June 3rd 2011

Another trip round the site, partly by car this time.

Photographs and three short videos, including blades on lorries and construction vehicle.

Turbine from the road
My friend and neighbour was making a trip to Ilfracombe, and asked if I wanted a lift, so I went with her.  We decided to take the minor road rather than the main road in case we were caught behind the turbine blade convoys, due to pass through Barnstaple and Braunton.  This was our first sight of a turbine, somewhere near the turn off to Marwood I think.
View looking back
We stopped on some higher ground so that I could take some photographs looking back.  The turbines were very bright, and startling, in the sunshine.  It is difficult to photograph them in a way that shows how big they are and how much - to the naked eyes - they dominate the landscape. I am not a skilled photographer. On a high resolution full size version of this photograph it would be more apparent of course. We were struck by the way they dominated the view across to the sea, changing it permanently.  Even now, before they are moving, your eyes is drawn to them before anything else

towards sea
Here is a close up, looking across to the cliffs of Hartland beyond. I think this is Turbine No 6 that we walked past when we stopped  on our way back. If I'm right, you can see Beara Cross below it (a sandy colour from the construction upheaval) and below to the right is the site of Turbine 10, not yet up - you can just see the nacelle and blades.
Looking at Baggy Point
Looking across towards Baggy Point and Putsborough. This  - I think - is probably Turbine 12, by Burland Road, the ancient drovers lane that crosses these hills.  There are houses close to these turbines but they are not visible in these photos because the small hamlets in which they are situated are often tucked away in shallow coombes just below the ridges on which the turbines are built.

This photograph was taken from a gate at the side of the road not far from Burland Cross. I think it was either Turbine 17 or 14.

So much for avoiding the convoy - we came upon it as we reached the main road between Mullacott Cross and Berry Down Cross. We were stopped and told to park, as was all the other traffic.

Here you can see the blades turning. High up on the downs, we could see Exmoor and the cliffs towards Lynton. Wales too was visible and I thought of the people there, fighting hundreds and hundreds of turbines. You may glimpse the scenery in the distance, through the gap below the blades. My friend asked another driver what he thought about them. He shared our opinion.

Coming back
Coming back, about half an hour or an hour later. Looking towards a turbine (there were several more in sight  not visible in this photograph). You can see the shadow, which will be a moving one when they are moving.  We drove on, and turned at Gypsy Corner, parking about half a mile from Beara Cross and walking from there.

A very short video, of the road in the valley, one of the shallow "coombes" that I described earlier.  The Knowlwater river starts up here, and we looked down onto it a moment later. It was peaceful, nothing but bird song and sheep bleating.

Near Patsford
Once we came out of the trees, we soon saw a turbine. The Inspector said in his report something like "because the trees look like bushes from a distance, the scale of the turbines won't be so obvious". I will find the exact words later.
Walking on past Beara Cross we came to this "cross roads". It was quieter than on some previous visits but a young man stood on his own, as a solitary guard we presumed. 

Turbine 6
We walked past the site of Turbine 6. Looking back we could see the turbines lining Burland Road, very bright and glaring in the sunlight (again you can see all five turbines very clearly in the high resolution photograph that I have on record)

Above Beara
We walked on as far as the site of the turbine that is above some of the houses in the hamlet of Beara.  Another small village, Halsinger, is down to the right of this turbine.
Finally, on the way back, we passed the young man again, waiting by the crossing. We chatted to him for a moment, and noticing his accent, my friend asked where he came from. He said Rumania.
I had heard from a local that many - or most - of the Construction workers are from Rumania.

Regarding Green jobs, it is worth quoting this article, which mentions a study showing that for every Green job created, more jobs are lost::
Here is another: