Diary

Highly Quixotic

02 August 2006 | Diary

My version of a trip to Disneyland is probably a trip to a wind farm. I’m sure you can tell this from the photograph on the left in which I am standing at the foot of one of the turbines grinning like an unusually hairy cancer kid on space mountain. I am special.

Constantly denied the opportunity of getting a decent photograph of the ones I pass semi-regularly on the M6, I vowed to make a deliberate trip to a wind farm. I had been planning to visit the one at Dun Law after being kindly pointed in the right direction by but as chance would have it a friend and I passed an entirely different one this week on the road to Ardrossan. We parked the car, hopped a few gates and made a longer-than-anticipated dirtpath trek up to the turbines.

Anyone who has up close to a wind turbine usually makes the same report: that they are overwhelmingly huge. My reaction to this has always been that my imagination and canny sense of scale would allow me to have a good idea of how big they must be and I would surely be underwhelmed by the predictable size once I got there. I was wrong of course. They are fucking massive.

Pretty soon the horizontal rain kicked up and we got very wet indeed. Oh yes. Also, we discovered that wind turbines have the amazing ability not only to collect wind but to simultaneously generate it. When in the wake of a turbine it is very bloody windy indeed. Am I the only one to consider the manufacturing of smaller turbines to position behind a regular turbine in order to collect the wind coming off it? And then you could have a smaller one behind that and so on.

The sound of the turbines is also incredible. “Do they hum?” my mum asked when I called her later. They don’t. The main sound you notice is the noise of the blades slicing though the air. Occasionally you also hear a metal squeak comparable to the cry of that massive phone-eating dinosaur on Jurassic Park 3: the sound of the heads rotating into the wind.

Each one has a door at the bottom for maintenance guys to get inside. I wonder if inside there is a spiral staircase or just a ladder going up the side.

Anyway, I managed to fulfill my childish ambition and get a few good photographs, some of which can be viewed here.



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