On Thursday I witnessed every kind of weather imaginable… snow, sleet, rain, sunshine and incredibly gusty wind… all within a couple of hours. I’d gone over to deepest darkest Calderdale to see the spot where it is proposed to plant five more wind turbines, and also to make notes for a future walk to appear in the magazine.
Calderdale’s an extremely interesting place often overlooked by travellers and tourists. From my home in Yorkshire Ribblesdale I headed over to Hebden Bridge via Burnley through the blizzards and headed down that steep-sided gorge through Todmorden and Cornholme. Communities here are half Yorkshire, half Lancastrian in nature – such a schizophrenic existence can’t be good for you, nor can living in a place where houses and industry cling so precariously to the towering hillsides. Hebden Bridge feels more reassuring… bobble-hatted, rucsacked types flit confidently across the busy main road, well-healed middle classed ladies exit the delicatessen with wicker baskets full of goodies, and bearded long-haired 1970s throwbacks meander aimlessly around.
Parking takes the biggest effort so I abandon meandering aimlessly around the town by continuing on to Cragg Vale and the country’s longest continuous officially steep road which heads endlessly over to Rochdale. Life is bleak up here and today so is the weather. Not a day for my venture to the famous Stoodley Pike via one of the nearby reservoirs but I’ll be back.
This week I’ve visited two sites where it is proposed to build wind turbines – one above Todmorden high on the Pennines on the Lancashire border and the other near Skipton. Strangely, both have been proposed by German companies. Both are in areas I would call stunning – for different reasons… one for its wilderness value, the other for its green, attractive Yorkshireness – and I couldn’t help thinking that the main reasons for the proposed ventures was to earn a nice fat profit for the German firms. Maybe rather too cynical of me but anyway I definitely felt there were more appropriate places for the structures to be built… like out at sea or on top of Manchester’s Trafford Centre shopping mall.
Ironically, the turbines couldn’t possibly have worked in the gales that were blowing on the days I visited.