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The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

by Roger T » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:37 pm

Route description: Kinlochewe to Shenavall

Date walked: 03/11/2016

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 300m

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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby basscadet » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:46 pm

It is an eyesore, and I wish power wasn't necessary but hopefully the wounds will heal eventually.. There have been times in the past where they have built big hydro schemes which have healed to an extent. Take the Fannaichs for instance - Its great fun walking the big pipe back to the road instead of the track, and while there are a few signs of hydro about, it is a long way from horrific. :)
It would be nice if we had sufficient space for hydro schemes to generate enough power for the country and have enough space left to fit all our wilderness areas into as well, but I guess we are too small a country for both to fit in comfortably, and a comprimise has to be reached.
I personally think that hydro schemes are slightly better than the wind farms - more useful for longer and the visual impact is far less in the long run.
I do have big reservations about the developers doing what they say to put the damage right though, and we need far better inspections to make sure obligations are stuck to.
I was recently round the back of S Glenshiel ridge. I came across a new hydro scheme, (made an uncrossable river crossable - hurrah) followed the track that had inevitably been built for installation for a couple of KM, where it disappeared just out of sight from civilisation. I was very sceptical that the whole track wasn't supposed to be removed and get put right, but obviously the inspector isn't going to get his boots dirty, so just the end of the track was enough :?
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:43 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Yellow mushrooms?

Cheers, BP

The yellow mushrooms were planted by me a week earlier - don't know what they are but were left lying about - i felt like making the mess a little prettier, maybe symbolising nature coming back
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby Frimousse » Sat May 13, 2017 6:39 pm

I was so taken with the passionate but respectful and balanced tone of this particular debate that I registered specifically to be able to comment on it. Personally I think it's shameful that Scotland's most astounding landscapes should be trashed for commercial gain when the contribution these schemes make to the Grid is relatively tiny. There are simply too many humans on this earth, and too many of the too many humans want too much. And so it goes on and will probably keep going on. It sounds an extreme view, and I know most people won't agree with it or will think it unenforceable, but we really need to look stark reality in the face and stop trying to have our cake and eat it. As one contributor commented, it wouldn't be so bad if they would just show respect for the landscape and wildlife when they put these schemes in; but they don't, no-one bothers to check and nothing is enforced, which means the hideous tracks stay put. Glen Falloch near Crianlarich is a prime example of shocking design and shoddy implementation.

Thanks for a calmer view of the issues involved and also for the pointers to other, less emotionally harrowing, ways to access these hills.
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby David GPL » Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:02 pm

Due disclosure I was and am involved with this hydro scheme, it’s my family’s business and this is our one and only hydro scheme. However rather than keeping my head down I wanted to reply. Most importantly you should visit now, I believe the scheme up to Lochan Fada (the only one I am involved in) has genuinely disappeared into the landscape. I will post some photos next month.
Then a bit of background, the main reason for the disruption on construction is that the pipes now have to be buried. Contrasting to the 1950s schemes mentioned which left pipes etc exposed. As part of the excavation and to preserve the vegetation the top soil has to be left beside the excavation while the pipe is being laid adding to visual disruption on construction, but also aiding the speed of restoration and renewal.
Then of course there is the green electricity, the numbers quoted on the signs of powering 2500 homes with renewable green energy is I believe correct. I genuinely think that if we care about our planet/environment this is essential development. I don’t believe in development for developments sake, but I do believe this is low impact and in keeping with the landscape, even one as sensitive and beautiful as the Heights of Kinlochewe.
It is also naturally a commercial business, but the income means the land can now be looked after properly, without being a billionaire. We have renovated one of the derelict cottages in the glen helped by hydro revenue, we have maintained and improved paths and some of the dry stone walling.
To end with I want to say I am really sorry that the walk was such a dispiriting experience in 2016, but strongly believe that is not the case now. I also know that at the time the maximum was done to minimise impact, but I acknowledge some was inevitable and took place. As a final comment I think the Gleann Na Muice up to Fada now looks the best it has for many years as the remnants of construction have gone and the natural woodland redevelopment has matured really nicely.
I will try and monitor for further posts and get back a bit quicker than 5 years if there are further posts!
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby David GPL » Sun Sep 05, 2021 7:58 pm

These are the up to date pictures I promised. They are looking from the other side of the valley at the track and pipeline route. I hope the work has been pretty thoroughly reinstated and is now largely indistinguishable from that pre construction.
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby past my sell by date » Tue Sep 07, 2021 1:58 pm

I'm afraid that there are "yellow monsters" digging holes all over the Highlands, but in general Scottish Hydro are quite good at putting things back as they were - or at least as near as possible - and I think the planning permission restrainsts are quite strict in ensuring that they do so. When I did Ben Pharlagan, the Road to the Isles (surely one of the most iconic of Scotland's paths) had been covered in stone to enable the passage of "yellow monsters" but when I checked the planning permission there was a clause ensuring that it was returned to its original state - though I've never been back to check.
So I think we should reserve judgement until the project is complete' - though 2500 homes doesn't sound a lot.

On another matter I concur utterly about the Bearnais Bothy :D :D . we walked in from Achintee after dinner at the Strathcarron hotel and started over Cheesecake and Lurgi at about 6.30Am . It was still a long hot walk back to the car. :( If you're biking of course Ben Dronaig is a clear favourite

I would also mention in regard to Glen Bianasdail that if you park at the campsite you can walk thru the fields and in summer conditions easily ford the braided river just before it enters the loch. this knocks about an hour of the round trip when climbing Slioch (for example)
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby Sgurr » Tue Sep 07, 2021 9:19 pm

Can't get back to see this currently, but my fears that we had "looked our last on all that's lovely" may have been wrong in this case. I hope others will be able to report that, but the photos aren't too bad.
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Re: The Lows and Lows of the Heights of Kinlochewe

Postby Essan » Wed Sep 08, 2021 4:19 pm

I walked up there on the CWT 2 years ago and even then was more or less oblivious to anything. I was actually shocked and upset when I saw this discussion appear today as I assumed it was a new development currently taking place!

Done right, these run of stream hydro schemes can quickly "disappear" into the landscape. Despite the initial carnage, I much prefer them to wind farms.

Personally, the thing that does stand out these days is the "Professor's Cottage" which IMO looks wildly out of place and is a very different building now to that which features in the movie "Stardust".
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