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Lego pylon goes up in Boat of Garten as real things come down in Cairngorms

By John Davidson

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Grahame Kirsopp with his Lego transmission tower.
Grahame Kirsopp with his Lego transmission tower.

Towering above its chief engineer, this replica pylon is built entirely from Lego!

The free-standing transmission tower is proudly displayed in a site office at Boat of Garten – where SSEN Transmission and its principal contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure are taking down the real things.

As part of their VISTA project, 46 pylons and 12km of overhead line are being removed from the Cairngorms National Park.

But Grahame Kirsopp, a senior safety advisor at Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, decided he wanted to build one of the pylons himself.

Grahame, a self-confessed AFOL – Adult Fan of Lego – was on the lookout for a new challenge and rather than buying and building commercial sets, he looked for inspiration to create his own models, which he found when he came across a drawing of a new transmission tower.

Reflecting on his challenging build, Grahame said: “I started out hunting out instructions for old kits that were no longer available and trying to obtain the parts and build these, but I soon got bored of following the instructions and went looking for a new challenge.

“One of the main challenges I experienced was trying to construct the complex angles used in the construction of transmission towers and after a lot of head scratching early on, I very nearly gave up.

“Now that I’ve finished the project, I’m delighted I persevered and if anyone in Lego is on the hunt for a new commercial design, they’re welcome to get in touch!”

After Grahame completed the first draft in autumn 2019 he asked his SSEN Transmission colleagues for feedback on the construction of his Lego tower, drawing on their tower and engineering expertise. He used their comments to strip back and modify his design over the Christmas break, completing the model in time for the team starting back at the beginning of January.

The completed tower stands 2.1m tall, nearly 1m wide and contains just under 8000 individual Lego pieces.

The whole build has taken around six months and, unlike a lot of builders who glue their models, Grahame’s tower is fully self-supporting – a truly great feat of engineering!

The completed tower includes climbing lugs as well as insulators, a detailed replica of a real transmission tower.

Never one to sit around, and in line with his other passion – for safety – Grahame is now trying to develop an anti-climbing device for the tower to keep the Lego people safe from danger.

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