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Blair Castle Hydro Powerhouse

  • Atholl Estates consists of two main blocks of land, the largest lies to the north and east of Blair Atholl.
  • The combined estate covers 145,700 acres broken down into:
    • Agriculture: 54,000 acres (5,800 ploughed, 48,000 grazing)
    • DeerForest (open moorland): 81,000 acres
    • Woodlands: 10,700 acres (8200 commercial woods, 2,500 native pine wood)
  • Our head office is in Blair Atholl, adjacent to the castle, where we have a team of 7 administration assistants but we also have satellite offices at the caravan park and castle.
  • We employ around 75 full time and 60 seasonal staff.
  • The estate is heavily invested in tourism, mainly through our day visitor exhibition and private functions at Blair Castle and our 300 pitch caravan park. We also provide activities for visitors such as land rover tours, tractor tours and pony trekking.
  • Our two in-hand farms run 280 cattle and 2750 sheep, managed by a combined team of 7 men.
  • We employ 12 staff in our game keeping team to manage the various herds of wild deer that roam the estate and keep the heather moorland in natural balance which also provides some walked up grouse shooting during most seasons. They also run a small pheasant shoot.
  • We lease over 200 houses to locally employed people as their primary homes and a further 180 houses are provided to staff, retired staff and let farm staff.
  • Our maintenance team includes 6 multi-skilled tradesmen and a large team of self employed contractors to look after our build assets including the castle and tourism related infrastructure.
  • Forestry work covering harvesting and planting is mainly contracted out due to the scale and seasonality of these tasks but we retain a team of 4 staff who provide maintenance and specialist tree care service as well as deer control in areas of new planting.
  • We run a ranger service in partnership with Cairngorms National Park to help the public enjoy access to the estate and manage their impacts to the land management operations.
  • We host two key public events each year, the Blair Castle International 3 Day Event Horse Show in August and the Atholl Highlanders Parade and Highland Games in May.
  • The estate works closely with Perth and Kinross Council and Caledonia Housing Association to deliver new housing developments on our land for open market sale and social housing. On average 10 houses are built on the estate each year.
  • To assist with the diversification of our local economy, we have developed over 2500 square metres of commercial workshop and light industrial units in the villages of Blair Atholl, Ballinluig and Dunkeld over the last 10 years.
  • Energy Production:¬†We operate four run-of-river hydro electricity schemes on the Dowally, Broom and Tulliemet waters and one based on a hill drain source above the castle, with storage on Loch Ordie Loch Broom. All schemes generate from Gilkes ¬†turbines with a total generating capacity of almost 1.3Mw. We also operate a scheme on the Bruar water in partnership with Gilkes Energy and this scheme has an output of 1.1Mw