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Windfarm threat to Callanish Sleeping Beauty

Cheryl Straffon writes: You probably know of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or Sleeping Mother’ or ‘Sleeping Goddess’ mountain, as it is variously called, on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. This amazing mountain (called in Gaelic ‘na Mointeach = the Old Woman of the Moors) forms the profile of a sleeping woman when viewed from the Callanish stone circle.

Callanish Sleeping Beauty submitted by Gerald_Ponting

The Sleeping Beauty figure seen on the horizon. It was taken in winter, hence the drifts of peat-smoke from Callanish village, some time in the early 1980s. It's taken from a spot about half a mile to the ENE of the Callanish main site, but the impression would be the same from anywhere in the immediate area. From the Achmore site, another nearer hill ‘becomes involved’ making her look pregnant.

At the major southern standstill of the moon (every 18.6 years – next one due in 2006) the moon appears to rise out of Her legs, creep low along her body, silhouetting first one part and then another, hang low over her breasts, and then disappear behind a hillock, only to reappear inside the circle of stones at the foot of the tallest central one and at the head of the burial cairn. This spectacular sight is pure megalithic magic: a perfect blending of astronomy, ritual, landscape and Goddess.

Now the mountain is under threat – from a proposed wind farm, which if it goes ahead will permanently disfigure the ‘Goddess’ shape of the hills. An application has been made to the Scottish Ministers by Beinn Mhor Power Ltd of 39 Castle Street, Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 3BH to construct a 133 turbine windfarm on the top of the peaks that constitute the ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Irrespective of the value of windfarms as renewable energy, the proposed location for these wind turbines will directly affect the appearance of the Sleeping Beauty mountain and the sight of the standstill of the moon.

Objections to the siting of the turbines can be made to the Scottish Executive – but action must be taken immediately. We have only until 13th January to object. If you feel strongly about this please e-mail your objections and representations to paul.smith@scotland.gsi.gov.uk (the Consents & Emergency Planning Unit of the Scottish Executive in Glasgow) stating that you are objecting to the specific location of the wind turbines, and the adverse effect this may have on the appearance of the hills and the local economy of Lewis, which attracts thousands of visitors to Callanish and to view the Standstill.

Many thanks

With thanks to Northern Earth for the alert