Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Carmichael Watson Project, and an update on Tigh nam Bodach

I've taken so long to write this one that this is probably redundant by now, but just in case, here's a heads up:

The Carmichael Watson Project is now live

This is an archive and catalogue of Alexander Carmichael's work and notes during his life and research in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. As yet, not every entry is accompanied by scans of his original work, but you can still view quite a lot. There's an article here at the Beeb.

In other news, a report from Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba (Scottish National Heritage) has been added to the planning page for the Glen Lyon hydro scheme. The scheme that threatens Gleann Cailliche and Tigh nam Bodach. There are some concerns raised in the report regarding the impact on both Tigh nam Bodach and the surrounding area that so far seem to be the most encouraging cautionary signs against the scheme - not least that they conclude that: "We consider that the cumulative landscape and visual impacts of the four projects in combination could be significant and adverse." That includes not just the issue of the pylons, but the plans for widening access roads as well.

For Tigh nam Bodach itself, they say:
"The most westerly scheme – Allt Cailliche - is proposed in the most sensitive side glen where there are no human artefacts apart from the historic Tigh nam Bodach. The introduction of the proposed intake, powerhouse, upgraded tracks and pipeline excavations could have a significant adverse impact."
Other points raised include not just the potential for damage to Tigh nam Bodach and the sensitive/rare wetland habitats that will have to be disturbed, but also the potential disruption to rare birds that are breeding in the area, including merlins and golden eagles. The report points out that only two, instead of three of the necessary surveys have been undertaken in examining the potential impact that any works carried out might have on breeding pairs in the area, and it seems likely that the development will have to be limited in when it can undertake the most disruptive elements of the project in order to prevent scaring the birds off.

You can download the pdf by clicking here if you want to take a look yourself. All in all, it paints a worrying picture in terms of the potential damage the scheme could inflict on the area if it gets the go ahead, and I'm really glad that - unlike some of the other authorities and organisations who've submitted comments - Scottish National Heritage have really looked into the proposals from all angles and taken the time to make such a detailed reply.