The previous trip to Crook Hill, at sundown on Sunday night, offered a fleeting glimpse of the first turbine pillar to be erected. A week later, a week in which empires have risen and fallen (well, the Conservatives won a totally unexpected majority in the General Election and Labour were unceremoniously booted somewhere painful), the turbine has been successfully adorned with its three sinister-looking blades.
There's no doubting the spectacle of the huge trucks delivering the turbines. It is a remarkable thing to see up close. Unfortunately, it's easy to get carried away with the razzmatazz of the carnival, without stopping to think about who's going to clear up the carnage created by the carnies!
[Eyewitness photo of the convoy through Whitworth]
The eventful week culminated in a moment of high drama at the dreaded Corner Of Doom. Eyewitness reports and photographs tell of a blade-laden truck unable to make it up the steep slope. Perched perilously on the unstable hillside mudtrack, weakened by the heavy rainfall of the preceeding few days and the constant rumblings of the massive HGVs, one hapless driver found himself stuck, unable to make the ascent, before eventually being rescued by a tow truck.
[Eyewitness photo of the truck rescue]
For now let us challenge our own prejudices and play Devil's Advocate. SO FAR, on ground level at least, all parties have done a good job in battling challenging conditions, and even going so far as to win the support of many locals. It would be churlish and unrealistic not to admit this. After all, this website is about the truth, and if that's the truth of the matter then well done Collett & Sons for at least getting several of the inhabitants of Whitworth onside. Credit where credit's due.
Cut away from Whitworth for a moment, however, and the wider world is starting to exert more and more pressure on the wind industry as a whole. The Conservatives now have to live up to their pledges to crack down on any more wind farms - if they breach this trust then they will NEVER be forgiven, so a lot rides on how they handle all the applications and appeals from wind farm developers they are soon to be deluged with. We shall see. One thing's for sure: the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, elected democratically and therefore representing the will of the British people, is someone who said only a few months ago: "People are frankly fed up with so many wind farms being built that won't be necessary. Enough is enough..."
In the arts, images from this website have been included on a video for "Ancient Race", an immensely powerful poem/song by Robert Sandison about an imminent wind farm due for construction in the Shetland Islands. Proof that Crook Hill Wind Farm is now being referenced in the outside world as a textbook example of environmental destruction. This appears to validate our claim that, once exposed to these pictures, people's joy and excitement at the wind farm coming to town will soon start to curdle into nausea at the true envionmental price they are about to pay.
What Moors Are Supposed To Look Like
To set the scene, let's start with some panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Many of these moors are officially protected from development (especially such unsympathetic industrial construction as at Crook Hill). This is what "unspoilt" means! Not necessarily untouched by man, just undegraded, looked after, conserved, treated with respect and love! The only blight, the line of pylons, is relatively inoffensive (and infinitely more useful), compared with with the imposing grey wind turbines we are about to encounter.
Ugly, Intrusive & In Urgent Need Of Removal
One by one, every single one of these ugly turbines will be removed, by force of law if necessary, over the next two decades. These photos show how even a small turbine ruins the landscape for miles around. Even the M62 viaduct looks attractive by comparison. With the industrial wind farms at Coal Clough and Todmorden also visible to the north, the cumulative effect is horrendous. Do the developers care? Nobody with an iota of appreciation for the transcendental qualities of these upland landscapes would want to set up shop here in a million years. "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a place of business." (John 2:15)
Work In Progress
A defence of the current bombsite is that this is all a "work in progress", and everything will be hunky-dory once the job is complete and the contractors have packed up and left. That may be true - as and when such time comes, this website will either be decomissioned or else transformed into "The Magical World Of Crook Hill Wind Farm" (having been bought out by the Disney Corporation, no doubt). No skin off my nose as a writer if there are a few plot twists - I'd be DELIGHTED if the narrative arc of this story has a happy ending. We could even make a movie out of it (all proceeds going to the conservation of Crook Hill, of course)! However, right here, right now, the site IS an eco disaster, and until such designation is no longer appropriate, that's the description we're sticking with.
The Trucks Are Taking Their Toll
The hundreds of HGV journeys are visibly causing serious damage to the fragile tops and sides of Crook Hill. This is the dictionary definition of "ecological destruction".
Litter & Debris
The removal of litter should be a sine qua non of ANYBODY'S visit to the countryside. It's not enough to say this will all be cleared away at some indefinite point in the future: it should never have been dropped; it's all evidence of disposable, synthetic, non-renewable materialism which the contractors had no business dumping up here in the first place. There should be daily litter collections; no special brownie points for doing the bare minimum expected of a civilised adult.
Why Are We Humans So Destructive Of Nature?
What other species thinks it's a good idea to pour concrete over the hills and mountains, from which springs the water that our very survival depends upon? Even more bonkers is how the Green Party and Friends Of The Earth think wind farms are clever, indeed "beautiful"! Mental...dangerously so.
This Week's Animal Encounters
Catching up with the animals of Crook Hill is becoming an all-important part of the weekly ritual. Crook Hill is THEIR home, and we humans are merely their guests. It's frankly inconceivable that certain members of our species have taken it upon themselves to trash the natural habitat of the animals.
After all the action last week, this week saw slow progress, with all the components that were scattered across the site coming together to form the second turbine. So the scores on the moors are currently: Partnerships For Renewables 2, Nature 0. However, with a further 9 turbines still to be erected, this promises to be a nail-biting tournament, with all to play for!
What The Hell Is THAT?
A huge crane contorts itself into freakish, unwieldy poses on the exposed ridge that links Crook Hill with its parent peak Freeholds Top.
Pylons Across The Pennines
Despite cities the size of Leeds and Manchester rubbing up against either side of this narrow section of the Pennines, it's incredible how wild and inhospitable the uppermost moors remain to this day. The pylons marching relentlessly across the bleak uplands have a certain something about them, it has to be said. In fact, it's very simple to explain what it is that makes the pylons preferable to the wind turbines: THEY SERVE HUMANITY! They are efficient, ergonomic and enduring, providing energy for everyone; whereas the turbines are inefficient and ephemeral, benefitting nobody apart from those who own them.
Watched Over By The Peak
These photos help explain Crook Hill's proximity to the landmass of The Peak (though the National Park itself lies a few moors away to the south, just beyond Blackstone Edge, White Hill and Standedge). Walsden Gorge is a stunning, geologically significant fault between The Peak and the adjacent South Pennines, providing a rare low-altitude pass across the main Pennine watershed. The Leeds-Rochdale Canal passes through the gorge, which also forms the boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire. One would have thought such an important, amazing landscape would have been protected against blight from such a tawdry get-rich-quick scheme as a wind farm, but alas no. Not yet, anyway.
Some strange, striking and unexpected photos from this week's site visit.
Crook Hill & The Community