'The Hollow Mountain'
Lochawe, Dalmally, Argyll and Bute PA33 1AN
Route Overview: 55mins, 23.6miles
Lying on the shores of Loch Awe is one of the countries most amazing engineering
achievments, a hidden power station deep within the mountain of Ben Cruachan, buried
one kilometer below the ground.
"At its centre lies a massive cavern, high enough to house the Tower of London! Here
enormous turbines convert the power of water into electricity, available to you in
your home at the flick of a switch. The hollow mountain is a place like no other.
An underground world on a spectacular scale."*

"This myth tells the tale of the Cailleach Bheur, or Old Hag of the Ridges, who was the guardian of
fountain that welledup from the peak of Ben Cruachan. Her duty was to cover the spring with a slab
of stone at sundown and lift away the rock at dawn. One evening she fell asleep and the well overflowed.
The water, rushing down the mountainside, burst open a new outlet to the sea through the Pass of
Brander. By the time the Cailleach awoke, the water had flooded the wide strath below and drowned
all the people and their cattle. Legend says this is how the River Awe and Loch Awe were formed.
The Cailleach was turned to stone as punishment for her negligence and sits to this day, high on the
mountain, above the Pass of Brander." **

'Cruahan power station was constructed between 1959 and 1965. It was the
first reversible pump storage hydro system to be built in the world. Cruachan
was the brainchild of Sir Edward McColl who sadly died before the power
station was opened.
The first plant items to be installed in the cavern were the turbine casings, which were
mounted at the lower levels within the cavern. A 275,000V transmission line was
constructed to carry the power from the top of the cable shaft just in front of the dam,
to dalmally substation, 5 miles east of Cruachan, and then on to Windyhill, north of
Glasgow. This line passes through rough terrain, and at its highest reaches 1800 feet
(549 metres).
The power station was officially opened by the Queen on 15th October 1965. Two of the
machines were completed at this time, with the remaining two coming into service in
1966 and 1967.
Cruachan, when built, was the highest head reversible pump/turbine power station in
the world. A lot of time was spent at the design stage, optimising all aspects of
construction and operation. Many working models were built of the turbines and work
tests were carried out on complete alternators before shipping to site. Because of the
limitations of local roads and the size of the access tunnel, all the equipment had to
be broken down into manageable loads for transportation.'***

55min, 23.6miles
Start: Eredine
 1. At the bottom of the village, turn right onto Loch Awe
     crossing the small bridge
 2. After 13.1miles, at the end of the single track road, turn
     left onto B840
 3. After 0.4miles, at the end of the road, turn left onto A819 
 4. After 5miles, at the end of the road, turn left onto A85
 5. after 4.9miles, the destination is on your left 

  Lochawe, Dalmally, Argyll and Bute PA33 1AN



Web Design by Jo Shepherd
All Photography by Jo Shepherd
Last Updated October 2014