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Dunalastair Dam Project


Perth and Kinross, Scotland


Scottish water


Dam | Water reservoir


Dunalastair Dam sits on the entirely man-made reservoir of Dunalastair Water, in the stunning wooded hills between Perth and Dunkeld. It serves to divert water toward the Dunalastair/Tummel Aquedect, which in turn leads to the Tummel Bridge hydroelectric power station.


The concrete dam plays a key part in the Tummel hydro-electric power scheme, which originated in the 1930s to provide the central belt of Scotland with electricity. The dam itself was constructed in 1933 and contains two hoist-operated vertival gates, a gravity overflow spillway, three bays with footbridges, four steel line gravity syphons, twin intake gates to the aqueduct, several walls and a fish ladder.

Dunalastair Water was also created in 1933 by the damming of the River Tummel as part of the Tummel hydro-electric power scheme. The Water has an area of 165 hectares and stretches 2.5km long, being only 800m at its widest point. The Water is picturesque, with forests surrounding and soaring hills on either side – Beinn a’ Chuallaich to the north and Schiellion to the south.

The area is also rich in wildlife, with red deer, ospreys, owls, otters and even pine martens populating the Dunalastair Estate to the northern bank.

The dam itself is 65 metres wide and has two floodgates and several spillways due to the quality of water which often needs to be released into the River Tummel. The main purpose of the dam is to act as an intake which supplies water to an open 15-metre-wide concrete aqueduct that runs to the south of the River Tummel. The aqueduct flows for 5 kilommetres losing very little height, keeping to the 200-metre contour before feeding the Tummel hydroelectricity power station at the head of Loch Tummel through two large pipes. 


At the time of construction, the concept of hydroelectric development in the area was a point of contention for many locals. Many believed the schemes would have a negative impact on the local area, and in turn limit the tourist potential in the area. However, the Tummel hydroelectric scheme ended up being praised as having minimal impact on the landscape, and was even held up for years after as an example of how minimal the effect of hydroelectric power can be on local areas.


Kite supplied the site with galvanised handrail systems to secure the walkways and roof edge points used regularly by inspectors and maintenance workers. The systems consisted of our two-ball tubular level standards posts that were fitted on the solid edges of the dam along with all the service walkways. Service points were secured and protected to guarantee the highest level of safety for any site visitor.


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