Friday, 27 January 2006

Housing

<![CDATA[ Yesterday's Stornoway Gazette carried adverts for about 15 plots of land within Lewis and Harris which were available for building a house on. Recently, I spoke to someone who went house hunting in the island, and his experiences were an eye opener. It only reinforces my personal quote "You don't know what goes on behind closed doors". One house in Lewis had lain vacant for 14 years, after the previous occupant passed away at an advanced age. When my contact entered the property with a view to buy, he felt as if time had stood still - 70 years ago. Newspapers from the 1930s. The gentleman's hats and caps still in the place where he left them last time he touched them. Personal effects and papers, some probably of historical value, in chests and around the house. Because of the period of non-habitation, the condition of the property had deteriorated markedly, and the house would probably have to be gutted and reconstructed. Another property, on the other side of the island, had been abandoned 3 years previously. It too had suffered from neglect, but by the look of it, and according to local stories, the previous owners had been in the process of doing it up. Sadly, one of the couple died suddenly, and the other partner never came back.

Anyone who would be buying a plot of land in Lewis and Harris should be aware of the proposed windfarms on the island. Most media attention has been focused on the Barvas Moor project, which is bad enough - 234 turbines over 40 miles of moorland. The other windfarm, 133 turbines on the Eishken mountains, nearly got torpedoed by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar last summer. However, as things stand at the moment, both projects have been submitted to the Scottish Executive for approval or otherwise. Only one property on the list of 15 would not be directly affected by the turbines - at Bunabhainneadar, down the road from Ardhasaig in North Harris. The Eishken windfarm overlooks glorious Loch Seaforth, from Kinloch Seaforth to Aline, Scaladale, Maraig, Rhenigadale, Molinginish (...), Scalpay as well as Lemreway and Orinsay in South Lochs.
View down Loch Seaforth from Aline
I have written about this before on here, but I cannot imagine why some of the most glorious scenery stands to be desecrated by a windfarm. You may argue that you can't live off the view, but in actual fact, scenery is a contributary factor for the tourism industry in these islands.
Seaforth Head, 3
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