Awe Winter
Awe winter, by Karl Pipes

A reason to protest.

We had moved into an Argyll village house in the year of the Millennium.  After two years hard work we were beginning to reap the fruits of our labours in the previously neglected garden.  One day I was passing a village hall, some seven miles from our home.  People there were holding a 'windfarm exhibition'.  Out of curiosity I went inside.  Try to imagine my feelings when I found out that the 'windfarm' (a venture by Scottish Power, on Forestry Commission land) was planned to stand on Top of the ridge immediately opposite my home, and twenty two other homes.  Seemingly, the reason that we had not been invited to the exhibition was that Loch Awe lies between us and the site.  Therefore, it came under the remit of a different Community Council.  On enquiring how much of the 'Farm' we would see, I was told two full turbines and bits of others.  These 'advisors' did not even know where my village was!  A cursory glance at the contour map showed no higher ground between the village and the ridge, what was going to hide the other turbines? ----- Erm! Ah!
And so, dear readers, I came to appreciate the gentle art of  windfarm promoters obfuscation!  I also learned of like minded individuals and organisations, all sworn to fight for justice and fairness in this 'loaded dice' game that the promoters play.  We won our case to stop that particular 'farm' after a hard fight of some five years.  The Regional Council turned down planning permission, after a very stressful meeting, which the public were allowed to attend.  The most significant ruling, to me, was that 'scenic value' played no part in the announcement of reasons for refusal.  As far as I could see, afforested land was, and is, fair game for windfarms.
The group 'Artists Against Windfarms' is so important to show how scenery is beyond just token value.  If only it could be given a 'square root' valuation!   The more we can show how beautiful and interesting patches of land and water can be, the more we can show the morality of preserving it for the generations who follow in our wake.  We all should be extremely grateful for this opportunity to depict what we love and truly value and place it in the public domain.  It is not just 'sites of outstanding natural beauty' that are worth preserving, no matter what civil servants say!
Karl Pipes.  November 5th 2009.

Rain in the hills,

Otter and octopus
Otter and Octopus

Red Squirell
Red Squirrell

Finchairn Castle
Finchairn Castle (ruin).