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Engineering & Science

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Foyers

In 1894, British Aluminium purchased 8,000 acres in the west Highlands – covering the sporting estates of Lower and Upper Foyers, Gorthlick, Glenmarkie and Wester Aberchalder – that included the famous Falls of Foyers (at that time, a popular landmark for Victorian tourists visiting the Highlands). The perpendicular nature of the Falls made them ideal for generating purposes. 

Initially the scheme involved constructing a dam and embankment at the southwestern end of Loch Garth which was then joined to Loch Farraline.  This work created a storage reservoir of 4 ½ miles in length, which was subsequently renamed Loch Mhor.  The water from Loch Mhor then flowed along the original river bed to a tunnel driven through solid rock above the upper Falls of Foyers. From here the water was then directed into pressurised pipes to the generating station with an initial generating capacity of 3,750kW. 

This exceeded the requirements for metal production at first, and the Company used the excess to produce small quantities of calcium carbide and to experiment with the production of other metals (although in the long run these were abandoned as demand for aluminium increased). 

When Foyers closed in 1967, its hydro-electric generating station was sold to the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and converted into a substation by them.