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Concern over windfarm plan for isle's famous ancient site  

Archaeologists say project would damage integrity of prehistoric astrological structure

Credit:  The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 6 April 2009 ~~

Numerous prehistoric archaeological finds have been discovered around a proposed giant windfarm which the Scottish Government is said to be poised to approve.

A new publication highlights the negative impact the controversial 53-turbine Eishken windfarm would impose on the significance of the world-famous Callanish Stones complex.

Local archaeologists Margaret Curtis and her late husband Ron have extensively researched the huge Callanish complex of which the Eishken hills are a part.

Their findings, which are widely accepted by other experts, stress that Callanish is not just one stone circle but actually encompasses about 30 satellite sites in a major prehistoric astronomical observatory across the southern part of Lewis.

Their submission, entitled Callanish: Stones, Moon and Sacred Landscape, to a Scottish Government public inquiry over the £185million wind scheme has now been published.

It coincides with mounting speculation that planning permission will be announced as Enterprise Minister Jim Mather visits the Hebrides next week to discuss building windfarms and economic issues.

The Curtises calculate that many of the hills in Eishken are integral to a rare natural phenomenon which only occurs every two decades.

Instead of being linked to the sun like Stonehenge and numerous other stone circles, the Callanish landscape is now uniquely believed to be a massive astronomical observatory used to calculate the movement of the moon.

Central to the idea is a range of hills earmarked for the turbines, which resemble a woman sleeping on her back.

Last year Western Isles Council gave the go-ahead to build 13 turbines, a sub-set of a larger scheme, on Feirosbhal and Beinn Mheadhanach – two of the sites the Curtises say would harm the 5,000-year-old lunar observatory.

The size of the Eishken scheme was originally set at 133 huge machines but was slashed in a move to ease the proposal through planning and achieve speedy permission.

Building more turbines in a second phase is not ruled out.

Developer Nick Oppenheim of Beinn Mhòr Power said about 95 jobs will be created to build the scheme, but eventually only 10 staff are needed for its operation.

He will hand six sites over to a community windfarm trust established by himself, though villagers have to raise about £20million to develop their project.

One-third of the community revenues will have to be paid to a council-led Western Isles-wide development trust.

Source:  The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 6 April 2009

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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