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Affric-Beauly Hydro-Electric Power Scheme

The Affric-Beauly scheme for hydro-electric power generation lies to the south of the Conon Scheme and is centred approximately 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Loch Ness amongst the headwaters of the River Beauly. The scheme was approved in 1947 by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board under the chairmanship of Tom Johnston (1881 - 1965), opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1952, but was not fully operational until 1994.

The Glen Affric - Glen Cannich section was planned with great care to protect the scenic beauty of the area and reduce flooding. The dam on Loch Mullardoch in Glen Cannich is an impressive structure that was, for more than 50 years, the longest dam is Scotland at 727m (2385 feet). The work also included a tunnel to divert water into Loch Beinn a Mheadhoin on the River Affric, a dam on that same loch and a 3 mile (5 km) tunnel to the main 66 megawatt (MW) generating station at Fasnakyle in Strathglass. This station is decorated with relief carvings of Celtic beasts by sculptor Hew Lorimer (1907-93).

The Strathfarrar - Kilmorack section includes the Monar Dam, one of the few concrete arch-dams in Britain, a 5½-mile (9-km) tunnel to the 38 MW power station at Deanie by Loch Beannacharan, which has a small dam and a further tunnel leading to a 22 MW power station at Culligran, below the falls on the River Farrar. Downstream, two gorges on the River Beauly at Aigas and Kilmorack have been dammed each with a 20 MW power station. Because of the salmon in the rivers care is taken to ensure water is kept at an acceptable level, and Borland fish lifts have been installed at Kilmorack, Aigas and Beannacharan. These lifts act much like a lock on a canal; fish are attracted into a lower pool by a stream of water, a lower gate is then closed at regular intervals and the water level raised until the fish can swim out at the upper level.

The stations forming the scheme generate 170 MW of power and are run by the privatised Scottish & Southern Energy Plc (previously Scottish Hydro-Electric), headquartered in Perth and with a turnover of £2.3 billion.


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