We see little more than anecdotal evidence of the impact of windfarms on the tourist industry so I make no apology for selectively quoting from am article in the Inverness Courier by Alan Hendry in their Active Outdoors section.
I was aware the route would be boggy in places – it was winter after all- but this was bordering on the inaccessible.
I’d cycled down the coast from Wick and turned off the A99 onto the minor road leading to the Hill o’ Many Stanes. From here the road gives way to a rough track Camster cycle trail—–emerging just south of the Camster Cairns.
I came to a gate where signs were posted explaining that tree felling and forest track upgrading works relating to the Burn of Whilk Wind Farm were taking place.
If this is a core path. I thought to myself as I surveyed the morass of rutted tyre tracks and pools of mud stretching into the middle distance, I’d like to see what a non core path looks like.
I soon found myself in a churned up landscape of forestry operations and wind farm excavations. Instead of a single track there was a confusing network of access tracks. It would have made a convincing set for a war movie, shredded woodland, trenches slicing through the dark earth (peat?), heavy machinery left unattended here and there and big craters filled with watery brown gunge.
Of course you can’t come here – another Historic Scotland site – without venturing into at least one of the two 5000 year old cairns, Camster Round and Camster Long…. for thousands of years these twin monuments were the dominant man made features for many miles around. Not any more . Just up the road the Camster Wind Farm towers over the moorland and indeed some of the turbine blades can be seen from the boardwalk between the Cairns.
It may not be the most sensitively sited renewable energy scheme. (An under statement if ever I heard one)
Well I can only hope that Alan’s name sake Drew Hendry, leader of The Highland Council and candidate for the Westminster elections, reads this and realises how arrogant and destructive this policy of his is to carpet the Highlands with it’s history and fantastic scenery, to degrade the carbon soaks of peat beds and to compromise our historical attractions for an intermittent expensive, carbon creating phallic symbol of SNP ambition and perhaps, when Fergus Ewing travels this way, he may think about the destruction wrought in a vanity project for a former first minister.