We’re driving too much but the views are fabulous. Humped purple-heathered mountains, torrents racing down them, waterfalls tumbling to the edge of the road and conifer plantations on the slopes sliced like 19th century colonies. Then, when the land gets tamer, deciduous trees and sheep-filled meadows right down to the water’s edge.
All the way to Pitlochry where we go for an evening walk to the hydroelectric power station and its fish ladder. I first visited Scotland’s ‘Hollow Mountain’, Ben Cruachan, not long after it opened in 1965 and was entranced that you could make electricity using a waterwheel and some copper wire. Hydroelectric power is genius. I’d thought that Ben Cruachan was one of the earliest hydroelectric power station stations but Pitlochry opened much earlier, in 1951 and is the lowest of five stations that use the same water as it tumbles downwards from Rannoch Moor. But even the Rannoch scheme, I discovered, came way after Benedictine monks set one up to provide power to their abbey in Fort Augustus, at the west end of Loch Ness, and to 800 inhabitants of the village. In 1890.
This grille is to stop fish getting caught up in the turbulent water as it exits the power station and to guide them round to the fish ladder where, if you’re luckier than us, you can see salmon leaping their way up the 34 pools.
Black and white in colour 104