The design of interactive content linking two new visitor attractions in Inverness has received fresh funding from tourism group Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN).
VILN, which aims to promote tourism in and around Inverness and Loch Ness, has provided funding to create a learning zone around Hydro Ness, a hydroelectric generator on the banks of the River Ness.
The creative content within the learning zone is being developed by Mather & Co, the same exhibition designers who are working on the design of the visitor experience at Inverness Castle.
VILN Chief Executive Officer Michael Golding said:
“Linking Inverness Castle and the Hydro Ness scheme through their visitor interpretation offers us a fantastic opportunity to encourage visitors to explore both attractions and the wider area during their time in Inverness.
“Once completed, the interactive content will showcase how science and nature can work together, offering educational information about the Hydro for visitors and for students so they can visit the site as part of their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning.”
The hydroelectric scheme will be open to the public this year, with an interactive visitor experience for people to learn more about the power of hydroelectricity.
The interactive content will also encourage visitors to think about their personal impact on the environment.
Project Interpretative Designer at Mather & Co, Leanne Clydesdale said:
“We are excited to be working on a project that promotes renewable energy and celebrates how the Highlands is working to improve our use of energy here in the UK.
“It has been fascinating learning the science behind the Hydro and we want this to become an exciting and accessible space for visitors to learn about these important subjects so they can confidently continue their journey with sustainability at home and in their communities.”
Mather & Co has completed the design of some of the most successful exhibitions, visitor attractions, tours and museums in the world and is currently working on another two other projects in the Highlands – Inverness Castle and the redevelopment of Glencoe Folk Museum.
Hydro Ness will generate on average 550,000 kWh of renewable energy each year with the ‘Archimedes Screw’ powered by the running waters of the River Ness.
As water flows into the Hydro, it will pass through spiral blades forcing the screw to turn. Energy generated from the movement will be converted into electricity using a generator.
The project will supply about 50% of the electricity demand of the nearby Inverness Leisure Centre, operated by High Life Highland.
Highland Council’s Executive Chief Officer for Infrastructure, Environment and Economy Malcolm Macleod said:
“A lot of time and effort has gone into what is a really complex and ambitious project that utilises old infrastructure and technology to help address a very current and modern problem in the form of climate change.
“Acting as a hub for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning, the innovative structure and supporting interactive content will ensure the scheme is a welcome addition to a high footfall area of the city, further strengthening the river as an attraction and re-introducing it as valued asset for renewable generation.
“I am grateful to VILN for their valued support for this project and I am delighted that Mather & Co are working on the connecting the designs at both Hydro Ness and Inverness Castle.”