Leeds To Scotland & Back Again

41eaeb0409be655261b63391ea6ac9fe--scotland-wind-farms

I’m going to start today’s mighty entry with a boast! I’m going to get all my arrogance out of my system in the first few paragraphs, then I’ll shut up about “me” and let nature do the rest of the talking. I just wanted to preface this travelogue with a short section about who I am and why I’m doing this. Maybe I sometimes scare myself with the ferocity of my language (though, as you’ve hopefully noticed, I try and minimise swearing). I do wonder how the outbursts make me come across. Especially to official organisations, more and more of whom I hope are reading the blog. Hello Kirklees Council, welcome to the discourse! Feel free to chip in and move the dialogue forward, happy to engage with you.

Every time you read something in here that makes me sound extreme, always remember:

IT WAS THE TURBINES THAT MADE ME FEEL THIS WAY!

And that’s why I temporarily want to boast, just to set the record straight once and for all about who the hell Mr **Peak Protection** really is! Well, it’s not even boasting, just the facts really… The truth is I was head-hunted for the role of team leader representing one of the world’s most popular brands. I have a very demanding job managing a team based all across Europe, and my own role involves travelling across the North doing technical and customer facing work, with strict service level agreements to be adhered to, and no BS tolerated. In my last performance review, I’m proud to say I got amazing feedback 🙂

OK, that’s the gasconade out the way. I only mention it to contextualise the rants that you’re about to encounter. Luckily I’ll mostly be writing lavish prose eulogising the stunning landscapes of this still predominantly green and pleasant land; but interspersed, as you will find, there will be some finely targeted grenades launched. My default position is that I love every woman, man and child on this planet APART FROM THE ECO-VANDALS. Even then, I “love the sinner”, I just “hate the sin”. My anger is specific, pinpointed and entirely rational.

That’s why I mention the fact that I’m a team leader: I’m actually a people-person whose job it is to get the best from my team, and to draw attention to any process issues that stop us from achieving our potential. So if ever my words seem OTT, just remember: TURBINES TRIGGERED ME! I’m absolutely not in the habit of losing my rag, I never do at work or even socially. I’m not an angry man, I’m a hippie earth child at heart.

But, like all animals, when my habitat is under threat, I suffer an amygdala hijack. That’s nature!

Opposing the EU’s disastrous climate change policies does not make me “xenophobic” towards my European team members in anyway. Calling out corporate malpractice and downright lying doesn’t make me anti-capitalist, seeing as I work for one of the biggest corporations in the world. (The difference is, my company makes great products that people love and choose to buy, products associated with fitness, exercise, health and well-being that sell on the open market, with no help from taxpayer subsidies). Calling out wind energy as a fifth-rate “joke” technology, that is patently struggling to live up to its ridiculous claims, is not being a Luddite or anti-technology in any way, it’s just having standards which wind turbines fail to live up to (why else would they be getting bigger and bigger, if smaller and more efficient models could do the same job?).

Hopefully now I’ve earned the right to be taken seriously as a hard-working, tax-paying, pro-nature, positive, creative individual. Believe me, I’d much rather be blogging about self-development and proactive steps to better health and well-being. I suppose getting rid of toxic wind blight is Step One to a happier life, so it kind of fits.

I certainly represent the views of hundreds, if not thousands of other hard-working, tax-paying, pro-nature, positive, creative individuals, all around the world. We are in agreement: those who would inflict wind turbines on society are actually anti-success, anti-aspiration, anti-innovation, anti-Peak Experiences… The saddest thing is most of the time they don’t even realise.

Wind turbines are truly the product of diseased, bitter, misanthropic minds.

If anyone is “negative”, it’s those who degrade beauty. Don’t blame me – I just call them out. These muggles totally miss out on the brain-boosting, spirit-cleansing, transcendental properties of our wild open spaces. Only an utter dullard wouldn’t grok the negative impact wind blight has on these sacred landscapes.

And yet I liked the Scout Moor Wind Farm at first. Does that make me a negative muggle with a diseased mind? No, because I now realise “the real me” didn’t like it, I was just programmed to. It almost worked.

I had an unexpected but perfectly-timed reunion with Scout Moor yesterday, so the ideal opportunity to test my hypotheses and re-evaluate my opinions. In the line of my duties I had to get to Manchester for 8am, and then make my way up to a hotel near Gretna for an 8am start this morning. However, due to an administrative snafu I couldn’t proceed with the planned installation in Manchester, so I had the rest of the day free to amble northwards, with only one self-imposed stipulation: NO MOTORWAYS! Instead, I’d explore the hidden byways of East Lancashire and Cumbria.

Before I’d even left the city limits, the horrendous turbines of Scout Moor loomed ahead, dominating the skyline to the north of the great metropolis. Was my description accurate? Well, suffice to say, Scout Moor lived down to my post-“red pill” verdict. It just makes the northern half of Manchester seem tired, jaded, degraded and de-energised. It looks pikey. What on earth does that do to the mindset of the residents?

After a couple of miles of green belt countryside, I drove through poor little Heywood, right there under the shadows of the Scout Moor wind farm. Now here’s where serendipity did its usual trick of turning an annoying detour into the trip of a lifetime! I wanted to go up Ashworth Road, which climbs its way up to the edge of Scout Moor, but the road was closed, so took a diversion into the western edge of Rochdale. Barely a few minutes later, I saw Rooley Moor Road to my left, the suburban section that gives not a hint of what lies a couple of miles northwards.

I can’t even say it was a conscious decision to follow the yellow cobbled road, it was just animal instinct. After about a mile, the road leaves the suburbs behind and heads up to Catley Lane Head, where a final bus stop marks the end of the tarmac section. Already significantly higher than Rochdale town centre, this is just the beginning of the real ascent. I parked up and went for a ramble about two miles up the Cotton Famine Road. One solitary turbine from Scout Moor kept annoyingly poking its blades over the hill to my left, and to my right the horrors of Crook Hill Wind Farm looked as depressing as ever. Somehow, in amongst all of this wind blight, not to mention the twin rows of electricity pylons you have to cross under before really hitting the wilds, Rooley Moor soon exerted its magic, and the modern world rapidly faded away into a distant blur (well, apart from the Facebook selfies, but I make no apology for bringing the inspirational story of the Cotton Famine Road into people’s social media feeds!).

22308954_1989677484382357_1672222008841884595_n

CORONATION POWER WANTED TO SEND DOZENS OF TRUCKS UP HERE TO CONSTRUCT AN INDUSTRIAL WIND FARM! CRAZY AND DOOMED, BUT TRUE. 

THANK HEAVENS SANITY PREVAILED, ALL CREDIT TO THE INCREDIBLE WORK OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY: JOHN, GRAHAM, ALAN, STU, “SIMON”, STEVE, PETER, JEFF, AND THE DOZENS OF OTHERS WHO ALL WORKED SO HARD TO FIGHT FOR THE COBBLES… BRAVO SIRS 🙂 

The views on the way back down the Cotton Famine Road were absolutely unbeatable, the Peak filling the entire left flank of the view, the mountains of Wales visible to the right, with Manchester in the centre, hundreds of metres below. Two individual turbines stood out, inappropriate and unwelcome: that dreaded turbine north of Denshaw which I’ve already logged, and another frightful one to the east of Hollingworth Lake. Complaints letters and FOI Requests in the pipeline…

Once back in the car, I threaded my way through Rochdale and Whitworth, past the Landgate entrance to the Crook Hill Wind Farm where I used to park up before a day’s photoblogging. One of the massive Reaps Moss turbines was dominating the skyline as I passed Shawforth and across the high col between Hail Storm Hill and Freeholds Top, immediately after which the road drops down through Britannia towards Bacup. Two turbines erected last year dominated the views to the left, awful, awful awful blight from the moronic Rossendale Council, possibly one of the most erratic councils of the lot. All in all, their decisions have been catastrophic for the borough’s countryside, yet even a stopped watch tells the right time twice a day, and even they rejected Rooley Moor, which just goes to show how truly abysmal Coronation Power’s plans were.

When even Rossendale Council (who’d permit Kim Jong Un to build a wind farm if it added a few coppers to their budget) think your wind farm scheme is a bad idea, then you might as well just give up and get a proper job…

Now here’s where things get interesting, and you have to take my word for it. Believe me, I wanted to throw up just so I could take a photo of my vomit and ask: “Is THAT proof enough for you?” Heading east on the A681, with Reaps Moss and Todmorden wind farms on either side, I genuinely started to feel extremely nauseous. Almost seasick, queasy and torn between the need to pull over and the need to get the hell away. I swear on the Holy Bible that I suddenly felt ill in the presence of these dangerous instruments of sickness and decay. I safely arrived in Todmorden and had a sit down in the Morrisons cafe.

I WILL TESTIFY IN COURT THAT THE WIND TURBINES AT REAPS MOSS AND TODMORDEN CAUSED ME TO FEEL PHYSICALLY SICK, TO THE POINT WHERE I GENUINELY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO THROW UP.

Rather perturbed by that brief moment of nausea, but now feeling better, I headed north out of Todmorden on some seriously steep, narrow lanes, clinging to the hillside of the Calder Valley. Views of Stoodley Pike and the mercifully unspoilt Dark Peak to my right provided a much-needed boost to my spirits, although I noticed a couple of small turbines dotted around the high altitude villages east of Bridestones Moor.

I zigzagged my way to the Widdop road, possibly the most stunning road in the whole South Pennines, the only real “mountain pass” in this section of the Pennines between the Peak and the Dales. You must make your way to Widdop, you will NOT be disappointed! Finally, finally, no wind blight anywhere near, with the high summits of Black Hameldon and Lad Law obscuring views of any distant turbines. Unfortunately, almost as soon as the narrow lane reached its highest point, just before a dramatic descent down a steep ravine, some dreadful wind blight appeared ahead of me. In particular, the two wind turbines by the Coldwell Reservoirs, operated by United Utilities, were unbelievably ugly and out of place.

THEY MUST COME DOWN!

Further wind blight lined the hills near Colne, with one final outlier on the ridge north of Blacko, far too close to Pendle Hill to be acceptable. After Gisburn the blight disappeared and unspoilt Lancashire enveloped me in healing alpha waves. The Forest of Bowland is gorgeous, off-the-radar fell country, ignored by most people as they zoom up the M6 towards the Lakes. I was the solitary driver along the spectacular lane that winds its way up the western edge of Great Harlow, something of a miniature Hardknott Pass. By now it had started to rain, with streams raging down the mountain sides.

I ambled my way down from Bowland towards Kirkby Lonsdale, with the rain showing no sign of letting up. I stopped to check my messages next to the Devil’s Bridge and a chap came over to the car, alerting me to the fact that the roads were pretty much flooded in every other direction apart from the one I’d just come from. Well, seeing as Withnail & I is one of my favourite films of all time, I thought I might follow in their footsteps and stop for some refreshments in Kirkby Lonsdale (“We want the finest wines available to humanity. We want them here, and we want them now!”) Totally unchanged since Uncle Monty dropped the pair off to get some wellington boots, Kirkby Lonsdale’s distinctive village square was indeed still home to a delightful tea room, the only difference being that this one offered me wifi and a mocha, and the owner didn’t threaten to call the police to have me removed!

Instead of taking the main road to Sedbergh, I headed north on country lanes, the puddles of water now becoming more like ponds. About four miles north of Kirkby Lonsdale, I passed the Armistead Wind Farm, which for a fleeting moment actually looked OK. I’m always prepared to be surprised – in case you hadn’t got the message yet, I’m the first to challenge my own assumptions! And, for about thirty seconds, the gleaming turbines of Armistead weren’t too offensive. But then I saw the hideous turbines of Lambrigg Wind Farm just a few miles away, and suddenly it made me hate Armistead. CUMULATIVE IMPACT 101, and a very important lesson: you don’t get wind farms on their own, once the precedent has been set then “everyone wants one”. You see it with IT – give someone a new computer and then everybody else in the office says: “Ah it’s not fair, why can’t we have one?” Let one in, and you break that golden rule that says “NO MEANS NO” to all inappropriate development in the countryside.

I can’t believe I had to write a twenty page document for the Planning Inspectorate teaching them how to do their jobs, but clearly nobody else had.  How come an amateur like me knows way more about good planning policy, and puts way more effort into enforcing it, than the people who get paid to do it?

IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DONE, YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT YOURSELF!

Back to the journey… I somehow managed to semi-drive, semi-sail my way through some extremely deep and scary floods, with two industrial wind farms constructed on the hilltops from where torrents of water were gushing down and overloading the streams below.

Just sayin’…

Up close, Lambrigg Wind Farm looks like it’s had an appalling impact on the ground. It looks unhealthy, barren and lifeless. Who in the name of God thought it would be a good idea to build a power station here?

My journey proceeded in increasing darkness; by now I’d given up on the no-motorway rule because the alternative route options were more like rivers at this point. I eventually arrived at the hotel at Carlisle Todhills, just south of the Scottish border. Fittingly, the very last thing I saw before I walked through the hotel door was a large and ugly wind turbine, spinning away less than 100 metres from my bedroom for the night!

I wish I could say I was kept up all night and given a headache by the swoosh swoosh swoosh of the turbine, but you know I believe that genuinely Green people don’t tell lies, so it wouldn’t be right to make up stories. The fact is, I was out like a light! But who knows, maybe tired travellers only staying one night in a motorway-side hotel maybe aren’t going to ever really know what it’s like to sleep next to one of these monsters, night in, night out.

The morning’s scenery started with pretty much the final field in England before the Scottish border hosting a wind farm doing sweet Fanny Adams; not even a cup of tea could have been brewed by the motionless blades. I did my work in Gretna and embarked upon the return journey. I won’t go into as much detail describing the route back, because I’d made up my mind to head for the safety of the main Pennine chain, mercifully untouched by turbine blight for miles and miles.

I did notice the meteorological station atop Great Dun Fell, disliked intensely by hillwalker supreme Alfred Wainwright (Lord knows what he would have made of wind farms), but not remotely offensive to my tastes. Interesting… OK, the dome up there now is not the same structure as the one he objected to, maybe that was an eyesore. On an aesthetic level, the small dome did not impact on the scale and wildness of the skyline; there are rock formations and cairns that don’t look dissimilar from a distance.

What about trig points? Weren’t they the original man-made, white-painted structures inserted into peaks?! What about the cafe on Snowdon, not to mention the bleedin’ railway? Even my favourite mountain of the lot, Mam Tor, has a staircase and a paved summit!

It is complicated, and critical thinking is once again of the essence in evaluating exactly what structures are acceptable on our otherwise unspoilt peaks. I myself am trying to understand specifically what it is about wind turbines that triggers my anger in a way these other hilltop structures don’t! I’m on a voyage of discovery to understand what it is about these horrible machines that gets under my skin like nothing else.

There was one other notable incident that spoilt my mood for the rest of the journey, and it’s one I implore you to replicate. Get yourself to the A683, heading south towards Sedbergh from Kirkby Stephen. You’ll pass the utterly spectacular Howgill Fells, up there with Snowdonia and the Lakes for pure drama. The Calf is the highest Marilyn in the Howgills, and the most mountainous-looking peak I encountered on my entire trip, with the fearsome Cautley Spout waterfall lashing down its sheer eastern face.

What happens to your mood, dear reader, when you round the corner and come face-to-face with the diabolical vision of Armistead Wind Farm looming on high? It made me want to punch a Planning Inspector! Try it out for yourself, let me know what it does to your own mental health!

ARMISTEAD AND LAMBRIGG WIND FARMS ARE TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE BLOTS ON THE LANDSCAPE.

ONCE AGAIN, THEY NEED TO COME DOWN AND THEIR OWNERS NEED SENDING TO PRISON FOR CRIMES AGAINST NATURE.

THIS **IS** GOING TO HAPPEN.

Could the Armistead and Lambrigg wind farms have exacerbated the floods I experienced as I was driving past them? http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/15589072.Flood_warnings_in_force_as_heavy_rain_blights_Cumbria/

“Is there no nook of English ground secure from rash assault?” (William Wordsworth): http://www.cumbriawindwatch.co.uk/index.php/Armistead

Soul stealers, that describes wind scammers perfectly. Despicable creatures. What other species wrecks hills for profit? Have they got something missing from their brains? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/windpower/9845499/Wind-turbine-plans-stealing-soul-of-Cumbria.html

WHOEVER WROTE THIS SOUNDS MORE LIKE ME THAN ME! When I read a total stranger saying exactly what I’ve been saying, it all gives credence to my observations. https://www.visitcumbria.com/cm/wharrels-hill-wind-farm/

NORMAL PEOPLE HATE WIND FARMS AND WANT TO INCARCERATE DANGEROUS WIND OPERATORS! ONLY TWISTED FREAKS AND WEIRDOS LIKE THEM!!!! http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/4885444.Residents_urged_to_oppose_wind_farm_near_Kirkby_Lonsdale/

Great Dun Fell Field Station: it’s not for profit, it’s about knowledge and understanding, it’s a one-off and it doesn’t look like a monster, so it gets a free pass from me!  http://www.cas.manchester.ac.uk/restools/fieldstations/greatdunfell/

Black Hameldon (“If you like your hills wet, wild and dirty…” YUP!!!):

Black Hameldon

Lad Law – highest point of the South Pennines: https://www.themountainguide.co.uk/england/boulsworth-hill-lad-law.htm

Great Harlow: https://mapcarta.com/17641848

The Calf: http://myyorkshiredales.co.uk/hills/the-calf/

Finally, some light relief 🙂 Kirkby Lonsdale hasn’t changed, apart from the hideous wind blight at Armistead, a few miles to the north.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s