Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Follow up on Tigh nam Bodach

Update: At the present time, the planning application has been withdrawn. Please see this post here, and this one as well for more information.

With an afternoon to myself and my continuing orders to 'be active, but not too active' while I take a cocktail of medication that makes me want to do nothing more than curl up in the foetal position (if only I could), I've taken the opportunity to do some research into the proposed hydro-electric scheme in Glen Lyon. I ended up deciding that instead of moaning about it and being morally outraged here on my blog, I should write a letter of objection instead. So I did. Or rather, I emailed it.

My objections included:
  • Gleann Cailliche is one of the few undisturbed areas left in Scotland, and as such the proposals wholly inappropriate
  • The proposed pipeline will run through otherwise intact blanket bog habitats, which are rare and said to be of 'international ecological significance' (page 4). As such, I believe the ecological impact on an area of 'high conservation value' to be unacceptable, should the proposals be given the go-ahead
  • Tigh nam Bodach is a unique site and the traditions associated with it are an important part of the local character as well as being a part of Scotland's cultural heritage. The peaceful and undisturbed location of the glen is an integral part of what makes the place so unique and special; such an intrusive development will compromise the site and the traditions, and potentially damage it
  • Given the fact that there will be pylons, poles, cables, weirs, powerstations, and so on, built as part of the scheme in an otherwise relatively untouched glen, the visual impact on the area will be significant, insensitive and intrusive 
For anyone particularly interested, you can look up the proposals yourself here, by entering the relevant reference code - 11/00061 - which will take you through to the details. So far two letters of objection are listed, including one from the Killin Heritage Society, who look after Tigh nam Bodach, but I've heard that others have sent in comments as well.

Who knows what will happen, but I'm hoping for the best...

    A tale of a different kind

    I thought I'd post this tale, which I found in Grant Stewart's Myth, Tradition and Story from Western Argyll, because it has some interesting similarities with MacKenzie's tale The Coming of Angus and Bride, and it's that time of year where it's still relevant. I don't know about where you are, but the Cailleach's putting up a pretty good struggle round here at the moment.

    Grant Stewart attributes the story to a Saxon-Hungarian woman named Malvina (whose name, she points out, will be "familiar to readers of Ossianic poems"), who she met in Romania:

    There was once a very great witch, who was head over other eight witches. She had a daughter-in-law, to whom she was very unkind. She was so hard upon her that she made her life miserable. One day she handed her son's young wife a fleece of a brown sheep, bidding her go wash it white before bringing it back to her. The daughter-in-law obeyed. She took it to a brook and washed it till she was weary, weeping as she did so because her work was all in vain. Old Winter came that way, and asked her why she wept. She told him of her mother-in-law's command. "Give it to me," said Winter, and taking the brown fleece from her he washed it white. Giving the fleece back with one hand, he held out in the other a bunch of 'vioréle' (blue flowers resembling our wild hyacinth, but without scent. They are the frst to bloom in Transylvania, when the snows begin to melt). "Take this to your mother-in-law," said Winter. "If she asks any question, hold up these flowers and say, 'The flowers are out on the mountain.' "

    The young wife returned home, handed the white fleece to her mother-in-law, and held up the buds, saying, "The flowers are out on the mountain." The old witch was enraged. She callled the other eight, and mounted on their goats, they rode off to the mountain. Borrowing three days from February, they began a fierce contest against all growth. Snow and hail, wind and rain were summoned to do battle, but the warm sun shone out, the south wind breathed, and Spring triumphed. The nine witches were turned into stone, and "there they sit," said Malvina, "on their goats, on the top of the mountain of Sílash in Temesvar; and on the anniversary of their defeat the fountains in their heads overflow, and their faces become blurred with weeping. My mother," added Malvina, "took me there to see them when I was a child of twelve."
     Grant Stewart, Myth, Tradition and Story from Western Argyll, 1925.