Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

New Visitor Centre for Pitlochry hydro power station

It’s rather a long time since I ventured into the original Visitor Centre at the Pitlochry Power Station. Somehow, whenever I was in Pitlochry I always seemed to be busy doing other things, and by the time I got to end of the day and had some time… well, the doors always seemed to be closed and locked by then.

But I did manage it, once, and while it was nice enough, it was all fairly simple stuff. Good enough to keep the kids occupied, but as someone who was ‘In the business’, it (the public display) wasn’t engaging. I spent more time ogling what I could of the exposed hardware, and believe me, for most hydroelectric facilities, that’s little enough, as all the real goodies are hidden away, far underfoot, and usually out-of-bounds to visitors.

So, I hope that the passage of time means that the new £4 million Visitor Centre will be a bit more techie than its predecessor.

I don’t hold out much hope though, as most of the revamps I’ve seen of museums has seen them being ‘Dumbed down’, and that’s not my impression, but of many visitors. The most vocal examples I came across followed the reopening of Glasgow’s Kelvingrove, and many comments made online about the new labelling attached to the exhibits.

Energy company SSE has confirmed it will build a £4m visitor centre overlooking its hydro dam in Pitlochry.

The dam at the head of Loch Faskally and its fish ladder already attract 50,000 visitors each year.

SSE said it believed the attraction, which will open in the autumn of 2016, would double the number of visitors.

The company said the visitor centre would use the latest technology to celebrate the story of the engineers who brought hydro power to Scotland.

It forecasts the centre will employ up to 12 people during the tourist season.

Via Energy firm SSE plans £4m Pitlochry hydro dam visitor centre – BBC News

As the photographer noted, this view is unusual, and things are usually much ‘drier’. I’ve never seen water going over the gates in all the years I’ve visited the area, and the central sluice has been the most exciting sight on offer, being quite impressive as it launches a stream many metres into the air when opened.

It’s worth noting the real purpose of this dam is to control the water level in Loch Faskally, and the 15 MW produced by Pitlochry is something of a bonus, being part of a larger scheme completed in 1950, and the last of five power stations which may use the water to generate electricity.

Now A-listed, it is seen as one of the most successful builds of the time. Considered controversial when built, due do its proximity to Pitlochry, all the workings were hidden underground, including hardware such as transformers and cables, leaving nothing to be seen on the surface.

Dumb museum signs

Coincidentally, just after I had a little gripe about the labelling of exhibits and how the language on the signs might not be too clever, I saw the following article appear almost immediately in one of my feeds.

It may not be exactly what I had in mind, but it does illustrate how careful those behind such sign must be, as the chances of having visitors that actually do “Know better” are quite high:

Nonsense At The Museum: “The Turbine Went From 0 to 60 Seconds.”

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August 3, 2015 - Posted by | Civilian | , , ,

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