Posts tagged ‘Wind Farm’

April 7, 2015

A fond farewell to the magnificent Monadhliath

by backpackingbongos

I stood under blue skies and hot sun, after stopping to strip down to just a baselayer. A welcome relief after three days of freezing temperatures and limited visibility. The high plateau stretched into the far distance, every gully and hag of the brown moor still filled with snow. For a while I was transported back to Arctic Sweden, such was the scale of the scene. It was day four of a solo backpack and I had yet to see another human being.

The Monadhliath have long held a magnetic draw for me, unlike any other place in Scotland. It is predominantly moorland in nature, although in places it does rise above the magic 3000 feet. High plateaus split by long lonely glens, perfect for the backpacker.

My attention for five days over the Easter weekend was a leisurely exploration of the area where the consented Stronelairg wind farm will sit. 67 huge turbines along with miles of new roads, pylons to connect it to the grid and a potential substation near the historic Garva Bridge. The turbines will occupy a site the size of Inverness. This past weekend though it was just me, numerous golden plover singing their hearts out and mountain hare still in their winter coats. It’s heartbreaking to think that it will soon be covered in concrete and steel, the whooshing of blades replacing bird song. There is a possibility that the John Muir Trust will win their appeal, but I don’t hold out much hope.

In a way this was my final farewell to a fabulous area, a place that gives a feeling of freedom and space that is hard to find in this crowded Island. Goodbye dear Moanies, it was good to meet you whilst you still had a beating heart.

I’ll do a proper trip report at some time, in the meantime just a few photos and words.

Looking into the heart of the proposed site, a high plateau all above 600 metres. Taken from the summit of the Corbett Meall na h-Aisre.

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Camped at 670 metres bang in the middle of the extensive moorland plateau. You can just make out one of the wind monitoring masts right of centre.

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The still frozen Allt Creag Chomaich. In summer the joy of the Monadhliath is following the grassy banks of the numerous watercourses. This time the going was treacherous with snow covered bog to snatch the unwary.

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Looking north from the summit of the Corbett Gairbean across the rapidly melting snow fields on the plateau.

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There is currently a worthwhile petition, Save Loch Ness and the Great Glen. Please sign it.

December 19, 2013

A wind farm on the edge of Rannoch Moor?

by backpackingbongos

It’s easy to get complacent and think that certain things are sacred.  You would think that the world famous Rannoch Moor would be totally safe from industrial development?  Last night just before bed I was reading an excellent blog post called ‘The fall of the wild: Part three – why nothing is something‘.  Ben’s blog is excellent if your interest in the outdoors extends beyond the weight of technical fabrics.

There are a few lines that had me awake for longer than I would have liked.  A reference to a proposal for a wind farm on the edge of Rannoch Moor.  Rather than go into the proposals myself, here are a couple of links.

http://www.mcofs.org.uk/news.asp?s=2&id=MCS-N11319&nc=

http://www.mcofs.org.uk/assets/access/talladhabheithewf.pdf

And what is the reason for mentioning this depressing news?  The Wild Land Map Consultation closes tomorrow.  If you truly care about wild places please take a few minutes out and follow this link.

February 16, 2012

Sallachy

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.