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TITLE
Hydro-Electric Transformer at Ard-Ban
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_12_014
PLACENAME
Ardban
DISTRICT
Lochcarron
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Applecross
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
9032
KEYWORDS
hydro-electric
Ard-Ban
cooker
Applecross
transformer
Hydro-Electric Transformer at Ard-Ban

Lochalsh area first received electricity in December 1948, when the newly built generating station at Nostie Bridge was officially opened. Two years later, the power station at Storr Lochs on the Isle of Skye was energized in May 1952. It took some years to extend the infrastructure to supply electricity to areas furthest from these stations, with Applecross and Shieldaig receiving a supply three years later.

In deciding the route for the electricity lines to Applecross, the rough terrain of the peninsula posed a considerable challenge. The Hydro Board was determined to provide the service to Applecross, and in 1948, the General Manager of the Board, Mr T Lawrie took the first practical step in addressing the problem by taking a fishing boat from Plockton to Toscaig, and walking back through Applecross and over the hills to Loch Kishorn. The lines could have followed the main road over Bealach na Ba, but at the height of over 2,000 feet, the maintenance of the supply in winter would have been difficult and probably at times impossible. The routes were surveyed, costs compared and the final decision routed the electricity lines from Kishorn, following the coast, then over the hills directly to Toscaig, north to Applecross and along the coast to Shieldaig.

This photograph shows the hydro-electric transformer at Ard-Ban, a remote settlement south of Applecross.

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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Hydro-Electric Transformer at Ard-Ban

ROSS: Applecross

1950s

hydro-electric; Ard-Ban; cooker; Applecross; transformer

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

Lochalsh area first received electricity in December 1948, when the newly built generating station at Nostie Bridge was officially opened. Two years later, the power station at Storr Lochs on the Isle of Skye was energized in May 1952. It took some years to extend the infrastructure to supply electricity to areas furthest from these stations, with Applecross and Shieldaig receiving a supply three years later.<br /> <br /> In deciding the route for the electricity lines to Applecross, the rough terrain of the peninsula posed a considerable challenge. The Hydro Board was determined to provide the service to Applecross, and in 1948, the General Manager of the Board, Mr T Lawrie took the first practical step in addressing the problem by taking a fishing boat from Plockton to Toscaig, and walking back through Applecross and over the hills to Loch Kishorn. The lines could have followed the main road over Bealach na Ba, but at the height of over 2,000 feet, the maintenance of the supply in winter would have been difficult and probably at times impossible. The routes were surveyed, costs compared and the final decision routed the electricity lines from Kishorn, following the coast, then over the hills directly to Toscaig, north to Applecross and along the coast to Shieldaig.<br /> <br /> This photograph shows the hydro-electric transformer at Ard-Ban, a remote settlement south of Applecross.<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 />