Montage of the proposed Caplich Wind Farm
For some reason I have always liked my hill country to be understated and underrated. I do really like the spectacular stuff, the main problem being that everyone else does as well. I’m much happier to be alone in a vast bog where if the worst ever happened my remains will feature in an archeology programme in 2356. ‘What an earth was he wearing?’, the presenter will say whilst sniggering into his beard. Fashions may change but there will always be beards.
For lovers of solitude, vast moors and mountains with character I suggest that you head to the far north of Scotland. Much of this is ‘wild’ land with little sign of the influence of man (and yes I am aware that this area was well populated before the clearances). Settlements are few and far between. It’s a place to go and stand in awe that such places exist on such a small and crowded island. It’s also a place to go and escape the steady industrialisation of the Scottish hills. There are some big wind farms in the far north (especially in Caithness) but so far they have been on the periphery and towards the east coast. You can still turn your back and gaze towards the glorious west.
A few years ago I did a week long coast to coast from Evanton to Ullapool during some glorious spring weather. The highlight of this was standing on the summit of Seana Bhraigh, one of the remotest mainland Munros. It really was one of those ‘wow’ moments. The view to the north and west translated to an olde worlde map would have had the words ‘Here there be dragons’, written on it.
The mountains look like the backs of dinosaurs have broken the surface of the earth, small but individual peaks that have bags of character. There is one giant that rises above them all, Ben More Assynt being one of the few Munros of the far north. There is no landscape on earth that is similar to this.
There is now the real possibility that in a few years when standing on Ben More Assynt that the view will be dominated by 20 turbines, each 132 metres high. In old money that is 434 feet, amongst the largest ever to be built onshore. It will no longer be the periphery of this stunning area that will be in industrialised. They will be slap bang in the middle.
In my mind the Cape Wrath Trail has been the long distance path to walk if you want to see the wildest parts of the Highlands. This proposal would be your companion for many miles as you head towards and away from Oykel Bridge. The skyline bristling with huge moving towers only three metres lower than the London Eye.
Map showing position of the proposed Caplich wind farm. The machines are slowly spreading towards the glorious Assynt hills.
The environmental statement is here.
The west is falling.