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In search of Nessie

Foyers to Ft. Augustus

semi-overcast 60 °F

We spent the morning in Foyers and hiked up the hill to Foyers Falls. The volume of the falls depends on how much water is being diverted to the nearby power plant, which was the case today as the falls were little more than a trickle. When we returned, several opted for a brief sail or canoe trip before lunch. After lunch we got underway and sailed to the end of Loch Ness to Ft. Augustus - a beautiful little village where we will spend the night.

Foyers is also the name of the river which runs nearby into the Loch, which has two waterfalls, one of 27 metres (89 ft) and the other 9 metres (30 ft), known as the Falls of Foyers.

Since the late 19th century, water courses near Foyers have been harnessed to provide hydroelectricity. British Aluminium Company built their first hydro-powered aluminium smelter at Foyers in 1896 - the first in the UK - and it operated until 1967, powered by water captured in Loch Mhòr. The power station element of the plant was then purchased by Scotland's Hydro Board and redeveloped as a pumped storage facility using a 5MW turbine. Subsequently, a new power station, with additional capacity of 300MW, was added, becoming fully operational in 1975. Foyers is the location of Boleskine House, two miles east of the main town, which was the home of author and occultist Aleister Crowley. The house was once owned by guitarist and Crowley collector Jimmy Page. Foyers was historically a strong Gaelic-speaking area, with 84.1% reporting as Gaelic-speaking in the 1881 census. However, only 4.9% of residents reported as Gaelic-speaking in the 2011 census. The flow over the falls has been much reduced since 1895 when North British Aluminium Company built an aluminium smelting plant on the shore of Loch Ness which was powered by electricity generated by the river. Artist Mary Rose Hill Burton, who was active in the unsuccessful resistance against the smelting plant, made many drawings and paintings of the falls before the plant was built, to capture the landscape in nature before it was lost. The plant shut in 1967 and in 1975 the site became part of the Foyers Pumped Storage Power Station on the banks of Loch Ness, the 300 MegaWatt pumped-storage hydroelectricity system uses Loch Mhòr as the upper reservoir.


Posted by rpickett 11:03 Archived in Scotland Tagged foyers

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