Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Argyll And Bute
Planning Authority
Argyll And Bute
Ardchattan And Muckairn
NN 08014 28152
208014, 728152


James Williamson and Partners; George Rennie (resident engineer for North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board technical panel) 1959-65. Large buttress dam with access roadway oversailing prominent arcaded buttresses; large central buttress containing pipeway inlets and control gates, dominating Cruachan corrie with a mountainous backdrop. Mass concrete, with some reinforced concrete to parapet. Battered downstream face with deep buttresses with rounded headed gaps between. Large buttress to centre. Small fixed spillway to far left (NW) with roadway oversailing on slender piers. Plain parapet to top integrated buttress heads.

Statement of Special Interest

Cruachan dam forms an A-group with Ben Cruachan power station (see separate listing). Ben Cruachan dam is a fine example of the work of prominent dam designer James Williamson, characteristic of a large suite of dams he designed for major hydro electric power schemes in Scotland. The dam forms an integral part of one of the most innovative hydro electric schemes in Britain and the first example of integrated pumped storage technology. The dam dominates the corrie below Ben Cruachan itself and creates a large reservoir. The development of the scheme was a key component of the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board's (NoSHEB) plans to exploit the natural resources of Highland Scotland to generate electricity.

Cruachan was the penultimate of the major post-war hydro electric developments by the North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board (NoSHEB). The scheme played a key role in the realisation of the social agenda of NoSHEB by generating electricity which could be easily exported to the grid (via a connection at Windyhill on the fringe of Glasgow) and sold to the central belt. Revenue from the sale of the power financed the provision of electricity to remote north Highland communities on loss making schemes, and stimulated economic regeneration. Under the leadership of eminent chairman Sir Tom Johnston the board undertook developments throughout highland Scotland with a balance of social and economic schemes. This commitment saw the development of schemes in locations such as Loch Dubh near Ullapool and Storr Lochs on Skye.

The design of Cruachan Dam is typical of Williamson and Partners approach and uses buttress technology which was pioneered by James Williamson at Sloy Dam (see separate listing). The scale and degree of innovation behind the plans for Cruachan is characteristic of the skill of the firm and their long experience with hydro power and commitment to developing Scotland's resources for hydro electric power. Williamson had specialised in the design of dams following his work on the Galloway Hydro Electric scheme (see separate listings) in the 1930s. He acted as one of the chief engineering advisors to NoSHEB and was the lead engineer for a number of schemes before his death in 1953. After this date the company of James Williamson and Partners continued to be closely involved in the work of NoSHEB and were the lead team of engineers on a number of schemes, including Cruachan.

(Listed 2011 as part of Hydroelectric Power Thematic Survey)



National Archives of Scotland (NAS), Ref: NSE North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Collection (1943 -1990); NAS, Ref: NSE1 North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Minutes (1943-1990); NAS, Ref NSE2 North of Scotland Hydro Electric Board Annual Reports (1943-1990); Peter Payne, The Hydro: A Study of the Development of the Major Hydro-Electric Schemes Undertaken by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board (1988); Emma Wood, The Hydro Boys (2002), p178-79; J Miller, The dam builders: power from the glens, 2002, p230-40; F A Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Argyll and Bute (2000) p375.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

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