Hidden deep below some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery, within the mountain of Ben Cruachan on the shores of Loch Awe, is Cruachan Power Station, the world's first high head reversible pumped storage hydro scheme housed in a gigantic man-made cavern (high enough to hold the Tower of London!).
A power station might not normally be top of your must-visit list, but this one is set deep within the mountain. On a guided tour, you’ll go into an underground world on a spectacular scale. It has a bit of the feel of a scene from a James Bond movie and you have to remind yourself that there is actually several 100 metres of solid rock above you.
Located only a short distance from Oban, you can join a tour to go one kilometre below the ground where you’ll see the mighty Machine Hall and learn all about its history, construction and how it works. The tour bus will take you down the access tunnel, and then there’s a short walk to the Visitor’s Gallery, where you can take in not only the tales of the station’s history and construction, but the sounds and humidity of the massive machinery.
After, you can also take a walk to Cruachan Dam, which has stunning views out across the landscape. There’s an easy route to take from Lochawe village, or a steeper route from the visitor centre itself, beginning at the Falls of Cruachan Railway Station.
Ben Cruachan itself is one of the finest Munros in these parts, standing at 3,694 ft tall, with its pointed peak towering up above. A circular route to the top takes between 7 and 9 hours to complete, and is classed as a difficult walk.