Groundhog Day #4

1st March 2023

(Above) L to R: Beinn a Chaorainn, entrance to the Moy Coire, An Cearcallach and Meall Coire Choile Rais as photographed from Bealach Leamhain nr Beinn a Chlachair. A lot of brown, beige and green in that shot! The patchy nature of our snow distribution is all too clear.


(Above) Slightly better-resolved shot of Beinn a Chaorainn snatched during a cloud break.


(Above) Loch a Bhealaich Leamhain as seen from the shoulder of Beinn a Chlachair, with Loch Pattack in the far distance. 

There are big plans afoot for this loch. Green energy developers wish to make this part of a pumped storage hydro scheme with a 33GWhr electricity storage capacity and 36hrs of generating time at 900MW.

It would be the largest such scheme in terms of energy stored in the UK.

It entails the construction of a rockfill dam (to be located top right in the above photo) 65m high and 900m+ across, as well as wide haul roads running the length of the ‘Leamhain Reservoir’ over the top of Bealach Leamhain – located just below where the photo was taken from. See the following image for details.


(Above) The SW end of Lochan na Earba. This loch would become the ‘Earba Reservoir’ (lower reservoir) with an increased storage capacity by means of two 20m+ high earth embankment dams located here in the photo as well as at the NE end of the loch.

Much more info on this proposed hydro scheme can be found here:

and here:

Comments on this post

  • Mark Worsley
    1st March 2023 5:35 pm

    Wow, that’s quite a proposal

    Climbing on Beinn Shuas would not be quite the same
    Thanks for bringing it to our attention

  • Angus
    1st March 2023 6:58 pm

    I’m usually a fan of hydro projects but this is environmental vandalism on a grand scale. I could live with Loch a Bhealaich Leamhain dam (haul roads aside for now) but the desecration of the Loch nan Earba glen is incomprehensible. Amazing what money will convince people is a good idea.

  • Keith Horner
    1st March 2023 8:04 pm

    And I was expecting a photo of Andie MacDowall today……!
    That’s a very worrying proposal in terms of its scale of intervention in an area which despite its proximity to the A86 has quite a remote feel, especially as you traverse over towards Loch Pattack. I fear the current ambience experienced whilst climbing at Binnean Shuas will be entirely lost. The scale of the Leamhain reservoir dam would be quite visually overwhelming when approached from the Pattack side. The dam and the resultant water body created would completely alter the fundamental landscape character and sense of wildness which exists in that area and would change the experience of all hill goers who pass through the bealach – if it continues to exist as such – and who climb the surrounding munros. Whilst we all recognise the need to move towards a greater reliance on renewable energy, this seems a particularly over-scaled and insensitive intrusion. Well done for bringing this to the attention of a wider audience – it will need to be monitored closely over the next few months to see what response the ECU provides but no doubt Gilkes will press ahead regardless…….

  • Andrew Paton
    2nd March 2023 10:46 am

    Appreciate concern over the environment issues this project brings, However, in current and escalating climate crisis, I would much prefer this proposal to store clean electricity from wind farms than giant batteries.

    • meagaidhadmin
      2nd March 2023 3:11 pm

      We’re open to all views here, Andrew.

      Many thanks for your comment.

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