Clougha Pike

(Or Unexpected Bonus 2)

Out on my own for a post-work walk.

Across the peat and gritstone moorland of Clougha Pike on the edge of the Forest of Bowland. Overhead an everchanging sky. Underfoot springy heather and bilberry. (I shall have to return when they are purple with flower and loaded with berries respectively.)

The views over the Bay, and of the sinuous curves of the Lune where magnificent. So where the views of the Lakeland fells.

Nearby on Caton Moor the wind turbines where stately in their slow rotation.

I have colleagues who were prominent in the successful campaign to prevent an extension of this wind farm, but if I’m honest, I like them. I know that many people feel that they are a blot on the landscape, but I think that it’s important to remember that our landscape has been very much shaped by man. The moors themselves only look this way because they are managed for grouse. I crossed several areas today where the heather had been burned, or where the regeneration process had begun and the tough old heather had been superceded by short tender new plants. The rattle of grouse calls was my constant companion on this walk. At one point I had three of them clacking at each other with me stuck in the middle. I was surprised by the vivid scarlet of their combs. I also often heard the weird burbling call of curlews. At one point whilst I was concentrating on where I was putting my feet a soft bass ronk ronk made me look up to catch the eye of a raven. He was following the edge, as I was, but his ascent was enviably effortless and he soon disappeared over the summit. A shiny black millipede narrowly avoided being crushed under one of my clodhoppers. Watching it crawl across the peat was fascinating. It’s tiny legs came together in a series of triangles which then seemed to flow along its length.

Ingleborough’s dark shape is recognisable from any direction. I don’t envy the Brigantes in their hill-fort on the top.

I had some sandwiches in my rucksack for my tea and precious little else. Not for example, a hat and gloves, which would have been welcome as I ate the sandwiches sat amongst the gritstone boulders slightly below the trig point.

On my way down, I passed this squat tower. It evidently once had a door in it, but that has been ‘bricked-up’. I have no idea of its purpose, but the area around it is a jumble of rocks, half-built walls and shelters. I suspect that some form of quarrying or mining has been carried out here.

Finally – is this mackerel sky?

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Clougha Pike

8 thoughts on “Clougha Pike

  1. Not sure I share your enthusiasm about wind farms! In Spain so many hill horizons are blighted with them. From the top of Scottish Cairn Gorm you can see them encroaching to the north. And parts of the Hebrides are now being threatened with them. Personally speaking I find them ugly and unaesthetic – though of course I’m aware there are many worse technologies. But I do know that many people seem to like them aesthetically – which is why the wind farm lobby has such a wind behind it – government support, very little resistance from the public. And this worries me. It’s becoming a carte blanche. They do slice to bits lots of birds..!

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    If you look very carefully at the last photo you can just pick out two squat black boxes on the coastline. It’s the nuclear reactor at Heysham.
    The railway line that runs through the village goes around the Cumbrian coast to Carlisle, passing through Sellafield. I’ve always assumed that trains pass this way carrying spent uranium for reprocessing.
    I’m very clear on what I’d rather have on my doorstep.

    I can’t imagine that the Caton Moor windmills slice many birds up. They only spin very slowly. (But I stand ready to be corrected!). I can see how this would be a problem with the smaller turbines which whizz round at quite a lick.

    Or perhaps we should be building more coal-fired plants as I recently heard advocated?
    Surely windmills can always be taken down again if a better technology is found, without creating permanent toxic damage in our atmosphere, seas or countryside?

  3. Hello Mark
    Great walk again.
    I have yet to see or here the curlews this year. Monday I saw 3 House Martins flying around Ashton Under Lyne, whilst Leaky Roof’ fixed the landrover… I normally see these around the 23/25 of April.

    I think the clouds are Mackeral… I followed the link to your frinds blog and that was of great interest.. I have much to learn about clouds but I try.

    As for Windfarms… I will not comment as what some want others will not. That leads to debates and I don’t like them.. ;o)

  4. Well, more coal-fired is certainly not the answer because of the carbon emissions, and as for nuclear I spent decades protesting against this (tho’ nuclear may need re-examining when you’re getting people of the calibre of James Lovelock doing a volte-face and turning pro-nuclear?).

    There is no doubt in my mind that renewables plus energy-saving is the way to go – it’s almost a no-brainer – or certainly a significant part of the energy supply mix.

  5. Sorry – I obviously hit the wrong key and it published before I had finished..!

    To continue… what I’m concerned about is the effect on our landscape of wind farms – or, in the case of the mega-proposal on the Isle of Lewis, wind factories. Wind turbines are going to increas a thousand-fold over the coming years. My worry is that our precious and beautiful landscapes will be blighted.

    The Lewis proposal is a good illustrative example. Centuries old peat bogs of international importance are being threatened – also the nesting sites of many waders, some rare and protected. The planned hundreds of turbines will need an infrastructure of pylons, overhead power lines, roads and substations.

    Of course landowners and multinationals are cashing in on this subsidized wave of enthusiasm for wind power. I have nothing against wind power – I just don’t want to see our landscape and heritage abused because of a lack of checks and balances. Wind power, yes, but on a smaller scale, on brownfield sites etc. Also more sea-based wind and tidal power generation!

    Check out Robert Macfarlane’s piece about this in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/feb/26/greenpolitics.renewableenergy
    and the resulting correspondance at:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2005/mar/01/guardianletters1

    Mmmm… might do a blogpost on this subject soon..!

  6. beatingthebounds says:

    It’s certainly a thorny issue. The Lewis proposal sounds alarming. James Lovelock’s opinions are often quite surprising, he is remarkably unsentimental about the extinction of individual species. As is often the case, the main thing that I know is that I don’t know the answers. We need a modern Alexander to cut the Gordian Knot.
    Thanks for the links to Robert Macfarlane’s articles. He wrote two very interesting pieces about British nature writing in the Guardian Review. (If I could work out how to put a link here I would). By coincidence, I finally got his book ‘Wild Places’ from the library today having had it ordered for weeks (there was quite a queue which is heartening).

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