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History

The fashion for buying Highland estates began in the 1830s and was probably at its height during the golden era of stalking, some twenty-five years before the First World War. It was during this period, for reasons entirely unconnected with social ambition that The British Aluminium Co. was incorporated on May 7th 1894 to acquire land and water rights at Foyers on the shores of Loch Ness. Two years later, in 1896, the first metal was produced under the supervision of the Company’s scientific advisor, Lord Kelvin who had been instrumental in its establishment. It closed in 1967 and although it plays no part in the affairs of Liberty Aluminium, it defined the principles which were to take the industry in the UK from infancy to maturity.

Over the next fifty years or so, The British Aluminium Co. – still affectionately known in Lochaber as ‘The BA’ – bought more than 140,000 acres of land, establishing quite unintentionally its position as the sixth largest landowner in Scotland – another example of objectives and modus operandi very different from that of the traditional landowner. The acquisition of three large estates, Killiechonate and Inverlair from Lord Abinger, Mamore from the Fairfax-Lucy family and Glenshero and Sherramore from Lord Radnor, together with the necessary Acts of Parliament provided water abstraction rights over 303 sq. miles to provide power to smelters at Kinlochleven and Fort William.

For operational reasons, in the immediate post war period, several smaller areas were bought on the edges of the major landholdings, but the core land assets were: Killiechonate and Inverlair (58,500 acres), Mamore and Coalasnacon (40,000 acres), and Glenshero, Sherramore and the Corryairack (35,000 acres).

Glenshero

North east of Fort William, Glenshero estate encompasses the source of the water for the hydropower stations, starting from the river Spey.

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Killiechonate

Located to the east, and surrounding Fort William and Ben Nevis, Killiechonate Estate is the largest of the estates.

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Mamore

Situated south east of Fort William, Mamore covers the land surrounding the village of Kinlochleven - built to house the employees of the new smelter over a century ago.

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News

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