Malcolm remembers his first, going on three decades back. It was on Orkney. On its own it was impressive.

Then he met the massed ranks in his first sight of a wind-farm. That was beside the InterState, I10, heading across the desert, eastwards out of California.

Since then, they haver ceased to be remarkable, have become a commonplace.

Except here’s something clipped from a spectacular and disquieting image on the BBC website. It’s captioned:

Stuart McMahon sent in this stunning image of a turbine at Ardrossan Windfarm bursting into flames during severe weather

Let us remember that this patch of Ayrshire is growing wind-turbines like mushrooms: the Clyde Windfarm is the biggest of the lot. It is all part of the SNP government’s attempt to make Scotland a net-exporter of energy.


Once upon a time — until the mid-1970s, as Malcolm recalls — Burns and Laird ferries plied between Ardrossan and Belfast. Like all those crossings of the North Channel, you haven’t lived  or, depending on the state of your stomach, wished to die, until you’ve done one in a Force Ten (or worse). Coming out of Loch Ryan with the Princess Maud (an evil little tub at the best of times) doing winter-relief, and south-west into the teeth of a full gale: that was always the moment of truth. There are certain places not to be, especially after an Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic games. The booze flows, guts heave and fists fly.

Ardrossan is now a ferry port only to the Isle of Arran (which in itself used to have a certain inebriated reputation).

Flaming Nora!

All of that can be hot stuff, but nowhere near as fiery as that turbine.

Oh, and consider the Gaelic version: Àird Rosain — “the heights of the little headland”, which is why the wind-turbines are — or were —there.



Filed under Belfast, economy, History, Scotland, Scottish Parliament

2 responses to “Windy

  1. Doubting Thomas

    Asa matter of interest, last night, the wind speed indicator at the turbine at Hatston, just outby Kirkwall, recorded a speed of 138mph and as I looked out this morning, the thing was still turning, Should your nostalgia for storm toss’d ferries be unassuaged, there are a couple of stunning facebook pages for ferries here in Orkney – one the Hamnavoe setting out south from Scapa Flow; the other the Varagen off Eday.

  2. Mervyn Rossini

    I now live in Northen France not far from the coastal town of St. Valery en Caux. I read an account, on the internet, of the capture of this town by Field Marshall Rommel from the British and French troops who were escaping from the 2nd battle of the Somme to the North East. This was in June 1940 and many soldiers escaped from St. Valery along the cliffs to the east to the next village Veule les Rose. Thousands were assembled on the beach and were ferried in life boats to ships further out. This particular soldier climbed aboard the “Princess Maude” and made it back to England. That Ferry had an exciting career. The Germans were firing on the ships which had to leave and several thousand British troups were captured on the beach of Veule les Rose. These two towns were badly damaged and all the buildings along the seafront and further inland were destroyed. Many were killed including French civilians. It is a fitting monument that many of the concrete bunkers set into the cliffs by the Germans, as part of the Atlantic Wall, have now fallen onto the beach below as a result of cliff erosion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s