The Inverness Archive
Dave Conner Year: 2012Former Hydro Lade and River Ness Inverness
Photograph taken on 22nd September 2012
Looking downstream, down from the bank of the Caledonian Canal, at the River Ness and the former hydro-electric lade (the location I took my shots last week from is on the extreme left). Because the lade is no longer used (and no longer maintained) most of the river water seems to go into it and then overflow back into the river proper, all the way along.
The previous Saturday (while grandson on swimming lesson) I went for a walk with pocket camera to the old Lade off the River Ness near its junction with the Caledonian Canal. That photo-outing was at River level.
This week I ventured along the higher level, of the Canal Bank downstream (southwards) from Tomnahurich Bridge, a walk I had not made for many a year. I had actually forgotten just HOW impressive and beautiful the views were, looking along the Canal and looking down on the river. Again I was blessed with a really sunny morning - albeit cold in the shade of the trees along the Canal Bank. When however I emerged to the clear plateau above the river, it was gorgeous. The river and Canal run parallel for another couple of miles before meeting up (or rather parting company) at Dochgarroch, immediately north of Loch Dochfour (an extension of Loch Ness).
I have not tweaked anything - SOOC (straight out of the camera) with only a wee bit of cropping.
The Town/Royal Burgh/City of Inverness has always been bisected by the River Ness, which flows right through the centre.
A more recent addition is the Caledonian Canal. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caledonian_Canal
First surveyed in 1773 (by James Watt), authorised by Parliament in 1803, it was not completed until 1822.
The Canal connects the east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Fort William, and uses four inland lochs (Dochfour, Ness, Oich and Lochy) in the course of its length.
The River Ness, a short river which flows from Loch Ness/Dochfour to the North Sea (Beauly firth), is usually very shallow in most parts, bridged at various points, and varies considerably in width along its length and drops gradually from loch to sea, making it impossible to utilise as part of the Canal.
Thus the Canal parts company with the river, at Dochgarroch the north-most point of Loch Dochfour, as while the river meanders into and through Inverness the Canal hugs the higher ground to the west to reach the sea at Clachnaharry, and was (way back then) well out in the countryside throughout.
For the first couple of miles from the split however, the two watercourses run parallel, with the river gradually descending and the canal on an embankment. Where the two eventually part company, opposite Holm Mills, the triangle of land is known as “Canal Park” – or now “Canal Pitches” due to its current use for sports.
Between the two waters, in 1929 the Royal Burgh of Inverness built what would be the eleventh hydro-electric scheme in the UK, taking a lade off the river upstream of is now Whin Island to feed a power station opposite Bught Gardens. (‘Hub of the Highlands’, 1975, Inverness Field Club). This small-scale means of generating power has long since fallen redundant - Inverness is connected to the National Electricity Grid, which is served in part by the huge hydro schemes only a matter of miles away in the Great Glen. The lade (only partly used nowadays, for canoeing practice, and only receiving sufficient water to prevent stagnation) is what made Whin Island an island!
Crossing the Canal Pitches, a short path then leads up to the Canal bank.
Soon after parting company with the river, the canal curves around the base of Torvean Hill and reaches Tomnahurich, where the road bridge is adjacent to the cemetery on the hill of the same name. Once way outside the Burgh, this location is now within the built-up area of Inverness.
In the course of less than an hour (while grandson was at his swimming lesson at the Leisure centre at the Bught Park) I had a truly enjoyable walk, encompassing lovely warm sunshine (in mid September!), old and new-ish engineering, and of course superb scenery.
Inverness – Capital of the Scottish Highlands!
Picture added on 30 October 2012 at 19:36