Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

New visitor centre planned for Pitlochry Power Sation

Good and bad news comes with news of plans for a new £3 million visitor centre at the picturesque Pitlochry Power Station, intended to promote tourism in Highland Perthshire.

The good news it that the new centre could see visitors numbers double from 50,000 to 100,000 per annum. Plans have been lodged with Perth and Kinross Council by Scottish and Southern Energy, stating:

This option presents an opportunity to create a nationally significant visitor attraction that will deliver enhanced, tangible benefits for Pitlochry and the surrounding area, as well as raise the profile for the local operation and SEE as a national company.

National significance will also be achieved through the quality of the environmentally sustainable building, the quality of the exhibition and the setting.

The bad news is that the existing visitor centre has now closed, to be replaced for the time being by the installation of five interpretation panels at various point across the dam, each of them explaining different aspects of the area’s hydro heritage. The centre was closed after a study highlighted  a number of access restrictions arising from the fact that it is part of an operational power station, making change difficult.

While those visiting the area won’t be able to access the interior of the station and places such as the generator hall, the highly popular outdoor attractions are still on show, these being the dam on Loch Faskally, and the fish ladder, where the salmon can be seen via a viewing window as they ascend the River Tummel and make their way past the dam to their spawning ground.

For those who might be missing the potential for a sight of the hardware in the generating hall, then there’s a pic taken back in 2005 that gives a glimpse of the interior. My last visit was before that, and I can’t recall if the enclosure seen there was present. It doesn’t look familiar, and I can’t recall having seen anything similar in other stations I have visited. As with all these places, you are looking at the proverbial iceberg, and the real working lie far below this little hump (which is the end of the shaft and its bearing), with the generator immediately below, and then the water turbine still further down below that.

Pitlochry is rated at 15 MW and is one of nine power stations which make up the Tummel-Garry hydroelectric scheme which dates back to the 1950s. It is the last station in the chain which lies in the Tummel valley, so by the time the water is being used to generate power there, it will have already done the same job at other stations higher in the chain.

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May 4, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , ,

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