Friday, 13 August 2010

Revenge at Bryn Titli

Been woefully poor at updating this - sequestering entries in my mail drafts folder then not posting them... So a sudden flurry...

OK, let me get the stereotypically (to blogging) self-indulgent whinge out of the way first: this blog title doesn't refer to a hitherto undiscovered battle of Owain Glyndwr but to my considered decision (having walked barefoot up the hill wincing over thistles, but a trade off & better than limping due to trainers) sitting below Bryn Titli wind farm on Weds to take a scissors to my trainers, to make them wearable & stop aggravating the inflamed tendon they'd given me in the first place.  There's nothing quite as satisfying as taking your revenge on an inanimate object (even an expensive all terrain trainer) that was clearly OUT TO GET YOU and walking was much easier after that.   

I'd hitched & bussed from Llanidloes (after a luxurious night at Lloyds, & a very articulate interview with one of its proprietors Tom, describing turbines on the far horizon rather wonderfully as 'eyebrows of white'; this in contrast to the conversation with a monosyllabic young man in a bus stop, who had nothing to say about them - they were just part of the working landscape to him; he also touchingly admitted he was feeling 'really emotional' that day, bound on the bus to Aber to take his driving theory test because he was desperate to get away - the landscapes we romanticise & fight over not exactly economically nourishing for all) via Llangurig & realised my hitching technique may be flawed when the people who stopped for me said they'd actually thought I was a cardboard cut out I was standing so still...

So, Bryn Titli in bright sun & a great sense of relief to be back in the hills again. But I realise if this trip has encouraged any latent tub thumping on my part it's not about turbines which I continue to love (I've tried, I really have, to hate them but I can't, though it's the fact I've had to travel so exhaustingly far between them that makes them novel - landmarks that distinguish one bleak and beautiful hill from another, something on the horizon to be travelled to - it would indeed be different if they were on the next hill, the middle distance, the hills behind that *and* the far horizon) but diminishing access to old pathways, fences over gateways, wired shut gates (one so artfully done with wire and reinforced with cable ties I half expected an alarm to go off as I climbed over or a red dot to appear trained on my chest as I walked across the field). I can climb fences but Merlin can't & most of these tracks are supposed to be bridleways or RUPPS most of them so old & established that even if underused, they are still visible scored into the side of a hill, curving away. Nevermind the right to roam, what about the right to not have to turn back from blocked right of way & go miles out of your way on a dangerous main road? (an experience from a long ago long distance trek across Wales on horseback).

Back to Llangurig & the Blue Bell... The next day as I'm heading off, I talk to Mary in the village shop opposite. She talks of how the coming of the turbines nearly split the valley (in opinion) but how there was something so exciting about that 'brand spanking new' technology coming to a rural area, where 'we do sometimes feel a bit abandoned'... She also emphasised the importance of making it clearer to communities the link between their turbines and the immediate benefits of electricity generation, how the (perceived by some) disadvantage of turbines might be balanced by an awareness of what benefits are brought directly to those communities, drawing parallels with the mining communities in the south where landscapes were scarred but the money generated was all spent elsewhere.

Really great to talk to someone with so much to well considered stuff to say & not based purely in aesthetics...

I journeyed on to Cefn Croes with yet more food for thought...

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