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Subterranea Scotia

Ceannacroc Power Station

Ceannacroc Power Station sign

OS Grid Ref: NH 22393 10846 (access tunnel portal)
Date opened: 1959
Date closed : Operational





The surge shaft at Ceannacroc is on the hill above the power station; in this view you can actually see the surface buildings, the transformer, and the road running down to the access tunnel below:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

The surge shaft is equipped with a control gate and gatehouse, and access ladders for climbing down the shaft:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Illustration: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Illustration by: Scanned by Mike Ross, from Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Sept. 1958

The view down Glenmoriston from the surge shaft is spectacular:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

The view down the surge shaft isn't normally quite so spectacular; it's almost always full of water:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

But on rare occasions the entire system is dewatered for maintenance. This reveals the full spectacular dimensions of the shaft - 180ft deep, 45ft in diameter:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

Here's the view straight down the shaft. It's a plain open shaft; there's no differential riser, throttle, or orifice. The water enters from the lower right, through the control gate (covered in scaffolding in this shot), passes through the screen in the middle, and drops another 180ft down the vertical high-pressure shaft (boarded over in the upper right of this shot):

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

Here's a drawing of the surge shaft and high-pressure system I managed to photograph - the high-res version is much better:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

This drawing shows how the surge shaft fits into the more general scheme of things:

Ceannacroc Tailrace

Illustration: Ceannacroc Power Station
Illustration by: Scanned by Mike Ross, from Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Sept. 1958

The day after the above shots were taken, I returned, by invitation, and was given a guided tour through a construction adit and into the low-pressure tunnel. This gave me the unique chance to take some pictures at the bottom of a surge shaft. In the shot below, I've just emerged from the low-pressure tunnel (behind the gentlemen in blue boiler suits), passed under the control gate (which is hidden behind the scaffolding), and climbed the staples on the left, to the floor of the surge shaft itself:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

Looking up from the bottom of the climbing staples - a spectacular view of the daylight streaming down the shaft:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

A slightly different angle, giving a better view of the climbing ladders (no I didn't climb them!) and the operating gear running down from the gatehouse to the control gate:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross

A final spectacular view up the shaft, this time exposed for the sky rather then the walls:

Ceannacroc Surge Shaft

Photo: Ceannacroc Surge Shaft
Photo by: Mike Ross


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Last updated 6th May 2006
Style 1998-2001 Subterranea Britannica

Words and images 2006 Michael J. Ross.