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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

TGO CHALLENGE 2011: DAY 5: The Wake for the Wild

TGO CHALLENGE 2011- Day 5 Map
Map & pictures are clickable
 
After a great breakfast with the Sutherlands we loaded the coffin into the back of a van and trundled it down to Errogie, to lean against the chapel wall so that the gathering hordes (surely one or two would show up?) would see it and wait there until everyone arrived. I was then loaded back into the van to be taken back to Ault-na-goire to collect my pack and walk down with it to Errogie.
 
Encouragingly there were phone calls from the Beeb and the Germans & French TV people and very soon we had quite a gathering around the coffin! In all I would estimate that about thirty five people turned up – a great number considering the day chosen was during the working week.
 
We had decided the night before to row the coffin across the lake in great style and so the box was strapped onto the rowing boat. Alex was magnificent in his long black funereal coat and played a lament on the violin before we clambered aboard.
 
Coffin, Loch Mhor
 
One chap with quite a few expensive looking cameras slung round his neck asked if he could be a passenger in the boat. I asked his which paper he was from and he answered simply “The Times”. Which “Times” was that? I enquired, thinking it might be something like the Outer Hebridean Times or some such publication.
 
Just THE Times he answered simply…. Of course he could come aboard! So that’s how we managed to get James Glossop of The Times to help row the coffin across Loch Mhor. He explained that he had never rowed before but the feisty lady rower said “You’ll soon get the hang of it” And he did too…
 
Andy Walker's Picture
 
The rest of the party walked around the loch as we slowly pirouetted mid loch a few times, before all meeting up again on the south shore and setting off for Dunmaglass.
 
Andy Walker's Excellent Photo!
 
We all took it in turns to carry the coffin over to Dunmaglass Lodge, over rough heathery ground. At rest stops I was interviewed by the TV people and the coffin carrying party did frequent re-takes as the film crews wanted the perfect shots. Everyone was in great spirits and the weather was really magnificent.
 
Coffin, rough ground enroute to Dunmaglass

There were signs, provided by the estate, guiding us around Dunmaglass Lodge to ensure we kept to the path. There were also signs erected by Dunmaglass Estate, especially for us, headed “Wake for the Wild” which asked us to be careful not to disturb nesting birds and to “avoid damage to the ground.”
 
How crass was that? They are going to bulldoze 20km of new roads up into the fragile peat uplands, bury thousands of tons of concrete, erect huge pylons and 400 feet high turbines that will smash those nesting birds into little pieces!
 
When we reached the Lodge itself we were met by two women police officers and their police car, ensuring that the route to the Lodge was blocked.
 
Andy Walker's Picture
 
Never having ever organised a demo before (the last one I attended was about thirty years ago at Molesworth) I was not sure what to expect here.
 
I was certainly surprised that even though they appeared to know who I was and what we were doing they *insisted* on taking my name, address, place of birth and telephone number and then proceed to warn me that we were not to litter the countryside with the coffin. It’s interesting that Sir Jack Hayward, sitting on his beach in the Cayman Islands, thousands of miles away, can still rustle up a little help from the bobbies to protect his house from a marauding mob. I wonder who paid for their presence that day? As Sir Jack would know from his days with Wolverhampton Wanderers, football clubs have to pay towards police attending their games. I am sure the two officers could have been more gainfully employed in Inverness that day.
 
Another Andy Walker Picture!
 
We had lunch just across from the Lodge where we did another interview to the television cameras and then David Albon very kindly said a few words over the coffin to camera for the BBC and ARD/ARTE to send us on our way for the second leg.
 
At this point the press and TV people left us to get their material off to the studios or whatever they had to do with it and so the rest of the party hitched themselves to the coffin and we headed off once more; this time up to the site of the turbines – quite a slog up the hill.
 
All around us the hillside was magnificent – wild moorland with a tugging cold breeze running through the heavy heather in waves. Curlew & grouse calls were abundant and the splashing burns as pure as could be. Clouds scudding across the high moorland, the dark peat scars like furrowed brows. Amongst the heather, precious, tiny flowers, mosses and all the little crawly beasties at the bottom of the food chain that rises so magnificently to the golden eagles that often fly above here.
 
Janet Donnelly
 
We eventually made the top, where Janet Donnelly said these powerful words which I have transcribed in full:
 
We have come here today because we are the lucky ones. We are lucky because we are the last generation who remember and who have had a chance to be inspired by the Scottish landscape and everything it represents.
Take a moment now to look around you – really take in what you can see because this may be the last time that you will be able to experience that extraordinary feeling that comes when we feel ourselves dwarfed by the magnificence and splendour of the unspoilt wild land around us.
As more and more swathes of the Scottish wilderness are pillaged in the name of sustainability, we mourn their loss as if they were dearly loved friends who taught us valuable lessons in life like the fact that there is more to life than 9 to 5, the daily grind and keeping up with the Jones’s. Up here we permit ourselves to escape just for a little while and allow the splendid isolation to lift our spirits as the realisation dawns that we are indeed just a tiny speck on this incredible planet.
 
This land is in our hands, in trust for our children and our children’s children and if the politicians and the fat cats have their way, they will look back on our stewardship of the land and hang their heads in shame.
The politicians would have us believe that there is no other way and nobody denies that something must be done to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power but we contend that the destruction of the Scottish landscape for ever is not the answer.
The technology is flawed, the sums don’t add up and the claims of large scale onshore wind power station supporters just don’t stand up to scrutiny. Add to that the news that we – the taxpayer have paid nearly a million pounds to the turbine owners to switch them off at times of peak output and we have the makings of a first class farce.
It isn’t funny though – nobody is laughing - unless you count those on their way to the bank. Let’s call a halt to the desecration of our wild landscape and the knee jerk reaction that says ‘do something – anything and we’ll think about the consequences later.
John Muir said: “Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean”
I invite you all to look around you now and try to work out where you will go to wash your spirit clean when all of this is gone.
 
Could you all please raise your glasses – hip flasks – mess tins, whatever you’ve brought with you?
A toast:
To the wilderness – may it continue to inspire us, arouse passion in us and provide sustenance for our souls. May those who seek to destroy it hear the voices of those for whom it is an integral part of life and may it long be regarded as an asset rather than a resource.
The Wilderness.
There were few dry eyes at the end of this wonderful eulogy and the whisky tasted all the sweeter.
 
Chris Townsend and the rest of our wonderful supporters, then shouldered the coffin once more and took the coffin down the hill for the next group to use on the next protest.
 
Thanks to James’ wonderful iPhone, (my own phone’s battery had conked out after all the calls to co-ordinate the wake) I managed to be interviewed by The Times reporter right at the top of the Monadhliath so that they now had the words and the pictures. Thanks, James. We made it into the paper the very next morning.
 
I then walked on, up over the top of the Monadhliath, to stand alone and take in, for perhaps the last time ever, one of Scotland’s wild places, knowing that in a few months time, all this would be gone for generations. It was with a heavy tread that I made it down to the Findhorn to camp with Andy, John & Norma & the rest of the Challenge crew. It was a day I will never forget.

40 comments:

  1. Powerful words from Janet, just as moving reading them as hearing them on that beautiful wild hillside. Well done Alan for organising a successful day. It was a privilage to come along and a day I won't forget.

    I actually had a dream about the proposed Nant-y-Moch wind farm in Wales a couple of nights ago and it has been bothering me ever since. I feel angry, very angry and strangely powerless and voiceless to stop the madness.

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  2. I wished I could of attended but it look like you had a good turnout.

    Don't know if you have seen these programs on BBC but may interesting watching

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/search?q=Windfarm%20Wars

    The first three episode on iplayer, with part 4 on this coming Friday.

    George

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  3. Nor me!

    That TIMES chap did 10 retakes with us carrying the coffin under the bridge during the lunch stop, and a load of others and then the blighter used a different photo in the paper with other people in it.
    I tell you, next time I'm applying to the X Factor.
    Twas a good day and £"^(!^& lucky with the weather.

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  4. ALAN
    Congratulations on one of the most inspired protests I have ever come across. Count me in for helping to build the contra-argument logic.
    I run an annual business sustainability conference at Lancaster University.
    http://innovation-for-extremes.net/conference/

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  5. I'll post the words I read at our first stop so you've got them on your blog as well as on the TGO message board Alan. Here they are:

    'Where are the voices for the earth?
    Where are the eyes to see her pain,
    Wasted by our consuming path,
    Weeping the tears of poisoned rain.

    Sacred the soil that hugs the seed,
    Sacred the silent fall of snow,
    Sacred the world that God decreed,
    Water and sun and river flow.

    Where shall we run who break this code,
    Where shall tomorrow’s children be
    Left with the ruined gifts of God
    Death for the creatures, land and sea?

    We are the voices of the earth,
    We who will care enough to cry.
    Cherish her beauty, clear her breath,
    Live that our planet may not die.'
    (words by Shirley Erena Murray)

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  6. James, David, George, Andy & Mike: Many thanks for the kind words, but really I should be the one for thanking everyone who turned out to support the event. The weather forecast for the day was quite dicey, but still people turned out.

    David: Thanks ever so much, fella. Your words gave us the shove to get up the next hill! Nicely chosen, I might add. Good luck in your next parish, David!

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  7. well done Alan,David Albon and all. wish I was more involved, so I'll be keeping a close eye on your endeavours.
    The anoying thing I was about an hour behind on the morning boat and met the fiddle player on the road for a chat and came through the same estate...good luck with your efforts...Lilo

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  8. Great effort,Al and all your helpers/protestors!! By the way 30 years ago I was at Molesworth, on the other side of the wire though, trying to keep you out!!!You wasn't one of the tower climbing crew were you?
    Carl Francis

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  9. Do you think wind farm has become a GCHQ search term?

    I thoroughly admire what you have done. Getting off one's arse for a cause seems to be a rarity these days.

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  10. Hi Lilo: It was a difficult one to time - as we had to get the TV & Press over to Dunmaglass & back again so that they could file their stories & pictures and we also had to make sure there was enough time to get those going up to the turbines site to get back down again to their cars before it got dark! A few from the morning boat did make it in time though - if you tale a peek at the pictures.

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  11. Hi Carl - No not on the tower - I was the one in the middle of the razor wire taking pictures of the demonstration and getting cut by the police (with no numbers on their shoulders) who were shaking the razor wire.

    Zed: Too kind - I just got more and more angry when I realised that the general public were so woefully ill-informed about what is really going on and felt that we had to get the truth 'out there' to make people realise they are being robbed blind of their hard earned cash and of their wonderful environment that will now be lost to their children.

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  12. beautiful words from Janet, and well marked sir.

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  13. I really do hope that the wishes of the common man are listened to.
    Well done on all your efforts, and to the supporters; it's certainly sobering to think these hills will never be the same again.

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  14. Well done Alan et al. I find myself getting angry looking at the photos realising what ordinary people have to do to protect the things they value in life. Its an absolute disgrace that, once again, money has won.

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  15. Very well done Alan. Unfortunately Lynne and I simply couldn't make it but a million thanks you and to all who did. What a waste of police time btw.

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  16. Well done Alan and all.
    Sorry I couldn't make it but was away in the Western Isles at the time. The islands so far seem to have been spared any major wind farm intrusion and have rebuffed some big developments. They seem to support small community based schemes at the moment, but I wonder how long that will continue under the present Scottish government?

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  17. I find it fascinating that after organising this event and having been supported in the publicity by both the John Muir Trust and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland there are people who think it was all a waste of time.

    The purpose of the protest was to get publicity at a national level to show that there is another point of view to society's apparent blind acceptance of wind power as a "good thing"

    We were published in most of the Scottish regional papers and The Times. We had film crews from the BBC and German & French television.
    We managed to get our point across successfully.

    Unless people stand up and are prepared to do something, nothing will ever change. I prefer to be one of those people.

    However, over at Outdoors Magic they seem to think that arguing amongst themselves with quirky name tags is a better solution.

    I'll let you be the judge of that.

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  18. The day after the Wake for the Wild, I carried on through the Monadhliath to the Dulnain bothy and then through the proposed Allt Duinne windfarm - another heart-achingly beautiful slab of wild land.

    Today the Strathspey & Badenoch Herald reports that the Cairngorm National Park Authority has come out unanimously against the proposal.

    You can find the excellent report, with the views of the local tourism businesses included HERE

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  19. Powerful words. Thank you all for standing up to protect something so precious so people like me, who have never visited the highlands, can experience it to the full in the future.

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  20. Thank you Alan for organising this event. It was great publicity for the fight against this destruction of the wild lands and we were pleased to have been a small part of it. We do feel powerless to stop the insanity but we have to keep trying. We now have one Minister who deals with Energy & Tourism in Scotland - how can these two things ever be compatible?
    Landward on BBC2 Scotland - Friday 10th June at 7pm are doing a report on wind farms and 'are they all they are cracked up to be?' which could be worth watching. They reported on raptor deaths last week - no mention of bird attrition due to turbiness. I am about to write to them (landward@bbc.co.uk) suggesting they link the content of the two programmes!

    There is a Wind Farm Wars blog that is interesting and worth adding to if anyone has time.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/2011/05/windfarm-wars.shtml

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  21. Alan, I haven't got the heart to register on the goddam awful OM site.

    That ParkyAgain guy who always talks through his arse is asking for data about wind plants and bird kills.

    Here are a few ones for his edification (ParkyAgain is the best counterexample to the claim that man is a rational creature. I've tried hard to understand what ANY of his posts are trying to say. But no matter how many times I try to read them, I end up concluding the guy hasn't got much between the ears).

    http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2011/04/05/irish-sea-eagle-killed-by-wind-turbine/

    http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/39Poorly-positioned39-wind-farms-.5681309.jp

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/rspb-warning-as-wind-turbines-kill-sea-eagles-524866.html

    http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Rare-red-kite-found-dead.6383830.jp

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/3298513/Sea-eagles-being-killed-by-wind-turbines.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RcTjdY1aN4&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/7870929/Primary-school-forced-to-turn-off-wind-turbine-after-bird-deaths.html

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6974082.ece

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1508992/Eagles-killed-by-wind-farm-blades.html

    As for the other guy (Moonlight Shadow) pontification on bloggers who are not open for debate on climate change. Funny enough, ALL climate science papers published in e.g. Nature have been accepted without the raw data being double checked by other scientists. Uniquely in science, it has become accepted practice within climate science to accept the conclusion of a 'study' without requiring access to the raw data. And famously if people try to obtain the data via FOI requests, the 'scientists' start whining about sceptic wanting to find errors in the way data has been interpreted. So if there's someone sticking to the idea that they are the sole repository of the truth, it is precisely those climate scientists that MoonlightShadow find so superior. And if in reply he starts quoting the infamous survey that claimed 97% of scientists believe in climate change, you can reply back that that study too has been debunked. It was carried out by a bunch of PhD students (Iraq Dossier anyone?) who sent out 10,000 survey, got only a handful of reply and then selected 72 scientists out of the initial 10,000. So it was only 97% of 72 out of 10,000 who provided the 'raw data' for the claim trumpeted by the Guardian that surely provides much of the misinformation MoonlightShadow and his ilk thrive on.

    And as for Wurz, he started off two threads in as many days on OM with emotive, scaremongering stories about those seats of rationality, the Germans, who gave us Nietzsche, the Grimm brothers and one-balled Adolf, jettisoning nuclear and reason all at once (it's no coincidence that the French gave us the enlightenment and now will give us the power to keep out lights on. And then the nuclear-haters call us nimbys! We'll keep the lights on because the French are expanding their nuclear programme!) and about the laughable story about fracking causing earthquakes! I mean, the guy is in the payroll of the wind industry and he just plants scaremongering emotional stories in all the blogs and forums he posts on, and then he accuses you of being emotive! Capital stuff.

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  22. I wonder if there can be a greater idiot than woozle over there at OM (not that the other, slightly more reasonable-sounding guys are much better. Take Wurz' reaction to Robin's link on bats death from turbine strike. He say 'studies [which ones? paid by whom?] have shown mitigation measures at migration time improve things'. Migration time for bats?

    What kind of credibility can a person like Wurz have if he states in full earnestness that bats migrate? They do not. Not even a weensy bit.

    Then woozle comes up with the argument that windows kill birds, so why moan about turbines?

    Now, that woozle is a complete arse is beyond dispute. But the argument is made elsewhere (woozle could not have dreamt it up on his own, clearly).

    And the point that these great minds seem to miss is that THERE ARE NO BLOODY WINDOWS ON THE HILLS.

    The problem with turbines is that you put them in the few places where birds have got a relatively pristine environment. Curlews, plovers, peewits, you name it, the Monadhliath was a haven for them, also because there was relatively little foot traffic away from the Munros.

    Turbines kill birds in places where there is no other human artefact to kill them.

    So woozle is not just a hypocrite himself (why is he connected to his computer all day long if he cares so much about energy conservation?), he's also a complete idiot who wouldn't know a good argument if he hit him in the groin.

    He's also a hypocrite because he doesn't give a toss that China is being polluted to the hilt to dig out the rare earth stuff without which his beloved turbines wouldn't even spin.

    Then the usual bit about emotive arguments from anti-turbines. As I've already said, the mass hysteria about Japan, the earthquake in the Midlands and anything to do with nuclear is bad, bad, bad.

    Well, more people have died because of wind farms than because of nuclear. Little known fact, but fact nonetheless. Building wind farms is one of the most dangerous occupations.

    Anyway, this time it's really it. I'll never again check out OM. Debating with immature teenagers in a middle age body is just too much for me.

    And as you say, Alan, these guys are supposed to love the outdoors!

    Oh yes, last bit about woozle: he compares turbines to high rise flats and wonders why people don't complain about that.

    Talk about own goal: here in Britain at least, high rise flats (apart from the commercial centres) were imposed on a reluctant population as a way out of the slums. They tore down old buildings, they devastated entire communities, and built high rise flats that no-one wanted to live in.

    50 years on, we are tearing them down one by one, to great expense. And the parallel with the turbines is the same: create a false sense of urgency, then run the argument (taken up yet again by Wurz) that wind is the only technology available now, and we MUST do something NOW. So, on we go, building thousands upon thousands of turbines. We have no idea what we are doing, but we do it anyway.

    Then we'll dynamite them down like we are doing with the high rise flats, and the guys who put them up are not paying for it, we are. Those guys went away with a golden handshake, like I'm sure Wurz will retire on a nice pension and bonus for all the turbines he's helped putting up.

    You know what, when I'm on a hill these days I try to avoid people. Were I to bump into one of these guys who say turbines are lovely, arent' they, I may end up creating another rockfall...

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  23. Andy - you win my recently created (as of ten minutes ago) "comment of the year" award
    *g*

    Made me chuckle.

    No - I shan't be gong back there either!
    :-)

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  24. Thanks, Alan. Do I win a bullshit detector to aim in the direction of the dynamic duo Woozle/Wurz?

    I note Wurz's getting the RSPB on his side now.

    If he thinks that cuts any ice, he's even more underhand than he already appears to be.

    Fact: the RSPB has long ceased to be a charity depending on donations from members of the public. It has now become a de facto NGO, drawing most of its revenue from the Government and the EU.

    It is just a mouthpiece for the government.

    And it gets a LOT of money from windfarm developers to keep mum about certain developments. That too is well-documented.

    And as for Wurz denying the charge of scaremongering: why on earth did he start two scaremongering threads in as many days, including the absolutely laughable one about drilling for shale gas causing earthquakes?

    The pro-wind has been playing the post-Fukushima card in the most unashamed way. They can't wait for a natural disaster to happen and blame it on us anti-turbines.

    In fact, the mass hysteria that the likes of Woozle/Wurs like to whip up plays on the oldest fears of humankind, that of the unpredictability of the weather.

    You know, the Bin Laden guys dream of 72 virgins in the afterlife. I wonder how long it'll be before the Greens start reintroducing that little habit of sacrificing virgins to ensure a plentiful crop. Sure enough, they're quite happy to sacrifice the hills for a cure that is still awaiting its disease.

    Anyway, I've just shown I've checked again OM!

    Armed with your bullshit detector, Alan, I'll now steer away from that website for good.

    Incidentally, as a libertarian, I find it SO meaningful that these guys are citing Germany as an example, a country where irrationality goes hand in hand with the desire to regiment every aspect of one's life.

    And their scaremongering about the sins of carbon and 'peak oil' is all of a piece with their increasingly brazen attempts to suspend democracy worldwide and impose a world government to sort out the ailing planet. Again, this is well-documented and ALL the most prominent 'Greens' are on record as stating their intent (just check out the pieces in the Guardian these last few months). The bureaucracy is already in place and being expanded by the day. Wurz is just one little cog doing his bit in our little online world.

    The last thing they want is open debate. They just want us to repent and crawl on our knees and beg them to give us more turbines on them hills.

    And I thought I was just beginning to recover after the shock of the Scottish elections...

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  25. I'm sorry if my posts annoy Andy. Some bats do migrate, many move shorter distance for food my response on Robins blog was from a study in the US. 1st google hit for bat migrations: http://www.discoverwildlife.com/animals/fruit-bats-africas-greatest-mammal-migration

    RSPB - Alan used RSPB links to support his argument I've simply expanded on this use of individual articles to show the actual RSPB position on windfarms and climate change. Both of which they generally support.
    As to scaremongering I simply posted direct links to press and bbc stories and made no initial comment. On both Germany choosing to scrap nuclear generation and the shale gas story and the earthquake.
    I still applaud Alan's action in fighting this windfarm and each case needs to be looked at on it's merits. I am more interested in the entire debate about energy use, supply and climate change.

    Good Evening.

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  26. I couldn't help myself: I had to make one last effort to let the morons know what was actually what. I went back to OM....

    Was I fair to them? Yes, on balance I think I was. I could have been far ruder if I had tried, but they are not worth the extra effort for that.

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  27. Wurz, thanks for popping in...

    Bats: you have this habit of spouting data from phantom studies that you haven't got a clue about, it seems. You first say that studies show bats migration mitigation measures can reduce the impact on bats. Then to back that up all you can do is google about something in the US!

    Well, here's a UK document stating unequivocally that UK bats do not migrate, whatever their US counterparts get up to:

    http://www.bats.org.uk/publications_download.php/459/Carlin_and_Mitchell_Jones.pdf

    Then you also make the disingenuous claim that you made no initial comments on those threads you started on OM.

    I won't bother going back to OM (my doctor forbids it) but your post on the Germany decision DID have a comment from you, or rather a wind-up statement: "those who hate windfarms won't like this', or words to that effect.

    It would be nice to have a good debate on all the topics you mention, but first let's stop the gloating.

    Also, this all started with Alan staging a protest against scrupleless developers raping some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

    They pay your salary, we know that, so naturally you take, in general, their side.

    But can you imagine how galling it is to have someone like you defending those who destroy the hills on dubious grounds? If we are annoyed, stop for a second and try to consider what you are doing.

    Instead of attacking the developers out for a quick buck, you take delight in deriding those who care about the hills.

    It all falls into place when one reflects where you get your mortgage from, of course. But don't expect us to just go all polite when that's the background to your position.

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  28. I don't know whether this has been flagged anywhere on this site, but Highland Council is apparently asking for the views of 'residents, developers and groups' on planning strategy for wind energy. It has prepared new guidance, apparently, and is now asking for feedback. The draft guidance document is at www.highland.gov.uk/yourenvironment/planning/consultations.htm

    It is really part of the so-called democratic process that offers no choice but pretends to, like saying 'Yes, we live in a democracy, so we give you a choice: would you prefer to be hanged, strangled, or drowned?' Having said that, if anyone can think of something genuinely useful to say, please let us know. I have had a decent look through the stuff, but can come up with nothing. And it's not because I'm an idiot who can't read all these bloody multi-coloured maps - I've got an MA in geog from one of the world's best-regarded universities... And I know that some of those maps are not exactly discouraging energy companies from applying in all sorts of places that I consider, well, almost sacred. The admirable MCofS has responded already, it seems. Deadline for comments is June 24th.

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  29. Hi "Ian T"

    Many thanks for your comment. I've just spent quite some time reading the HC document and the, as you say, excellent MCofS repsonse, which readers can find HERE

    In a nutshell the Highland Council's designation of wild land relies on one report that takes no account of an area's wild qualitites and so in the planning process this becomes virtually ignored. Hence areas like the Monadhliath and Balmacaan will just become huge power stations.

    The MCofS points this out very forcibly and so I wonder if the Highland Council will take note of it? If they do, it could save Scotland's Wild places. But frankly, based on the HC's track record, I won't be holding my breath.

    Hebe, MCofS's Access officer, is playing a blinder, having to object in great detail to every application that goes against MCofS policy. She deserves a medal.

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  30. Briefly going back to Wurz (interestingly, a German-sounding nickname) and his love of nuclear-free Germany, I was making some points about the non-accidental nature of that nation's enthusiasm for eco-reform.

    Well, if you have an hour to spare, you could go through this rather chilling document with a red pen and study it carefully:

    http://www.wbgu.de/fileadmin/templates/dateien/veroeffentlichungen/hauptgutachten/jg2011/wbgu_jg2011_kurz_en.pdf

    It ties in perfectly with Milliband's famous cry that dislike of wind plants should become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.

    Hannah's piece in today's Telegraph was also a chilling reminder of the new era awaiting us:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/author/danielhannan/

    Even though we have to keep focused on the specific issue of each application, the thing is, it's not just about turbines here folks, there's a lot more at stake.

    That's why the Wurz of this world get so excited about us contrarians...

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  31. I'm coming late to the party, but please don't simply dismiss the OM Forum.
    I've been involved in many a 'wind-farm' debate over the years on OM. I think most folk on the forum know what i think on the matter. I totally respect Alan for getting off his backside and doing something.
    The reason Woozle and his ilk have talked so much shite without much reply from other OM regulars is down to a simple fact of life.
    He is a Troll who only joined the forum a few montha ago. He sits in his Italian B&B trying to cause as much discourse as possible. If you feed the Troll, he just gets another box of tissues ready.
    Regulars on the forum have learned to just ignore any threads he starts causing discord on.
    Keep up the good work Alan.
    Mike fae Dundee.

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  32. That's good to know, Mike. Wonder why this Woozle isn't kicked out of the place, though. There's a lot of good info on OM and it's just a damn shame that there's so much rubbish being talked about.

    One more thing about wind, if I may.

    Just listen to this clip from the Today's programme back in March this year.

    It's the chief executive of the National Grid. So it's the guy who's responsible to keep us all going. He knows his onions.

    Listen to the bit from 2.33 to 2.45.

    He's asked about all the wind facilities being constructed. He says what we have at the moment it's nothing compared to what we will have. He says we have 5 GW and we'll end up having 60GW.

    He's then asked what will we do when the wind doesn't blow.

    And his answer is very interesting (and much reported, but is ignored by the paid up pro-wind mob that George Monbiot and his organisation are unleashing throughout the internet).

    He says we'll have to get used to a completely different grid in the future. We'll have to use electricity when we can provide it, not when we need it.

    So here's the picture: Britain in 2020/2030. Wait to do the laundry until the wind blows; you can have your Sundae roast, as long as it is windy. Showers in the morning? Nae, save the planet, do not shower unless it is windy.

    The Monbiot mob (although the big man himself has recently converted to nuclear) keep on harping about the Norway interconnector, but there's only so much reserve power Norway can have when half of Europe needs the juice the mills can't provide.

    I guess we'll have some use for all those extra stoves we've been piling up over the past few years...

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  33. Funnily enough...

    Having been given a link on OM by a guy in the National Grid I have spent the best part of my afternoon reading the technical document: It's horrifying - far from the comment he made on OM about everything being hunkey dorey! Am just finishing a post about it at the moment...

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  34. Well done Alan.

    Ironically, the pre-election demo in Edinburgh against the sale of Scotland to the wind speculators passed the Scottish Parliament's 'living wall' on Canongate.

    It bears a plaque bearing the well-known words of Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem 'Inversnaid':

    "What would the world be, once bereft
    Of wet and wildness? Let them be left,
    O let them be left, wildness and wet;
    Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet."

    Couple of points: please keep repeating to all who will hear what Scottish Natural Heritage are saying re. the rape of our wild lands.

    Their report found that the proportion of Scotland "without visual influence of built development" fell from 31% to 28% in 2009 alone.

    A spokesman for SNH quoted in the Scotsman blamed the accelerating decline on wind turbines: "The decrease in area unaffected by the visual influence of built development is, in the main, caused by wind turbines," said a spokesman for SNH. "Wind farms are being built rapidly in relation to other forms of development and they are highly visible due to their locations."
    ('Paradise lost - Scotland's vanishing views', The Scotsman, 22 February 2011).

    SNH's footprint maps reveal the scale of wind development in Scotland, see:
    http://www.snh.gov.uk/planning-and-development/renewable-energy/research-data-and-trends/trendsandstats/windfarm-footprint-maps/

    You are right that National Grid are now forecasting real problems (albeit in the coded language of power engineers' reports).

    As well as the document you reference, the politicians and Windies really ought to read NG's 'Winter Outlook' reports of recent years and the 'Seven Year statement, 2010'.

    I have abstracted some wind related segments from the 'Winter Outlook, 2010/11' report at: www.windbyte.co.uk/windpower.html#NGwinter10/11

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  35. Just to re-iterate Mike's comments: please don't be put off OM by the likes of Woozle. He's a classic troll and probably one of the most disgusting "personaI suslities" you're ever likely to meet. I'm sure there are many, many more people on OM as horrified by the current proliferation of windfarms as I am.

    Alan, my Mrs (a non-hillgoer) was moved to tears by this post. She'd no idea that our hills were under such a threat. I suspect that the vast majority of the population are equally unaware.

    Keep on doing what you're doing, Al. And everybody else for that matter.

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  36. "personaI suslities"? WTF? Personalities, obviously :o)

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  37. Hi Kev

    Thanks for that. It was only relatively recently that I realised the full horror of what was coming when I saw on Highland Council's own map of wind farms that had been built, wind farms that had been approved and wind farms that were currently being scoped. It was shocking.

    Then I started to look deeper into it all and found out about all the "incentives" to local communities, the huge rentals the landowners achieve and the massive subsidies the generating companies get from trading their ROC's, that you & I end up paying for.

    Then I found out about the crazy economics of it all and then the problems with stabilising the National Grid. It just went on and on. During all this the wind lobbyists insist their machines have efficiencies some 50% better than reality, how they use distorted statistics to persuade, and how thy manage to smear those standing up against them industrialising the Highlands as being "Anti-Green" or "Nimbys".

    The truth is that they are a corrupt bunch of bastards who are in it for one thing only: Money.

    And they are destroying our Beautiful Wild Land.

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  38. Yes, I agree with what you opined about Highland Council a few posts back, Alan. Having spent the past six years living in Inverness, I feel that at least some of the councillors are not fit for office, and the kind of decisions that they have to make nowadays. I hope to be proved wrong, but.....

    Just one example is the written communication I receive a while ago from one of the local folk involved in trying to prevent the Lochluichart wind factory from being approved a while back. It transpired that one of the main proponents on the council of Lochluichart got a job in PR with the energy company building the project shortly after it was given the go-ahead!!! In Britain, I suspect we continue to labour under the delusion that certain things only happen in places like Russia and under tinpot dictators in West Africa. It's not true.... Subterfuge and intrigue are there right under our very noses.

    And yes, Hebe at MCofS definitely deserves a medal, and a great thanks for the work she does on behalf of us all. I couldn't do the job myself - I'd be quitting with severe depression after my first morning.

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