Highland firms complete work on six-kilometre diversion to Great Glen Way

SSE Renewables

A cohort of Highland firms have completed works on a six-kilometre diversion to the Great Glen Way required to accommodate works on the Coire Glas Hydro pumped storage scheme.

The project was designed and managed by Phil Thompson Ltd; civil engineering works were handled by HiTrak Ltd; and information boards which featured alongside viewpoints incorporated on the track were produced by MacDonald Orr Design.

(L to R) Mark Hedderwick, of HiTrak Ltd; Andrew Smith, of SSE Renewables; and Phil Thompson, of Phil Thompson Ltd on the new Great Glen Way path (image credit: SSE Renewables)

The six-kilometre diversion will redirect Great Glen Way users from the current path, which traces the shore of Loch Lochy and traverses the lower site of the Coire Glas works, and link with a forest path higher up the hillside. The new path offers panoramic views across the loch.

Coire Glas is a planned pumped hydro storage facility which would be the first scheme of its kind to be constructed in the United Kingdom for more than 30 years. SSE Renewables is currently conducting early assessment work at the site, to the north of Loch Lochy, to determine whether construction can proceed as planned.

The firm said that an ‘extensive’ programme of exploratory works is required before a final decision to invest in construction can be taken. The exploratory works are scheduled to begin in October this year.

Andrew Smith, development and consents manager for SSE Renewables, said, “The Great Glen Way diversion is a key part of the overall delivery of our Coire Glas project. It presented some particular challenges, in terms of blending a new path into the steep lochside terrain.

“We turned to firms with expertise of delivering projects in the local area to make sure the project could be delivered on time and to a high standard. Now that the diversion is completed, we are thrilled with the result and confident it will prove popular with Great Glen Way users.”

Phil Thompson, of Phil Thompson Ltd, added, “Constructing the diversion path over the course of a Scottish winter was not without its challenges but we are happy with the result. The old route follows the line of the loch and is a very nice path. The new route is higher up and offers a bit more variety and, hopefully, perhaps a chance to see a bit more scenery and wildlife.”

Mark Hedderwick, of HiTrak Ltd, said, “As a local company we always welcome an opportunity to work on a project that give us a chance to showcase the high quality of craftmanship available in the area. We worked with local stonemasons to create rest and shelter areas at various points along the path which will hopefully become a welcome feature on this section of the path.”