The dam and fish ladder at Pitlochry have long been a popular sightseeing spot for visitors. The addition of a café and visitor centre in 2017 have added a fun and family friendly experience to the site. Construction began in 1946 and the dam has been operational since 1951. The water flowing down the River Tummel drives a hydro-electric generator that powers around 12,000 homes. This dam is part of a wider Tummel Valley scheme of nine power stations that came online during the 1950’s and 1960’s and represents a great feat of engineering.
Beside the dam there is a fish ladder which helps the salmon to swim upstream, past the generator, to the waters above. Visitors can observe the salmon swimming on live cameras. The salmon are monitored so conservationists know how many have returned and how many eggs have been laid.
The modern visitor centre sits on the banks of the river with large glass windows providing an excellent view. Enjoy a cake and coffee with the stunning backdrop of the dam and reservoir. Downstairs you can learn all about hydro-electric power, with dioramas and hands-on displays showing how electricity is generated and the importance of renewables. There are also some fascinating short documentary films, showing the construction of the dam and paying tribute to the “Tunnel Tigers” who helped excavate for the schemes.
The dam is open every day from 9.30 to 5.30. For more information visit the Pitlochry Dam website.