by backpackingbongos

Last Autumn I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a week in the far north of Scotland.  What struck me about the parts of Sutherland that I visited was the vast empty spaces, an incomprehensible sense of scale.  I felt that I was somewhere special, in a unique landscape different to anywhere else in the UK.

We spent a couple of nights at the Crask Inn, a place that I urge you to visit if you ever venture that far north.  An ancient white speck of stone situated in the middle of the vastness.  The hospitality there is the stuff of legends.  Standing outside I would often find my eyes drifting west to the distant mountain wall of Ben More Assynt.  The flat Sutherland moors rising in successive waves towards the heights.  It was simply awe-inspiring stuff.  In the middle distance is a long moorland ridge which I will refer to as Sallachy, rising above Loch Shin.

A couple of days later we were driving another single track road, this time along Loch Shin itself.  It’s a huge body of water and there was a sense of leaving civilisation behind as we reached the far end of the loch.  The empty moors were soon replaced by the towering bulk of mountains as first Ben Hee and then and Arkle and Foinaven vied for attention.  On this stunning drive we passed a long moorland ridge which I will refer to as Sallachy, rising above Loch Shin.

The following day we were standing on the summit of Beinn Leoid and I was simply spellbound by the 360 degree panorama.  To the west was the sublime chaos of the Assynt Peaks, Quinag stealing the limelight.  To the north and east there were wild and empty mountains, the quartzite peaks of Foinaven and Arkle looking particularly stunning.  To the south was the daddy of them all, Ben More Assynt.

However my eye kept being drawn south east along the length of Loch Shin and towards the distant east coast.  A stunning empty landscape on a vast scale.  I tried to work out where the white speck of the Crask Inn would be located on the distant moors.  In the middle of this rather splendid view is a long moorland ridge which I will refer to as Sallachy, rising above Loch Shin.

This photo I took looking south east can only hint at what my eyes saw, it’s hard to capture such a large empty landscape, to realistically portray the sense of scale and drama.  The body of water to the left is Loch Shin and rising above it to the right is the ridge that I will refer to as Sallachy.

By now I hope that you are thinking what my obsession is with this bloody Sallachy?

Well, WKN Windkraft Nord AG are proposing to stick 22 giant wind turbines on that ridge, even though it is surrounded by a National Scenic area.  Their website is here.

The John Muir Trust are much more eloquent in their objection to this scheme than I will ever be.  You can read that objection here.

13 Comments to “Sallachy”

  1. I subscribed to this blog some time ago and read it avidly. Inspiring stuff. Thanks for great pics as well.

  2. You have to wonder just how long it’ll be before you can see a wind turbine from wherever you happen to be in Scotland. Doesn’t bear thinking about…

  3. This is a beautiful area but on my visits I mostly saw the inside of clouds. Sadly the wind turbine industry is going to be putting pressure on this type of landscape as long as they are able to milk vast subsidies from the tax payer. The John Muir Trust has to mind just about got the balance right when it comes to this subject, that’s why I continue to support them as a member. Well this and their attitude to allowing “free” access, which is my current gripe with conservation organisations south of the border – in the lake district for example.

    In my area we have had a barrage of wind turbine applications that seem to be coming at a monthly rate at the moment. One argument I have heard is that its better to have the wind industry rather than nuclear. I then wake up this morning and hear on the news we are going to start building more nuclear reactors.

    Also something that appears to be ignored is the fact that the UK is responsible for 2% of global emissions and typically has a 2% growth rate (source Prof David Campbell – Teesdale Mercury). Land based wind power on a large scale is solving nothing and people are increasingly waking up to that fact. There is only one way and that is to use less and until people wake up to this fact as well then the pressure to destroy what is left will remain. Sorry better stop there I recon:-)

    • The John Muir trust got my membership a couple of months ago David, an organisation well worth supporting. Just out of interest what area do you live in which is getting a barrage of wind turbine applications?

  4. It is quite a place, with an awesome sense of space.

  5. Bloody energy companies. Although it’s not entirely their fault. The governement subsidises them and also give guidelines as to where they should be. Scotland, unfortunately falls into that catagory. You’ve got me in a right ol’ mood now Mr Boulter. I could have a rant and a half on what I think we should be doing regarding our energy needs, but I’ll refrain for now.

    It’s an awesome (in the true sense of the word) looking place though. I shouldn’t have to plan my visits to our wild lands based on the length of time I think they’ll remain wild for, but I think I’ll try and get up there over the summer if I can.

    I can’t see all these applications getting turned down, no matter how large the opposition. All they have to do is be persistant, the Scottish Government has it’s own agenda, and it’s willing to push it through at any cost.

    • Try and visit the area Charlie, its a long way to go but well worth the effect of a few extra hours driving (or the train to Lairg). Sorry to get you in a right ol’ mood though!

  6. “Lets out another long sigh of resignation”

    No people so we can do what we like to make a fast buck. Dispiriting.

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