From 4thFebruary, the visitor centre and pumped storage hydroelectric power station, located within the stunning mountain of Ben Cruachan will be open again for visits and guided tours throughout the rest of the year.
Just a short distance from Oban, a huge cavern within the mountain houses Cruachan Power Station’s turbines, which can power the equivalent of more than 90,000 homes at times of peak electricity demand.
Constructed between 1959 and 1965, it was the first power station of its kind and size anywhere in the world.
The site, which welcomes around 50,000 visitors every year, is also a haven for wildlife, with swallows, ospreys, pine martens and golden eagles all calling the mountain home.
The contrast between this feat of engineering and the striking natural beauty of the mountain has Cruachan an enduringly popular tourist destination, since the visitor centre’s opening in 1997.
Sarah Cameron, Cruachan Visitor Centre Manager said:
“We are delighted to reopen for 2019, and encourage visitors to the area and locals to come along and find out more about the power station.
“The tour really is unlike any other – we take visitors inside the mountain to see the power station, and the surrounding area boasts some incredible scenery. Our visitor centre is free to all and our Hollow Mountain café welcomes visitors for a cup of tea and a homemade scone.
“We have families, schools, coach parties and universities come through our doors – all are welcome, and the team makes sure that everyone is catered for. We’re incredibly proud of our five-star rating from Visit Scotland, and we’d love everyone to come and see the visitor centre, power station and appreciate the beautiful location for themselves.”
The Visitor Centre tells visitors about the legend of Ben Cruachan, the story of the construction of the power station and just how such a feat of engineering was achieved.
It is the first time the visitor centre has opened since Drax Group acquired Cruachan power station at the end of 2018 as part of a £702 million deal. Some of the displays have been given a refresh and the centre’s staff are looking forward to showing visitors around.
The visitor centre is open from 09:15am to 03:45pm in winter and 09:15pm to 04:45pm in summer, Monday to Friday. The Hollow Mountain café is open to all, serving soups, sandwiches and salads using produce grown from the visitor centre’s own herb garden.
To find out more about visiting Cruachan, go to https://www.visitcruachan.co.uk/.
Drax Group’s ambition is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future. Its 2,600-strong staff operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production.
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of flexible, low carbon and renewable electricity generation assets across Britain. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies six percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted two thirds of Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan. It also owns and operates four gas power stations in England.
Drax owns two B2B energy supply businesses:
- Haven Power, based in Ipswich, supplies electricity and energy services to large Industrial and Commercial sector businesses.
- Opus Energy, based in Oxford, Northampton and Cardiff, provides electricity, energy services and gas to small and medium sized (SME) businesses.
Drax owns and operates three pellet mills in the US South which manufacture compressed wood pellets (biomass) produced from sustainably managed working forests. These pellet mills supply around 20% of the biomass used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
For more information visit www.drax.com/uk