It is a sunny day so seems an appropriate time to show some photos of the Spelga dam which I visited a few weeks ago, by accident, when I went to the Richill apple festival.
Set in the Mountains of Mourne in Co. Down, this dam was constructed in 1954 although the project was planned half a century earlier. The construction ran into trouble because the initial survey confused what they thought was the bedrock with some huge boulders and when construction started the dam wall started sinking and the true bedrock was 40m deeper. It was completed in 1957.
The dam created a lake of 1300 acres high up in the Silent Valley area 370m above sea level. It blocks the flow of the River Bann and is surrounded by various mountains including the Pigeon and Slieve Muck to the south, Cock and Hen to the west and Butter Mountain to the north.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was at an Electric Brae. It just shows how you should do your homework before you travel. But since I didn’t know I was going there I have an excuse but I am slightly annoyed that I missed another ‘Father Ted moment’ (the Magic Road in the ‘Hell’ episode).
An Electric Brae is a road where supposedly magnetic powers overcome the force of gravity and cars seem to roll uphill. When I parked the car by the reservoir I walked down the hill to the small road that runs to the iron gates that give access to the water treatment plant at the side of the dam. Of course, walking, I didn’t realise the significance of this spot but, if you go, make sure you pull into the road and, allegedly, it will appear that your car is rolling uphill if you take the handbrake off!
It seems that magic roads are quite an attraction here in Ireland – how have I missed that! You can find out more here –