MHG54444 - Hydroelectric Scheme - Conon Falls House


Hydroelectric Scheme at Conon Falls House

Type and Period (1)


Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

This hydro-scheme was recorded by NOSAS in 2007 as part of the Scotland's Rural Past Project. It is located between NH 3875 5755 (S end) to NH 3885 5795 (N end) on the east bank of the River Conon in birch woods below the Conon Falls. T his early hydro scheme predates the current one powered by Loch Luichart and can be separated into three main components:

A - the turbine house at NH 3875 5755, currently being refurbished by the Hydro Board,
B - the remains of two/three pipes. The pipes comprise the severed fragments, set in concrete, to the rear of the turbine house; the two smaller pipes derive from a single one coming down from the hill.
C - the course of the two parallel pipes descending from a dam (the remains of which have been subsumed by the present Loch Luichart Dam).

The course of the two pipes run parallel and are defined by a series of concrete cradles set at close intervals or within a rock-cut defile for part of the course. The course extends N-NW from the turbine house for 250m to NH 3863 5776 and then turns NE for a further 200m, with the remains of the last concrete cradle discerned just below the present dam at NH 3885 5795. The external diameter of the smaller W pipe is approx 1m, and bifurcates just above the turbine house. The larger E pipe was originally some 1.7m external diameter and much of the course of the pipe has been obliterated by the current road. A warning notice on a pylon close to the turbine house has the words “DANGER - 33,000 volts Ross-shire Electric Supply Company”. There is no evidence of the original dam but it is thought to be in much the same position as the current one. <1>

The remains represent part of an early hydro scheme established by the Ross-shire Electric Supply Company with Edward Blunt Mackenzie, the husband of the Countess of Cromarty, being responsible for pushing the initiative through. In 1903-04 he developed a private enterprise to supply electricity to the community. Strathpeffer and Dingwall were provided with electric light under an initiative achieved using water from Rogie (Strath Sgiach). However the scheme was costly and the company ran into debt. By 1925 it was assisted with a loan of £20,000 and a dam across the River Conon to utilise the waters of Loch Luichart was built (feeding two 500kw turbines). By 1933 a transmission line was running up the Moray Firth seaboard from the generating station at Loch Luichart through Dingwall and the Easter Ross towns as far as Dornoch. Ownership however had passed to the Scottish Power Company in 1928 and the capacity of the Loch Luichart Power Station had been increased.
The Hydro - Peter L Payne - 1988
Cromartie - Highland Life 1650-1914 - Eric Richards and Monica Clough - 1989
The Dam Builders - James Miller - 2002

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NH 3874 5775 (213m by 427m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH35NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish CONTIN

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