The town of Pitlochry

Last modified 17 September 2005 23:53ET

We went to Pitlochry after we said our goodbyes at Edradour Distillery. We'd had to go through Pitlochry to get to the Distillery, so we'd had tantalizing glimpses of a very nice looking (touristy) town. It looked like a good place for lunch.

I wandered downhill, away from the group, and found a nice place to have lunch. Called The Old Armoury, I found what seemed to me to be a very Scottish menu.

The Old Armoury restaurant, Pitlochry, Scotland

The menu that day was

Unfortunately, I don't remember what I had, exactly, but I do remember that I enjoyed it.

After lunch, I continued downhill toward the hydroelectric dam.

Sign for the Pitlochry hydroelectric dam

On the way to the dam, I encountered several signs, including a map of the general area (345KB), which included a number of places we were going/had already gone that day, such as Edradour Distillery and the Soldier's Leap (it comes later), the rest of the hydroelectric system, and many walking paths one could take if one had time, which I didn't. If you look at the map, you'll see Edradour Distillery is just at the right edge near the bottom. Also, there's another distillery right in Pitlochry called Blair Athol Distillery. It looks like this would be a good area to spend some time in, especially if you want to try some Scotch!

Downstream from the Pitlochry hydroelectric dam
Downstream from the Pitlochry Hydroelectric Dam

Downstream from the Pitlochry hydroelectric dam
Downstream from the Pitlochry Hydroelectric Dam

Once I got to the dam, I went across it and found the fish ladder on the other side. I found some of the group there. That's not to suggest that the group contained fish, nope. Or that they came with fishing rods.

A sign at the dam explains what it is. (formatting not preserved) If you really want to see the formatting, ask me and I'll post my picture. This takes less time to load:

The Visitor Centre that's truely electric

The Scottish Hydro Electric Visitor Centre

Welcome to Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder and the Scottish Hydro Electric Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre is open between April and October, Monday to Friday, and at weekends during July, August and Bank Holidays, 10.00am to 5.30pm.

The station and dam here at Pitlochry are part of the Tummel Valley hydro electric scheme. The water catchment area for this scheme extends to over 1,800 square kilometers of the Grampian Mountains.

Pitlochry is the ninth and last power station in the scheme. By the time the water passes through this station, it may have already been used to generate electricity up to five times.

Behind the dam is Loch Faskally which is entirely man-made. It was formed when the dam and power station were completed in 1951.

The dam is 145 metres wide and over 16 metres high and contains almost 33,000 cubic metres of concrete. Pitlochry Power Station itself houses two generators, producing over 55 million units of electricity every year. Each generator is capable of generating up to 7.5 megawatts of electricity. Together that's enough to supply the needs of about 15,000 homes.

Please take care when visiting or participating in activities near hydro electric power stations and dams. Water levels and flow rates in rivers can change quickly and without warning. Please visit, but stay safe!

Wandering into the human-viewing area, I found a selection of humans to watch, and there was, indeed, a fish watching them. It was just there in the window with one side toward us. Several of the humans, being a fickle lot, got bored and wandered off. I stayed a while until the next group appeared, then the fish seemed to get bored too, and it wandered away, so I did too.

Going toward the dam office/shop/entrance, I encountered this turbine runner.

Old turbine runner

A plate behind the turbine runner explained what it was doing there. (formatting not preserved)

Francis Turbine Runner

Turbine No: 5,544 (the 5,544th turbine built by Gilkes)

Output: 3,440php

Rated Head: 27 metres

Rated Flow: 12,740 litres/second

Rated Speed: 278rpm

This turbine runner was supplied to the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board in 1957, by Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon Ltd of Kendal, England, ( as part of a 42 inch Francis turbine. It was installed at Cuaich Power Station, north east of Dalwhinnie.

Cuaich is the highest power station in the Tummel Valley Scheme and uses some of the same water that eventually arrives in Loch Faskally where it is used for the fifth time to drive the turbines here at Pitlochry Power Station.

Despite still being in good condition, the runner you see here was replaced in 2004 as part of a major refurbishment programme following 47 years' service. During its long life this runner helped generate around 330 million units of electricity. That's enough to supply almost 100,000 homes for a whole year.

Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon Ltd have been building water turbines for over 150 years. Scottish Hydro Electric still operates approximately 25 turbines manufactured by Gilkes.

Going into the shop, I found out that actually going into the generating station cost something like £3, so I didn't do it, and headed back to Pitlochry. I found Macdonalds there. It's a bit different from those seen elsewhere.

Not the same thing at all I figure.

Macdonalds in Pitlochry

Here are some houses(?) I saw in Pitlochry.

Back in the bus, the group made its way to Killiecrankie Pass, and the Soldier's Leap, though we didn't have time to get to the actual Leap. Probably just as well, as SOMEone might have been hurt trying to leap it.

Pitlochry houses