TPAS Annual Telegraph Pole Expedition

Outer Hebrides, Barra to Butt of Lewis (April/May 2019)

Yes, you all missed the chance to burgle my house while I was away.  And the key was under the mat the whole time.  Not just me but the entirety of Telegraph Pole Towers took the high road to the top left hand corner of Great Britain.  In order to avoid the M6, we drove first overnight to Holyhead for an early ferry to Dublin.  Drove to Donegal just for a laugh and because I was promised a pint of something special.  Then caught a ferry Larne to Cairnryan.  Drove north to Oban.  Camped the night in Taynuilt station car park.  5 hour ferry to Castlebay, Barra for week #1 in a cottage next the airport beach.  Then ferry from Northbay, Barra to Eriskay and week #2 cottage on South Uist.  Thence ferry from Berneray to Leverburgh (Harris) and drive north for week #3 at Tolstachaolais, Lewis.  All finished off with a stinking campervan meander homewards via the B roads of Scotland over 3 days with a dash along the nasty and unavoidable M6 bit.

Herewith telegraph pole encounters of our trip.  Click images to enlarge and see captions.

Existential Angst

Until very recently Gary Straiton thought he was alone.  Completely alone.  But let me assure you of this Gary, you are born alone, and you will die alone but in between there is The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society.  You have found us new member #0829 and you are among friends.  Weird friends, but friends nonetheless.

"Anyway," Gary tells us "One of my things is proper railway lines with telegraph poles."  (Ours too Gary)  He sent us the following photos of the poles remaining on the closed (1967) main line between Perth and Kinnaber Junction.   He also told us that when permission was granted to close the line by Barbara Castle one of the conditions was that infrastructure was to remain in case of reopening (insert ho ho ho's here).  The line was shut in September 67 but a section remained open for goods only until June 1982.  It's important to know this formed part of the West Coast Main Line, hence the pole route wasn’t lightweight.

Gary continued "Probably all the remaining TP’s on the Strathmore line are west of Forfar, the section of the line to Perth remaining open until 1982. It would appear that the poles weren’t part of the deal when the scrap men moved in."

   "I have been trying to locate some of the old S&T linesmen who worked the pole routes but finding that difficult. I would really like to know what the wires did at each location and was it by local knowledge or was there are record kept?"

Gary sent us links to his Flickr feeds with some brillilant photo collections that I highly recommend you take a look at.  I'm rather pleased with myself that I've worked out this clever way of shortening the links.  That's what we're here for.  Anyway, the pics are brilliant, thanks Gary.

Kirkinch level crossing

Ardler Station Junction

Mike Mather's Adler Jn pic