My father died in a Sue Ryder Hospice. His care was magnificent and the staff at Sue Ryder ensured he had a comfortable and dignified death. The following year I walked a circuitous Land’s End to John o’ Groats to raise funds for the hospice. It was a 2,700km walk; a walk I’ll never forget.
As I walked north the land became less populated, wilder and the scenery just got better and better. On the walk I mentioned this to Ian Shiel in a pub in Blair Atholl. He looked me in the eye and said
“You’ve seen nothing yet; wait until you get to the far north.”
At the time I thought I knew the Highlands fairly well, and said something to the effect that in my dozen crossings of Scotland I had experienced land as close to heaven as you could possibly get.
“Al,” Ian said, “That’s nothing compared to the far north.”
And he was right.
The far north west of Scotland was forged in primordial times. The rocks are the oldest on the planet. The landscape was nothing I had ever experienced before. Here are just a few pictures to give you a flavour of the place:
GLEANN A CHADHA DHEIRG: CLICK TO ENLARGE
TURN AROUND: CAPLICH WINDFARM IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU! CLICK TO ENLARGE
THE SAME VIEW AS ABOVE, BUT IN BETTER WEATHER: NICKED FROM THE CAPE WRATH TRAIL WEBSITE
SUILVEN: CLICK TO ENLARGE
GLENCOUL THRUST: CLICK TO ENLARGE
I was using the Cape Wrath Trail as my route to the far north western point of Scotland. It is a popular route for experienced backpackers and has recently been incorporated into Scotland’s new End to End walk: The Scottish National Trail.
It is magnificent country. Fabulous. Jaw-droppingly beautiful. But now, a wind farm has been put in for planning, slap bang in the middle of it: Caplich windfarm.
Please excuse the lengthy preamble to get you to this horrendous news but I wanted, no, needed you to know what is at stake here. Let’s cut to the chase and see what’s proposed and how it will affect these magnificent landscapes. You know the drill by now: First, let’s look at where it is:
CLICK TO ENLARGE
Next: What other wind farms are round about, so we can see what the cumulative effects might be:
CUT-DOWN HIGHLAND COUNCIL WINDFARM MAP: JUNE 2014 – CLICK TO ENLARGE
You’ll notice that Loch Shin is to be surrounded by Very Large Windfarms, and the capitals are very important here. And next, we look at the Zone of Theoretical Visibility Map – The ZTV of the wind farm:
RECREATIONAL ROUTES & ZTV MAP OF CAPLICH WINDFARM: CLICK TO ENLARGE
Now the above map is important. I want you to click on it. It will open up much larger, in a new window, so I won’t lose you.
The red dotted line is the Cape Wrath Trail / Scottish National Trail. You will notice that it passes barely a mile from the Caplich Windfarm. Now I want you to scroll back up to the very colourful picture that I nicked from the Cape Wrath Trail website.
Here it is again. I’m a saint, really I am; I make this so easy for you…
CLICK TO ENLARGE: NICKED FROM THE CAPE WRATH TRAIL WEBSITE
The wind farm will be immediately behind from where the above picture is taken. Do you see that big dark peak on the far right? That’s Eagle Rock. The next picture is the view from Eagle Rock to the wind farm:
PHOTOMONTAGE OF THE CAPLICH WINDFARM FROM EAGLE ROCK: CLICK TO ENLARGE
The next map is a real shocker:
CAPLICH WINDFARM ZTV IN ASSOCIATION WITH SURROUNDING WIND FARM ZTVs: CLICK TO ENLARGE
Take some time over this map. Again, please click on it to blow it up in a new window. Ta.
What this map shows is that on top of all the other ZTVs of all the other windfarms, the Caplich windfarm’s visual presence (the green and yellow colours on the map) stretches into the very heart of Assynt. Assynt; the jewel in the crown of the far north west of Scotland. The Crown Jewels. Gnarly old Mountaineers weep at the beauty and magnificence of Assynt.
And now, some greedy, money-grubbing bastard of a landowner, who will probably benefit to the tune of some £15million, is going to stick TWENTY turbines 132m TALL (that’s 433 Imperial Feet) to trash it.
EDIT: 4:00pm Monday 16th February:
You can make your objection known by adding a note of objection on the relevant page of the Highland Council Planning Website. The objections ARE important. Please spare the time to do this. I’ll make it really easy for you:
Read a few of the objections to get a feel of what to say and then just click on the “Make a Comment” tab and get objecting! Thank you. This really is very important!
Could you let me know how you got on? Ta.
You can see James Boulter’s excellent thoughts on this by clicking on the link below: