There was an unusual sight over the west of Orkney, Scotland last Friday morning as Orkney Islands Council continued its work to install a new marine traffic system.
A 16-foot long radar piece of a new VTS (vessel traffic system) was transferred by helicopter from the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) Billia Croo wave test site to the Black Craig.
The Black Craig, which EMEC uses as an environmental observation point for its wave test site, stands at one of the highest points on the west mainland with impressive views of the North Atlantic.
However, due to difficulties in accessing the Black Craig and the size of the equipment, it wasn’t possible to access the site by vehicle so a more dramatic method of transportation was required, which saw the radar scanner carried underneath the helicopter and then landed on site.
Stephen Foulkes, the Council’s Deputy Technical Superintendent for Marine Services, said:
“This is the last piece of equipment that is required up at the site which is currently used by EMEC. During the process we have taken the opportunity to upgrade the building to make it more usable due to the sensitive nature of the new electronic equipment. We have worked closely with EMEC who have also used the time to upgrade their monitoring equipment.
“We used a small four wheeled drive vehicle to carry up material but we were only allowed two trips due to the sensitive nature of the ground so this being the case we have hired in the helicopter to complete the work.
“This will now improve our radar coverage along the west side.”
Neil Kermode, Managing Director for the European Marine Energy Centre said:
“EMEC are delighted to support the installation of this vital piece of equipment which will greatly improve the safety of marine operations around Orkney and the Pentland Firth.”