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TITLE
Hydro-Electric Switch on at Applecross
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_RAMSAY_D893_1_14_008
PLACENAME
Applecross
DISTRICT
Lochcarron
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Applecross
DATE OF IMAGE
9 July 1955
PERIOD
1950s
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
9151
KEYWORDS
hydro-electric
Applecross
Nicolson
Hydro-Electric Switch on at Applecross

Electricity was switched on for the first time in Applecross on Saturday 9th July 1955. The actual switch on, making electricity available to the area was performed by Kenneth Ferguson, aged 88, who like his father and grandfather had lived all his life in Applecross. The whole community was invited to attend the celebrations on this sunny summer day. A marquee was decorated with flags and the North of Scotland Hydro Board crest in prominent position. Pictured here is Isobel Nicolson, wife of Torquil Nicolson who was Area Manager for the Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross area, based in Kyle of Lochalsh.



The main speeches of the day were by Sir Hugh MacKenzie, Deputy Chair of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, and Mr T Lawrie, General Manager of the Board. MacKenzie, in his speech, said that in the Hydro-Electric Development Act of 1943, Applecross was not included by the Commissioners, but the community was not forgotten by the North of Scotland Board, and they were determined to bring electricity to the Applecross district. In deciding the route for the electricity lines to Applecross, the rough terrain of the peninsula posed a considerable challenge. In 1948 Mr 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.



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 Switch on at Applecross

ROSS: Applecross

1950s

hydro-electric; Applecross; Nicolson

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

William J Ramsay Archive

Electricity was switched on for the first time in Applecross on Saturday 9th July 1955. The actual switch on, making electricity available to the area was performed by Kenneth Ferguson, aged 88, who like his father and grandfather had lived all his life in Applecross. The whole community was invited to attend the celebrations on this sunny summer day. A marquee was decorated with flags and the North of Scotland Hydro Board crest in prominent position. Pictured here is Isobel Nicolson, wife of Torquil Nicolson who was Area Manager for the Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross area, based in Kyle of Lochalsh.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> The main speeches of the day were by Sir Hugh MacKenzie, Deputy Chair of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, and Mr T Lawrie, General Manager of the Board. MacKenzie, in his speech, said that in the Hydro-Electric Development Act of 1943, Applecross was not included by the Commissioners, but the community was not forgotten by the North of Scotland Board, and they were determined to bring electricity to the Applecross district. In deciding the route for the electricity lines to Applecross, the rough terrain of the peninsula posed a considerable challenge. In 1948 Mr 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 /> <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 /> <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 /> <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 /><br /> <br /><br /> This image can be purchased.<br /><br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /><br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>