Ben Cruachan Dam

About Ben Cruachan Dam

What’s this attraction all about?

Ben Cruachan is a 1126 metre high Munro in the Scottish Highlands which has two claims to fame. Firstly, it has the distinction of being the highest point in the district of Argyll and Bute. And secondly, it is home to the Scottish Power hydro-electric dam which powers the power station that is hidden deep within the bowels of the mountain.



What can you do there?

The dam stores massive reserves of water which is piped down the mountainside into the power station, and the power behind this flow of water is used to power turbines that generate up to 440 megawatts of electricity. The water is pumped back up to the dam at night when the energy is cheaper and is then released back down the mountain during the day when the energy cost increases. Clever stuff!

Ben Cruachan is part of a ring of mountains known as the Cruachan horseshoe which overlooks Loch Awe and Loch Etive, and a gentle climb to the summit reveals both the loch and the surrounding peaks in all their glory. Although car parking is limited, there are a couple of laybys along the road beneath the Munro, and during the week there are usually only infrequent tourists joining in with the ascent. You can also take a steeper climb by following the path that leads out from the railway station a short distance from the visitor centre, although this route takes you through the muddy fields surrounding Ben Cruachan, so be sure to take a good pair of walking boots with you.


What I liked about this attraction

  • The walk up to the dam is really nice
  • The views are amazing from the top as well

What I didn’t like about this attraction

  • It gets really muddy in winter – wear appropriate clothing

Getting there

Ben Cruachan Dam is not accessible by car, but it’s a wonderful walk to the Dam and you can enjoy stunning views at the top. From the Scottish Power visitor centre, turn right and drive to Loch Awe Village. After the 30 mph sign, take the first road on the left which is signposted St Conan’s Road. You will arrive at a padlocked gate, which has access for walkers. Follow the road to the dam. The road is three miles long, has a good surface all the way and climbs gradually across the hillside.

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Contact details

Prices and opening times

Ben Cruachan Dam is free to visit and is usually open all year round, but check with Scottish Power visitor centre first.




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