Few people can be so rooted in the Upper Deveron Valley as Martin Sheed, a
ninth-generation farmer at Aldunie. His family have lived in this remote
and beautiful spot since the first Mrs Sheed and her seven sons arrived in
the glen to found a dynasty in 1670.
Their bones and those of many of their descendants lie in the graveyard of
Upper Cabrach church.
Sheed, 45, vows he will never leave his home, not even if it changes beyond
recognition. As well it might, with wind farm developers queueing up to
cash in on the Scottish government’s rush for green energy.
‘There will be nothing here but turbines the way things are going,’ Sheed
said. ‘Its already so strange to see it now, compared to how it was. The
community is of the opinion that we have had enough. Most folk would say:
‘We’ve done our part’.’
An open letter this week, signed by businesses, community associations,
individuals and politicians made the point. It called for a halt to wind
farm development in the valley pending an inquiry into the impact of the
Two developments, Clashindarroch, with 18 rotors, and Dorenell, south of
Dufftown, with another 59, are already established in the valley. They are
a visual intrusion and a source of noise pollution and flickering light,
But though the Cabrach is already deemed to have reached ‘saturation point’
according to two independent reports, turbine numbers are set to soar with
68 more proposed. The new structures are set to be 200m tall, more than
twice the height of Glasgow University tower.
The noise from the existing turbines is compared to ‘a helicopter that
Four more wind farms are at the planning stage. Another, at Garbet Hill by
Auchindoun, was thrown out by Moray council, only to be called in by the
Scottish government reporter and approved.
In the Cabrach, you can hear the existing turbines ‘like a helicopter that
never arrives,’as Sheed put it. Anger generated by the ‘industrialisation’
of this beautiful landscape is a good deal louder.
Much of the rage is directed at planning officers in offices in the central
belt, who, protesters say, couldn’t find their way to the Deveron Valley
and will not have to live with the consequences of their decisions.
Derek Ross, an independent Moray councillor for Speyside Glenlivet, is
livid. ‘We made a decision on Garbet Hill and it was reversed. It’s just an
insult to democracy,’ he said. ‘Our decision was overturned by someone in
Edinburgh. If devolution has to mean anything, it means devolving to