A Saturday trip up north this time saw myself, Alex, Graeme, Grant and David head up as a carload of hill walkers to the Graham just south of Aberfeldy, Meall Dearg, 690 metres or 2263 feet, and its outlying top Creag an Loch, 663 metres. The snow was deep and crisp and uneven up here with a forecast of clear skies but a windchill factor of -20 below on the heights, once on the snowfields. About a 20 miles an hour wind blowing steadily in exposed places so we had full thermal gear on all day. Graham: a Scottish mountain between 2000 and 2500 feet high.
Away from the track, see photo above, snow covered the landscape, where deep hidden holes lurked to trap the unwary. Graeme sinking up to his thigh in this one. At least it was a dry hollow.
Very interesting article here on the last of the roaming wolf packs in Scotland, the demise of the great wood of Caledon that stopped the Roman Army in its tracks and the gradual change to the desolate barren wasteland we think of as "natural Scottish wilderness" today. Only a lonely handful of ancient yew trees scattered in otherwise bleak, empty glens are old enough to "remember" the lynx, the brown bear, the wild boar, the elk and the wolf running or sheltering under their branches.
It's a complicated topic with strong opinions on all sides and hard for any non academic to understand. Personally, I don't mind them in bleak, desolate areas that are scenically uninteresting anyway, or land covered in man made blanket conifer plantations already devoid of most forms of wildlife. However, most of these obvious areas have been grabbed by turbines already so they are now starting to intrude on the types of landscapes that tourists and UK visitors pay good money to see.
If they are not harmful to birds flying into the blades in poor visibility... why the legal challenge?
From my own point of view, as a frequent hill walker around Scotland, mainly south of Glencoe (Truth is, I cant afford the petrol these days to go further north in my own country :o) there are very few occasions now when wind farms do not spoil the view, often in two directions at once. It's getting increasingly harder to take a photograph showing Scotland's beauty without a wind farm in the picture somewhere.
Three short articles from one newspaper in the space of a five minute search under "Scottish wind farms" so people are increasingly concerned over this issue. Given the speed of construction and the sheer number of applications (which is why I suspect a rat regarding value for money over the long term) it may already be too late.
Still continuing the traditional folk music theme here's a suitable video. In the 1980s I was a big fan of east coast social rebel Dick Gaughan, went through to see him perform in Edinburgh pubs and venues, and still have all his early albums. Powerful singer and magical guitar player. This is from his classic Handful of Earth album. LP of the year way back in 1981. My own favourite though is his first album from the early 1970s No More Forever, which is less political, just full of great traditional folk songs.