Friday was spent with Garry in the Lake District looking at the potential hydro sites the National Trust are working on in the North West region. Question – Why do other people’s hydro sites always look better than your own?
The first was Stickle Gill which I think will always be known as the hydro with a Pub on it The pub is the only National Trust in-hand pub - Sticklbarn Pub . The intention and the work is looking at the viability and suitability of developing a 100kw system around the site of an old hydro. (yes Garry has hidden hydros as well!) This hydro comes under the no brainer category. The power will then be fed to the very nearby NT Pub. the challenge being to transform the pub into one of the “greenest!” in the UK. You would not believe the amount of energy it takes to keep the customers warm and the beer cold. The project will include the whole sustainability aspect of the pub as well. I have a feeling I will be visiting this project quite often!!!
Then we went to the best hidden hydro I have seen in a while. Watendlath is a proper hidden hydro with one of those turbine treasure houses. A 1920 Gilkes Francis turbine with governor and flywheel intact. Outside of the hidden turbine building is 14″ steel pipe rising 16m to the river. Why don’t i have one of these to play with? 50kw of generation just requires an abstraction licence, weir, pipe and an overhaul. A thing of beauty but I have turned into a bit of a hydro nut. The Lake District has untold hydro potential to unlock. There does seem to be more grid connection issues up there than around Snowdonia but on the <100kw its more a mater of lining the right sites up and ticking them off. Its not everything everywhere but doing the right thing, in the right way at the right site