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Grudie Bridge Power Station
Conon Scheme

The elegant Grudie Bridge power station receives water via a 6.5km tunnel from Loch Fannich. The turbines discharge into Loch Luichart. 

Hydro in the Highlands

In 1943, only one in a hundred crofts in the Highlands had electricity. But in just a few decades, affordable electricity would transform the way people lived. Hydro power made this
possible.

Conon hydro-electric scheme

The Conon Valley is one of the major west-east valley systems extending across Scotland. This area of the northwest Highlands receives heavy rainfall throughout the year. The Ross-shire Electricity Supply Company built the region’s first hydropower station at the Falls of Conon in the 1920s.

Today, SSE’s Conon Scheme includes six major dams and seven power stations. These were built in three phases between 1946 and 1961. There is a total fall of 255m from the scheme’s highest point at Loch Droma (270m) to the outlet of Torr Achilty power station. Some of the water passing through this scheme is used up to three times to generate electricity.

During construction of the scheme, workers moved a main line railway station and over 3km of track.  They also built or improved about 48km of public and private roads. Between 1948 and 1965, an average of 4500 men worked on hydro schemes in Scotland. Scots, Irish, Polish and Czechs worked alongside German and Italian former prisoners of war.  

 

Loch Fannich Dam

Aqueducts and tunnels guide water into Loch Fannich, held back by a dam. During construction, workers blew out a large plug of rock at the bottom of the loch to complete the outflow tunnel. They jokingly called it ‘Operation Bathplug.’

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