Television viewers on Bute were left on tenterhooks on Sunday morning when the local transmitters at Toward and Ballochgoy crashed off the air – just a few hours before the World Cup final.
Fortunately, pictures were restored in mid-afternoon, but after analogue viewers on the island saw nothing but snow on their screens for what seemed like the umpteenth time of late, we contacted transmission operator Arqiva to find out what had caused Rothesay’s TV screens to black out this time.
Spokesman Bruce Randall told us that a lightning strike had hit a pole in West Kilbride, knocking out the electricity supply to consumers in the West Kilbride area and to Knockewart which, since the construction of the West Kilbride wind farm, forms a vital link in the chain of provision of TV signals to the Clyde coast from the main transmitter at Darvel in the Irvine Valley.
Prior to the erection of the wind turbines above West Kilbride – which were recently visited by a group from Rothesay, studying them in relation to the controversial proposal for Black Craig – West Kilbride received a direct line of sight signal from Darvel, which was then transmitted to Toward and on to Rothesay.
As West Kilbride’s giant turbines would have blocked the signal from Darvel, a bypass link was built at Knockewart so that the signal from Darvel to West Kilbride now travels in a dog-leg.
Mr Randall told us: “Scottish Power estimated that electricity supply would be restored at 5pm on Sunday afternoon but supply was actually restored at 4.20pm.”
However,as we reported in June, Knockewart has been experiencing problems leading to the blacking out of TV screens in Rothesay over a number of weeks.
This latest incident suggests that it, rather than West Kilbride itself, is the weak link in the TV supply chain – and it only exists because of a wind farm!
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