The Arrochar Hydro Scheme Diaries

So far it has been a wet but very productive month for the Arrochar Community Hydro scheme who recently announced that they had achieved through its sale of shares their target to get the communities of Arrochar, Tarbet and Luss connected to the National Grid next year.

Duncan MacLachlan from the Arrochar & Tarbet Community Development Trust and speaking on behalf of the hydro scheme has been keeping us up to date with progress so far….

If you have been looking at early hydro project progress on the hill above Arrochar you will have seen the machines going over the shoulder, and despite a lot of rain and a wet sodden hillside, the groundwork’s contractor is making good progress. With a couple of decent dry days they have been working at a few places simultaneously, at 3 points of the inverted Y.  The enthusiastic work force have been working from first light to dusk, and sometimes even later.

Hydro scheme multi-tasking!

Let me introduce you to the main man who is a power source himself (Stevie Bryan). Whilst he is working between stations and helping his operators when a 2 man job is required, he is phoning and organising material deliveries or checking with the designer Jamie at HE, then phoning his operator at the top of the pipeline when he’s working on his machine digging out at the bottom – and talking to me, whilst thinking and organising for tomorrow’s tasks!! A real energetic multi-tasker, which is great for us to see!

I saw the Turbine House Platform excavated and levelled to base height; the pipes being welded with the first 12 lengths out last night and dragged up the track; and the first intake slab set at the pipeline head.

Even the track was drying out in places – but still wet in hollows as water tracks downhill in layers under the surface, with some bits feeling like a trampoline when you walk on it. Hence the change of plan to have pipe welded at the bottom and dragged up hill rather that the preferred and easier, top down.

Local kids get involved!

Speaking to the Head Teacher at the local Primary School, they are keen to introduce their pupils to the Renewable Energies, with Hydro, big and small, now on their doorstep! We are trying to pull in some educational materials and models on how things work in converting water power and other sources into electricity and have been sent a lot of information from Edinburgh Solar and Energy4All.


Interesting rock marbling was exposed at the temporary river diversion cut through at the top intake, all rippled and smooth as if it was an earlier burn alignment.  


What next?

So far all is basically going well and the civilian contractor is determined to meet his aim of being off the hill by the end of next month, leaving things to the builder & engineers to construct the Power House and install the turbine, and generating equipment.

Thanks Duncan for a great account and we can’t wait to hear the next instalment of the Arrochar Hydro Scheme Diaries!

You can also keep up to date by visiting :