Joe Doyle has his daughter in law Caoimhe on staff who organised a three hour guided tour which all found a fascinating engineering feat.
The Turlough Hill Scheme is the only one of its kind in Ireland. Long before the construction of the Turlough Hill scheme, the Wicklow Gap was noted as a source of power. In the 1800’s the water from the lower lake was used to drive water wheels, which in turn, operated pumps to drain excess water from the local lead and zinc mines.
The project which began in 1968 was the largest civil engineering operation ever undertaken in the country. It involved the construction of tunnels through the heart of the mountain. The Fellowship group were just left in awe every step of the way along the tour. It was fascinating to learn and see that a man made lake which is 1.2 km in circumference high up in the mountain is filled up each day through a series of pumps from the lower lake.
The Turlough Hill station is also the Hydro Control Centre for all the ESB’s hydro plant. So as well as controlling what happens at Turlough Hill, all ten of the ESB’s hydro stations are also controlled remotely from there using a computer link up. It was interesting to see the data on screen from the ESB Inniscarra Plant and to have explained exactly what was happening there at that moment.
The group also visited the round tower at Glendalough along with a visit to the Maritime Museum at Dun Laoghaire. Getting fond of the sea the group took a boat ride from there to the centre of Dublin. A trip to the Collins Museum where there is a special section on the First World War was most impressive in design and lay out and quite graphic in ways bringing home the full horrors of war.