among the great windcatchers

man on earth

Leonardo da Vinci and Jules Verne could be proud. 
Such bladed machines face the sky…

In our pursuit to tame the very own planet we inhabit, we often tend to forget it is our only homeworld.  Our constant quench for consumption of energy can drive both producers & consumers to blindness… Sustainable is an adjective I have always heard when it defines clean energy. Wind mills, turbines or windcatchers, I do believe in will power.

 once upon a hill

Saturday afternoon took me to the top of a hill I always looked from the distance. As part of Shetland guide training, I met the Burradale ladies and stepped inside a mecano.

Techno-details at: Burradale ladies

It felt more like Techno-Lego on a large scale, although I’m told blades and nacelles have grown in size since those were built…We all met at Mina’s foot. Standing under the rotative blades took me back to Don Quixote... But as I looked above, I imagined listening to the baffles of monsieur Verne’s Nautilus

inside the belly of the beast

We walked up to Betsy. Our host, David Thomson, explained us this elderly lady happened to be the most productive of them all… So we gathered and watched her three blades fall inert. To my poet’s heart, she reminded me for a second of Lokkaminnie’s oo, this silver-haired bog cotton plant that belongs to the peatlands… Soon we were invited to step inside her belly. Three high metallic steps would make us step just like inside a submarine. Amazing thought! Her tubular body stands up to 45 metres… To me her blades just look like some gigantic propeller. That ladder looked everlasting. Those five turbines have blended well in our landscape and have become our Famous Five! But as we stepped again outside, we faced bullrush and Atlantic with breathtaking views on Foula.

For a moment, we wandered around the hilltop, and felt at one with an island so generous to its dwellers. There is no doubt deep in my heart about the need to benefit from the harnessing of the wind and have faith in our windcatchers. Sucking up oil, gas alone, or for that matter fossil fuels, is like raping our Mother Earth…. Taming the sun, wind and the tides might help us all live just longer. 
 There is an on-going debate about a much bigger windfarm project on the island. Education diminishes fears. Honesty generates respect. I am a lover of our world, and when I hear nearby nesting birds be considered as a nuisance by a windfarm developer, I also frown at the madness of few fat cats who only see financial gains in their lifetime… My question is: Can we accept a compromise that satisfies us in our world? Today, I heard that storing produced energy costs mountains of money… So does budgeting for conflicts none of us wants to be part of. If politicians, arm dealers and financiers were sent to the frontline, there would be fewer landmines in the world or dirty deals under tables…  After all, time has proven man can be both so destructive and ingenius. Sensible decision making is crucial.


Filed under 60N, atlantic, colours, earth, geopoetics, home, life, shetland, wind, world, writing

2 responses to “among the great windcatchers

  1. A thoughtful piece. I love wind turbines – they look so graceful. But some people seem to see them as a 'magic bullet' and some people seem to do the 'new technology, same old thinking' thing which isn't going to help. Thanks for posting

  2. Thank you, Elizabeth.I too find them graceful to an extend 🙂 those 5 ladies at Burradale, together with all those (12m high) mini ones erected in selected places seem to ne rather well accepted, as folk want theirs. However, they appear to be dwarves compared to a much bigger project. Their size and numbers still scare part of the community. As for the Burradale ladies, time will tell.

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