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TITLE
Helicopter at Gleann Udalain Dam
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_8_007
PLACENAME
Nostie Bridge
DISTRICT
South West Ross
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Lochalsh
PERIOD
1980s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
8795
KEYWORDS
hydro-electric
Lochalsh
Gleann Udalain
dam
helicopter
valve house
Helicopter at Gleann Udalain Dam

This photograph was taken at the dam at Gleann Udalain, with the pipeline running down to the Lochalsh power station at Nostie Bridge. In the lower left of the photograph is the valve house, where a valve needed to be replaced. This resulted in an emergency shut down of the whole system, dam, pipeline and power station. Water was accumulating in front of the valve house, which had to be pumped away. A helicopter was brought in to deliver a replacement pump to the site. The new pump is shown on the ground just in front of the valve house, and the old pump wrapped in netting, is being ready to be lifted away. In this narrow gorge, with strong updrafts and the helicopter hovering very near the dam, the winchman, at the door of the helicopter is keeping an eye on the procedure and relaying vital information to the pilot.

The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric project for the Lochalsh area was situated at Nostie Bridge, six miles from Kyle of Lochalsh. Work began in 1946 after an official pole raising ceremony that May, and the station was energized in December 1948. Original plans showed two dams, but the terrain proved unsuitable, and one dam was built across Allt Gleann Udalain. The reservoir, dam and power station were constructed at the same time as progress was going ahead with the distribution network, and in laying underwater cables across Loch Duich, Loch Long, Loch Carron and Loch Alsh.

The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board was established under the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943. Thomas Johnston presented the Act in the House of Commons, declaring that by harnessing 'the great latent power of the region' it would assist in remedying the ills that affected the Highlands. Johnston told the Commons that 'industries, whether owned nationally or privately, will be and ought to be, attracted to locations in the Highlands, as a result of this measure'.

Ordinary consumers would have priority, then the anticipated large power users, and any surplus energy would be sold to the national grid. Profits from these sales would help reduce distribution costs to more remote areas, and assist in carrying out measures for the economic development and social improvement of the Highlands. This famous social clause gave recognition that the Hydro Board was envisaged as an instrument for the rehabilitation of northern Scotland, not just an organization to provide electricity.

The output from the power station at Loch Sloy, west of Loch Lomond, was intended to meet the demand for central and western Scotland. The surplus energy produced here would be used to subsidise the Morar and Lochalsh projects, it being unlikely these smaller schemes could pay their way. The cost of construction of these three projects was estimated at £4,600,000


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Helicopter at Gleann Udalain Dam

ROSS: Lochalsh

1980s

hydro-electric; Lochalsh; Gleann Udalain; dam; helicopter; valve house

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

This photograph was taken at the dam at Gleann Udalain, with the pipeline running down to the Lochalsh power station at Nostie Bridge. In the lower left of the photograph is the valve house, where a valve needed to be replaced. This resulted in an emergency shut down of the whole system, dam, pipeline and power station. Water was accumulating in front of the valve house, which had to be pumped away. A helicopter was brought in to deliver a replacement pump to the site. The new pump is shown on the ground just in front of the valve house, and the old pump wrapped in netting, is being ready to be lifted away. In this narrow gorge, with strong updrafts and the helicopter hovering very near the dam, the winchman, at the door of the helicopter is keeping an eye on the procedure and relaying vital information to the pilot.<br /> <br /> The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric project for the Lochalsh area was situated at Nostie Bridge, six miles from Kyle of Lochalsh. Work began in 1946 after an official pole raising ceremony that May, and the station was energized in December 1948. Original plans showed two dams, but the terrain proved unsuitable, and one dam was built across Allt Gleann Udalain. The reservoir, dam and power station were constructed at the same time as progress was going ahead with the distribution network, and in laying underwater cables across Loch Duich, Loch Long, Loch Carron and Loch Alsh.<br /> <br /> The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board was established under the Hydro-Electric Development (Scotland) Act 1943. Thomas Johnston presented the Act in the House of Commons, declaring that by harnessing 'the great latent power of the region' it would assist in remedying the ills that affected the Highlands. Johnston told the Commons that 'industries, whether owned nationally or privately, will be and ought to be, attracted to locations in the Highlands, as a result of this measure'.<br /> <br /> Ordinary consumers would have priority, then the anticipated large power users, and any surplus energy would be sold to the national grid. Profits from these sales would help reduce distribution costs to more remote areas, and assist in carrying out measures for the economic development and social improvement of the Highlands. This famous social clause gave recognition that the Hydro Board was envisaged as an instrument for the rehabilitation of northern Scotland, not just an organization to provide electricity.<br /> <br /> The output from the power station at Loch Sloy, west of Loch Lomond, was intended to meet the demand for central and western Scotland. The surplus energy produced here would be used to subsidise the Morar and Lochalsh projects, it being unlikely these smaller schemes could pay their way. The cost of construction of these three projects was estimated at £4,600,000 <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a><br />