The Galloway Hydro Scheme is one of the first ‘all-river’ hydro-electric schemes in the world. Constructed in the 1930’s, it continues to play a significant part in the story of the UK’s electricity production. Capturing the power of the Ken/Dee river system in South West Scotland, a single drop of rainfall can be used to generate electricity up to five times as it travels down the valley.
At the peak of construction activity, more than 1,500 people were drawn from across the UK to work on the scheme. Several men lost their lives during construction, acknowledged today with a memorial plaque near Glenlee Power Station. At launch, it employed more than 90 people. Thanks to mechanisation and technology advances, that figure today is less than 30.
The Galloway Hydro Scheme has become embedded in our landscape but has witnessed a lot of change through its life. The story of the Hydro Scheme, its construction and its generation today will be explored at a free online event being hosted by the Galloway Glens team and Drax, the owner of the Scheme.
The event is on Wednesday 21st April at 7.30pm. Tickets available here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-galloway-hydro-scheme-past-and-present-tickets-148787189489 or by searching www.eventbrite.co.uk for ‘Galloway Hydros’.
Stuart Ferns, Operations Manager for the Galloway Hydro Scheme will give an overview of the modern-day complexities of managing a system such as this, including the need to mitigate flooding and other environmental impacts.
Claire Williamson, Senior Archaeologist at Rathmell Archaeology and Project Manager for the Galloway Glens’ ‘Can You Dig It’ archaeology project, has been compiling new and old research into the social and cultural impact of the construction over 80 years ago and will be looking at the scheme through an entirely new lens. Claire said:
“A project as large as the construction of the Galloway Hydro Scheme couldn’t help but make a significant impact on not just the physical landscape of the area, but also on the lives of the people involved. The size of the workforce meant that it essentially brought its own community with it, and it’s often easy to forget that this would have been a huge event for people already living in the area. Research into the subject has provided an amazing opportunity to gain insight into what the project meant for the workforce, the Galloway residents and the interactions between them.”
The event is being hosted by Helen Keron from the Galloway Glens Scheme as part of her Community Activities strand. Helen said:
“The Galloway Hydro scheme is a sturdy and beautiful backdrop to modern life in the Galloway Glens, but it behind it are many intriguing tales, from its construction more than 80 years ago to the current technical complexities. Our speakers will lift the curtain on some of its secrets – it will be an excellent evening. Thanks to Drax for their support of this event, and for creating the new video to go with it – it’s got some great footage in it.”