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Cruachan Power Station

Hydroelectric Power Station (Modern)

Site Name Cruachan Power Station

Classification Hydroelectric Power Station (Modern)

Alternative Name(s) Cruachan Pumped Storage Scheme; Ben Cruachan Hydroelectric Power Scheme

Canmore ID 164447

Site Number NN02NE 12

NGR NN 08000 27750

NGR Description Centred NN 08000 27750

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Ardchattan And Muckairn (Argyll And Bute)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NN02NE 12.00 centred 08000 27750

NN02NE 12.01 centred NN 0810 2870 reservoir

NN02NE 12.02 NN 08015 28154 dam

NN02NE 12.03 NN 0780 2853 (tunnel) outlet

NN02NE 12.04 NN c. 0800 2775 turbine hall

NN02NE 12.05 NN 0792 2676 visitor centre and tunnel entrance

NN02NE 12.06 NN 0828 2825 tunnel entrance

Cruachan Power Station [NAT] (at NN 0773 2675)

OS 1:10,000 map, 1974.

Awe/Ben Cruachan scheme (1965). Pumped storage system: dam on Ben Cruachan and underground power station (Edmund Nuttall and Co). Installed capacity 400 mW.

J Miller 2002.


Photographic Record (1960 - 1969)

Photos taken in the 1960s by Andrew Simpson, scanned and contributed to RCAHMS.

Four sites:


Four Photographs.

Scanned from Mono-chrome negatives.


Six Photographs.

Scanned from Mono-Chrome negatives.


Twenty Six Photographs scanned from various sizes (35mm, 6x6, 6x9cm, and 31/4 x 41/4 in.) monochrome negatives.

(A) Erecting Cupolas 001 to 015.

Unloading and erecting a new pair of Cupolas, to replace Old Cupolas 001 to 003. Late Sixties

(B) Old Cupolas 001 to 003:

Operating the old Cupolas, late sixties

(C) Pipe Plant Ladle 001 to 002:

: Showing Covered Double Spouted Pipe Plant Ladles, late sixties

(D) Porous Plug 001 to 004:

: General views of Induction Heated Receiver, with a Porous Plug Ladle used for continuous Recarburisation of Cupola Melted Iron

Used with Cupolas shown in 001 to 015

(E) Chill Test 001:

Chill test pieces of Inoculated and Un-Inoculated Cast Iron from 001 to 015 and recarburised using the Porous Plug..

Chll Test Pieces marked “R”, taken directly from the receiver.

Wedge Test pieces marked “B” the same Cast Iron after inoculation with about 0.25%SMZ (Silico-Manganese-Zirconium )


Two Photographs

Scanned from 35mm Kodachrome.

(A) Construction of QE2

400mm Telephotograph from Great Western Rd.

(B) General Terminus Quay

Ore Carrier, Bulk Handling Cranes and Ferry at General Terminus Quay, Glasgow

Field Visit (2010)

Cruachan Power Station is a pioneering example of pumped storage and the first to be built on this scale in the UK. Water is received via pressure pipeline from Cruachan Dam (directly above the turbine hall) which is used to generate power. At periods of cheap electricity the turbines are run in reverse to pump water back from Loch Awe to the reservoir. Ben Cruachan Turbine hall forms and A-group with Ben Cruachan Dam. Ben Cruachan turbine hall is a monumental engineering achievement and an integral part of one Britain’s most innovative hydro electric power schemes and the first example of the use of reversible turbine pumped storage technology. The 3240 cubic metre turbine hall was hollowed out entirely from solid bedrock and is set deep within the side of the Ben Cruachan ridge. The turbine hall is accessed by a 1 kilometre long vehicular access tunnel. The lower end of the tunnel terminates in ‘the crossroads’ where secondary tunnels give access to visitors viewing gallery, transformer hall and surge shaft. The housing of a power station of this scale wholly underground in addition to secondary features such as transformers and pressure tunnels was pioneering and allowed for the development of a power station large enough to play a nationally significant role in energy supply in an area renowned for scenic beauty with very limited visual impact. The station exhibits a number of period design features dating from the 1960s including the timber artwork panel by Elizabeth Faulkner and careful attention to detail in lighting and acoustic design, all with imaginative uses of timber and concrete. National Archives of Scotland (NAS), Ref: NSE North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Collection (1943 -1990); NAS, Ref: NSE1 North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Minutes (1943-1990); NAS, Ref NSE2 North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Annual Reports (1943-1990); PL Payne; E Wood, 2002, 178-79; J Miller, 2002, 230-40; F A Walker,2000, 375.

Desk Based Assessment (October 2013 - July 2015)

CFA Archaeology Ltd undertook an assessment of the cultural heritage implications of the proposed route of a replacement overhead line (YX Route) from Ben Cruachan Hydro Power Station to Dalmally substation.

Although twelve cultural heritage features were identified, by the desk-based assessment, within the study area, few of the identified cultural heritage sites lie on the route of the line, or in the immediate vicinity of any of the towers.

Taking into account the construction methodology to be employed, and the avoidance and mitigation measures which will be employed, it is considered that the overhead line replacement project will have no significant residual adverse effect on the known cultural heritage resource and will have little potential to disturb significant hitherto undiscovered archaeological deposits.

Funder: Iberdrola Engineering and Construction Ltd

CFA archaeology Ltd


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