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Windfarms (modified loathing)

Windfarms (modified loathing)


Postby weedavie » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:09 am

Grahams included on this walk: Blackhope Scar, Windlestraw Law

Donalds included on this walk: Blackhope Scar, Windlestraw Law

Date walked: 03/11/2015

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 1500m

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Stow Eddleston.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Come all you wild young men
A warning take from me...

The Moorfoots are a rough bunch of hills. They're not straightforward for navigation and while they can have good paths in, they're generally horrible underfoot. I knew all this but I'd always felt that some use could be made of the First bus service to Peebles. The problem was finding another end to the route but now they've opened the Borders railway. So that opened a path across the Moorfoots.

On a beautiful misty morning I got off the train at Stow. I'd a ridge to cross before hitting the hills proper.
1 windfarm.jpg
From above I saw the next train and the theme for today, windfarms. They're everywhere, it's vandalism. Each one, of course, can power 20,000 homes. On this still November day, nothing was revolving. Hey, that's about 100,000 powerless homes. Still, the sunshine was ironing the creases from my soul and I'd find a reason to be grateful for a windfarm before the end of the day.

2 onward.jpg
From the ridge to Windlestraw Law
At the bottom of the ridge I met a keeper and talked to him for a while - he was the only person I encountered all day. Then on good vehicle tracks I went up easily to Deaf Heights. This was one of the points of the trip, a tribute to the excellent Edinburgh band from 30 years ago, the Deaf Heights Cajun Aces.
3 Deaf_Heights_Cajun_Aces_3.jpg
They never made it big but if you wanted a gig where you just kept dancing, they were your men. Their album "Les Flammes d'Enfer" got rereleased a couple of years ago. Talking about hell, windfarms were now to be seen in all directions.
4 from deaf heights.jpg
Onward from Deaf Heights

The ground now became properly Moorfoot, deep heather and marsh. I was grateful there had been such a long dry period, I can't imagine what it would have been like otherwise. At the top of Windlestraw Law I was knackered and behind schedule.
5 eildon.jpg
There was a nice view of the Eildons, but. The long stretch to the B709 was tough but quite swift. Once across the road it became heartbreaking. There were deep troughs in the peat, mostly with very soggy bottoms. Messy to get into and frustrating to get back out. There were few tracks, even animal tracks. I've suspected the waterproof qualities of my Anatom boots. It was a testing day for them and they didn't come up to the mark.

6 mighty pentlands.jpg
From Blackhope Scar, I looked longingly at the dry ridge of the Pentlands. I'd only a couple of hours of daylight left and the ground wasn't improving. Then, hallelujah, 3 kilometres of windfarm with associated tracks. Two of the turbines were beginning to start up which was a bit eerie but I raced over this section onto one last boggy effort.

With 5 kilometres to go I hit a superb track.
7 sunset.jpg
There was a beautiful sunset too and fog below me. All very pretty but it got dark and misty and in the last stage I was tripping over unseen sheep. I'd no credit on my phone so I'd to ask a nice lassie on the bus from Eddleston to text Gill saying I was safe off the hill. This was very kind of her but she needn't have added "He looks a bit disturbed." to the message.
Last edited by weedavie on Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
weedavie
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Re: Windfarms (modified loathing)

Postby tolkienabouthills » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:07 pm

Some lovely pictures here. Really must explore the southern uplands more.

I don't really wish to start a debate but I don't really think the argument that windfarms don't entirely fix our energy problem therefore why have them at all is a good one. (that is the 'wind turbines aren't turning today so why do we even have them' argument.) Of course I'd never support the construction of windfarms in some of the wild areas, the proposal to build a wind farm in the monadhliath for instance was ridiculous but the fact is we have to come up with something better than burning non renewable resources, wind farms go part of the way to doing that.

Okay that's my rant over, please don't take it personally I just see a lot of animosity towards this stuff on the website and your report happened to be the one that tipped me over to saying something about it.

Again, looks a lovely walk :lol:
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Re: Windfarms (modified loathing)

Postby weedavie » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:22 pm

tolkienabouthills wrote:Of course I'd never support the construction of windfarms in some of the wild areas, the proposal to build a wind farm in the monadhliath for instance was ridiculous but the fact is we have to come up with something better than burning non renewable resources, wind farms go part of the way to doing that.:


Och, this was chiefly about the Moorfoots and how they'll treat you low down and dirty.

But I think you're wrong on three counts.

First, wind power's got a place in an energy mix, but it's a supplement. You hear Fergus Ewing going on about storage capacity and you know he means Cruachan (we all know how small that is) or the new one at Loch a' choire ghlais (and that's not built yet.) So when our current conventional capacity (and I'm happy with nuclear as conventional) disappears in 5 years time, then if the windmills stop spinning on a freezing still winter's day then we're Donald Ducked.

Second, the Monadh Liath (which I've walked extensively) isn't pretty, isn't historically interesting and is really only compulsive if you're into dotterels - as I am, but not obsessively. You could cover it in windfarms and nuclear weapon dumps without reducing its attractions significantly.

Third the Borders country is beautiful (if we exclude bits of the Moorfoots and maybe the Lammermuirs.) It has a major place in history and literature. It should be a jewel in our tourist crown. I got hacked off by walking it and seeing the windfarm mess, but just take a drive - the damage you can see from the road is horrific.

And a fourth point. It's not a lovely walk - I was trying to make it clear it's a kind of hell. Fun though, if you like that kind of thing.
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Re: Windfarms (modified loathing)

Postby malky_c » Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:29 pm

Well that's a coincidence - I'm just back from doing the western part of your walk by bus from Eddleston. Sadly the weather was more typical of November - miserable. Looked at something similar to your full traverse once, but as an overnighter :shock:

Some great photos of the hills I was least looking forward to (although they weren't quite as wet and peat haggy as I'd built them up to be)
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Re: Windfarms (modified loathing)

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:16 am

weedavie wrote:[ the Monadh Liath (which I've walked extensively) isn't pretty, isn't historically interesting and is really only compulsive if you're into dotterels - as I am, but not obsessively. You could cover it in windfarms and nuclear weapon dumps without reducing its attractions significantly.

Is this the place you describe weedavie do you recognise this?
20131110_111046 (640x480).jpg

Ok I realise it was late on a Friday night and you were joking :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Windfarms (modified loathing)

Postby weedavie » Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:24 am

Sunset tripper wrote:Ok I realise it was late on a Friday night and you were joking :clap: :clap: :clap:

Nice photo, but I think it illustrates my point - flat and featureless. You know you're in that sort of country when the guidebooks say the corries are more interesting than the hills themselves.

But you're right, I'd experienced a bit of Friday evening and shouldn't have been let near a keyboard.
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Re: Windfarms (modified loathing)

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:44 pm

Cheers weedavie and I wasn't having a go, your view is a common view of this area especially amongst hill walkers - baggers. Its understandable too because if the summit is the main reason you were there its not very exciting
weedavie wrote:Nice photo, but I think it illustrates my point - flat and featureless. You know you're in that sort of country when the guidebooks say the corries are more interesting than the hills themselves.

I guess you mean Munro or Corbett guide books. You need to look beyond the hills. For me the wildness is what makes the monadhliath. Try a 2 or 3 day adventure starting at Fort Augustus at the corrieyairack pass road (there's a bit of history if that's your thing.) Leave the road at the big bend in Glen Tarff a great route up the glen lifts you on to the Monadhliath plateau flat and featureless and wild that's what its all about. Make your way from here to the civilization of Carrbridge, Newtonmore or Kingussie (have I taken that too far :D ) where you can catch the train. You can visit some summits on the way If you wish but its not important 8)

I liked your report and agree with your point on the wind farms in the moorfoots though I have never been there.
I don't think the Moorfoots or Monadhliath are a good place for nuclear weapon dumps :shock: ......................................................... or even wind farms but if I had to choose they would go in the moorfoots :wink:
All the best :D
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