Rigs at Castlerigg: A GE Awards Case Study

Posted on July 3, 2017
Archive : July 2017
Category : Case Studies

On all sites, Geotechnics does all it can to minimise any impact of investigation work on the local environment. Nowhere has this been more evident than on our work with United Utilities near the historic Castlerigg Stone Circle.

To prepare improvements to their water supply system, United Utilities commissioned a site investigation near this English Heritage site that dates back to the Neolithic age. Castlerigg Stone Circle is thought to have been constructed around 3000 BC, and stands in the middle of the picturesque Cumbrian mountains close to Helvellyn and High Seat. Today, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the North West of England, with hikers coming from all over the globe to enjoy the glorious countryside.

With 15 boreholes to drill at depths of up to 135m near such a sensitive area, our North West team prepared carefully to conserve the beautiful landscape. What is more, they took into account the needs of a range of local stakeholders: from nearby guest houses and farms to tourists and hikers.

To give just a sense of the scale of the team’s preparation, approximately 3.5km of aluminium trackway was used throughout the works to access borehole locations. This trackway helped to protect the ground as the drill crews moved between each location, and it provided a safe access route across the countryside too.

For each borehole, the team installed vibrating wire piezometers and diver loggers to record pore water pressures and groundwater levels. This vital data will help United Utilities understand more about the site and how they can design and optimise construction of the water supply tunnel which will pass beneath it.

Our work with United Utilities at Castlerigg has been nominated for Best Ground Investigation Project over £500,000 at this year’s GE Awards. The ceremony takes place on Wednesday 5th July 2017 at the Hilton Hotel in London.

You can read more about our recent work in the latest edition of Geotopics.