Pitlochry Fish Ladder

Pitlochry Fish Ladder
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Pitlochry Fish Ladder

Associated with the dam on Loch Faskally at Pitlochry, part of the Tummel Hydro-Electric Power Scheme, the Pitlochry Fish Ladder was completed in 1951 in response to a 1943 Act of Parliament which laid a duty on the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to avoid damaging the stocks of fish in rivers and lochs used as part of its power schemes. Comprising thirty-four pools linked by underwater pipes and strung out along a length of 310m (339 yards), the fish ladder was built alongside Pitlochry Power Station to allow breeding salmon to swim around the dam from the River Tummel up into Loch Faskally and on to their spawning grounds, where most will die. Young salmon pass downstream on their way to a life in the ocean. The majority of pools are 7.9m (26 feet) long by 4.3m (14 feet) wide by 2.1m (7 feet) deep. Each pool is 46cm (1.5 feet) higher than the last and the fish are attracted into the system by a continuous water discharge from the reservoir. The fish are prevented from entering the power station intake or outflow by underwater mesh screens. Three larger pools allow the fish to rest during the arduous ascent and one of these has a glass wall providing an observation chamber for visitors to watch the fish, together with a small exhibition, fish counter and CCTV camera to improve the view. Between 5000 and 7000 fish pass through the ladder each year, mostly in Summer and Autumn. An electronic monitoring system maintains a constant flow of water allowing continuous operation of the fish ladder, taking account of the water consumed by the power station.

Along with the dam and power station, the fish ladder is now A-listed.

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