1 EAGLETON NOTES: The Old and The New

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Old and The New

Last week I came across the Pentland Road from Achmore to Stornoway on Lewis. This was a road that I first travelled across forty years ago when the sheilings were still in use. They were situated out on the common pasture or grazings and the women of the household would move there in the summer with the sheep and cattle and their spinning wheels. They were often near the family's peat banks as well. I didn't actually realise what they were and as many were occupied I came to the conclusion that there was some very extreme poverty on Lewis if these were houses. Of course I was very quickly educated because by the 1970s these were mainly used (and a few still are) for holidays.

Now the moors are increasingly being littered with wind turbines and when driving across the moors sometimes the juxtaposition of the old and the new becomes very apparent.





This last picture gives one an idea of just how massive these structures are. The trees near the base of the crane and turbine are reasonably mature.


25 comments:

  1. I had just been thinking that you had been quiet on the blogging front since returning home. Nice to see a post from you. Great pics GB.

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    1. Carol the friend I was staying with in Glasgow came back to Lewis with me and it's been a pretty busy time and I've hardly visited Blogland (although I did get your email about your new blog). I hope to remedy that over the next few weeks although the way things have panned out so far this year I am reminded of the saying that if you want to amuse a god then tell him your plans.

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    2. How wonderful for you ~ enjoy GB

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  2. These wind turbines are really awful things.

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    1. Adrian you views are shared by many.

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  3. That last photo is really impressive!

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    1. CJ they are exceptionally impressive when you see them compared to other things and not just standing in the landscape.

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  4. How very sad, when natural beauty is defiled in this way. I feel like that about HS2, and hope more than I can say that that particular plan will founder, and soon.

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    1. Unfortunately Frances almost everything we humans do defiles natural beauty in one way or another; some just more or in a different way to others.

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  5. Until now, I'd not known about sheilings. Therefore, thank you for giving me the opportunity (once again!) to learn something new, Graham!
    As for the wind turbines... hmm, I guess I am the only one here who does not think they are ugly or defiling the landscape. What I do find ugly are coal-fed power plants and other such structures, polluting the air and occupying much, much more space in the landscape than a few windmills. There is one on a hill close to where I usually work 3 out of 5 days a week; I actually like looking at it.

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    1. I agree with you about the ugliness of huge power plants Meike. And you are not alone in accepting wind turbines. There are now many on the Island and some are an eyesore and they do interfere with the beauty of the desolation. The same points were made about the fish farms and many other developments (including forestry sometimes) and the same could certainly be said about some of the huge houses being built. Wind turbines per se are beautiful and graceful things to my eyes although where they are put can also be a problem to my eyes. I recall seeing my first one on top of a hill in Orkney many years ago. It was one of the Island's big tourist attractions at the time. I could go on. I might in a separate post.

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  6. Many questions still surround these wind turbines - not least their abrupt visual impact upon attractive countryside. Frau Meike is of course entitled to her opinion.

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    1. I agree YP and I am not entirely convinced by the economic case being made for them. However I don't feel that they are always such a blight on the landscape as some people do.

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  7. In mid/north Sweden there was/is an equivalent of the shielings, called fäbod. If you go to the English Wiki article about shielings you can click on the corresponding Swedish article in the sidebar and you'll see a picture of one. Here the buildings were/are wooden. By the way, I did not know you had any trees on Lewis except a few in the castle grounds in Stornoway! ;) If those in your picture are really fullgrown ones, the wow, that wind turbine IS huge.

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    1. Your fäbod looks much grander than the sheilings here Monica. There are lots of trees on Lewis and Harris which have been planted during the last 30 or so years for forestry.

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  8. Good to see you back in Blogdom. I had to follow your link to find out what sheilings are. They look just right in their landscape. I don't mind the sight of the wind turbines, in fact I rather like them. I find them much less visually offensive than power lines or, as Librarian said, those ugly power plants.

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    1. Thanks Pauline. Hopefully I'll catch up properly over the next few days. Our views on wind turbines coincide too Pauline.

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  9. GB,
    The images of the turbines behind the sheilings make my heart ache. Practical they may be, but they are an absolute desecration of the landscape that has been relatively unspoiled since time began. McGregor

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    1. Many would agree with you McGregor but then I understand that Lewis was once covered by trees and these have gone aeons ago and sheep made it impossible for nearly a century for virtually anything to grow. Many would say that it's a question of whether the land is for people to live in and utilise or live elsewhere from (in cities) and come and look at.

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  10. You've captured some lovely images here, GB! Like Pauline, I rather like the wind turbines and much prefer them to power lines. I think the contrast between old and new tells a great story.

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    1. Thank you again Liz. I certainly don't like power lines but, like many, I realise we need them (disregarding the cable argument) to feed our own desire for reliable and constant electricity.

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  11. The photos are lovely, GB. I know the wind turbines are kind of a jolt to the system, but at least they don't pollute the water system. Love, DeeDee

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    1. They can be intrusive DeeDee but in all honesty I think people very quickly get used to them and they do have a beauty and elegance of sorts.

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  12. Is this what we call progress?
    Oh for the quietude of staying a while in one of those sheilings...but instead the constant whirring of the wind turbines could drive one crazy.
    I know the turbines are serving a good purpose but when I think of the beauty of the land harshly interrupted with these monstrosities......I feel quite sad.

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    1. I'm inclined to think Virginia that this is possibly a better alternative to the once-proposed peat-fired power station on the moors. As I said in my previous response many people don't find them all that offensive.

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