West Harris Trust: Fincastle Dam Repair

Purpose of Grant

To restore and strengthen the historic Fincastle Dam on the Island of Harris.

Project Description

The West Harris Trust is a community-based owner of 3 crofting estates on Harris. The Trust requested grant monies to undertake a restoration project that aimed to save the Fincastle Dam on the Borve Lodge Estate. The Trust works in partnership with the Estate to distribute permits to local residents and maintain the ecology of the site.

Built in the 1890's in West Harris, the Fincastle Dam supports the western bank of Loch Fincastle which connects the marine environment of the Luskentyre Estuary with the freshwater of the loch, and hence the lower reaches of the Laxdale River, up which wild salmon progress to their spawning grounds.

The dam was leaking badly with age resulting in a loss of water to the small waterfall up which salmon must pass into Loch Fincastle and on up the river, leading to the endangering of the entire wild salmon run. In the summer of 2021, the danger to the wild salmon increased considerably because of the dry weather and low rainfall that is now a feature of climate change in the Hebridean summer.

To ensure the survival of the dam, the project proposed to drive interlocking steel piles through the central soft turf of the dam along its length from the southern bank to the waterfall at its northern end to restore and secure its integrity. A 22-ton vehicle would progress onto the sands of the Luskentyre estuary on the marine side of the dam wall and drive the sheet piles in from there so as not to place the load of the vehicle on the dam wall itself. It was proposed that the vehicle would move forward and retreat with the tides, the work only taking place at lower tides.

West Harris Trust partnered with Borve Lodge Estate on this project and the work was completed successfully in summer 2022.


The project was awarded a grant of £35,000.00. The total project cost sits were £67,248.00 with the balance being met by Borve Lodge Estate and other partners.

Project Details
West Harris Trust: Fincastle Dam Repair
Funding received: