Friday, 28 June 2013

Liam Aitchison

The two men convicted of the murder of this 16-year old in November 2011 have been sentenced to life in prison, with at least 18 years before they can apply for parole. Justice has been done. I cannot comment further.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Pentland Road windfarm (2)

This morning’s news brought a jaw-dropping clanger. The Pentland Road windfarm is not able to operate at the moment, because the local electricity grid is not able to handle its output. Excuse me? When the windfarm was designed and put up for planning permission, wasn’t the local grid infrastructure taken into account? Or more to the point, the fact that it wouldn’t be able to accommodate the output from this windfarm? So why wasn’t the grid upgraded? Or were we waiting for the interconnector by any chance?
The blame game, between developers, power company and local council, is in full swing.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Pentland Road windfarm

Last Saturday, I went for a stroll out to the Pentland Road windfarm. From the centre of Stornoway, it is about 5½ miles (9 km). From the Castle Grounds, it is possible to follow the road to the dump - but during weekdays, this is very busy with refuse trucks. From the gate of the dump, the distance is a little less than 3 miles. The track is not tarmacked, but is easily followed - stout footwear is advisable due to a lot of loose stones.
A shorter walk can be achieved from the junction on the Pentland Road, where the branch to Achmore forks off. A track angles off from the junction, and after a mile, the track to the windfarm is reached.

The windfarm is located at an altitude of 600 feet above sealevel, and is position on the slopes of Meannan, the second line of hills to the south of the Barvas Hills. I remember the area from a walk in 2005, and could clearly see the lochans from the track.
I am grimly pleased that the windfarm will in all likelihood remain as it is at present - idle. Although the track is a convenient way of gaining the interior of the island, I am saddened that the wilderness aspect has been violated.
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Monday, 3 June 2013


Two men have been found guilty of the murder of Liam Aitchison in November 2011. Liam, originally from South Uist, was 16 at the time. His battered body was found in a derelict building in Steinish a week after he first went missing. The facts of the case have been widely circulated in the news media. There are two comments I would like to make.
The guilty verdict against the two 22-year olds will not bring Liam back to life. It serves to show that justice is seen to be done, and will hopefully bring a measure of closure to Liam’s family and friends.

I did not know this young man personally, but (as an observer) I am acutely aware of the impact that this case has had in these islands. Postings on local social media resonate with intense relief and satisfaction. As the police have stated, the Western Isles are a safe place to live and visit.

Sentence will be passed at Edinburgh High Court on 28 June.