Monday, 23 July 2007

South Lochs

Explored the district of South Lochs yesterday afternoon. I know it quite well, having stayed in the area for 3 months in the winter of 2004/5. Managed to see all the villages there, and re-acquaint myself with its scenic beauty.

South Lochs is also the district which will be directly affected by a windfarm development by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), who intend to erect 500 ft turbines on the moors there. In my opinion that would destroy the visual and tourist amenity of the area. The hills there are not very high, I think the highest ones reach below 600 ft. Below image shows the central area where turbines are planned to be.

Glen Ouirn, west of Gravir

Garyvard, seen from Caversta

Currently, South Lochs' development is being stymied by non-cooperation from the sitting landlord. He is also frustrating efforts by the local community to mount a buy-out bid. The Scottish Land Courts are sitting in judgment on the instrument of interposed leases, which allow the landowner to scatter his land amongst a number of companies - which he himself has set up.

I am a strong supporter of community buy-out, and have been for more than a decade. I am also a strong opponent of the major windfarm developments in Lewis. South Lochs is not just going to be affected by the 57 turbines within the boundaries of the Pairc Estate, but will also have the turbines in the neighbouring Eishken Estate frowning over it.

South Lochs could do worse than exploit its tourism potential a lot further, rather than destroying it with vast turbine towers

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