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TITLE
Nostie Bridge Hydro-Electric Scheme
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_13_022
PLACENAME
Nostie Bridge
DISTRICT
South West Ross
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Lochalsh
DATE OF IMAGE
1955
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
9109
KEYWORDS
Loch Smeòraich
reservoir
dam
Nostie Bridge
drought
Nostie Bridge Hydro-Electric Scheme

During the summer months of 1955 there was a severe drought in the west Highlands resulting in hosepipe and car washing bans. More importantly for the local residents, the water level of the reservoir which powered the Nostie Bridge hydro-electric station became seriously low which could have resulted in the reduction in the electricity out-put for the Lochalsh area. The solution to this problem was for the local hydro workers to dig a channel from a loch to supplement the reservoir. With pick and shovel, these men dug out a near mile long canal from Loch Smeòraich to the reservoir at Gleann Udalain. This photograph shows the workers at the reservoir, about to start digging the channel.

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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Nostie Bridge Hydro-Electric Scheme

ROSS: Lochalsh

1950s

Loch Smeòraich; reservoir; dam; Nostie Bridge; drought

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

During the summer months of 1955 there was a severe drought in the west Highlands resulting in hosepipe and car washing bans. More importantly for the local residents, the water level of the reservoir which powered the Nostie Bridge hydro-electric station became seriously low which could have resulted in the reduction in the electricity out-put for the Lochalsh area. The solution to this problem was for the local hydro workers to dig a channel from a loch to supplement the reservoir. With pick and shovel, these men dug out a near mile long canal from Loch Smeòraich to the reservoir at Gleann Udalain. This photograph shows the workers at the reservoir, about to start digging the channel.<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>