Saturday, 1 October 2011

Ring-Fenced in Angus !

A second wind farm (Cormaud - in pink) has been proposed for behind the castle (the blue Saltire). This is in addition to the wind farm in the planning process (Carroch - in green) in front of the castle. As a teccie type, I decided to plot them both on google maps to get a feel for the overall layout. The outcome below shocked even me: I am surrounded! Anyhow, hopefully, this map is a useful resource that allows people to put the wind turbine locations into their true geographical context.

View Carrach and Cormaud Wind Farms in a larger map

To the best of my knowledge this map is correct. Please submit any corrections as comments. I should clarify that neither of these wind farms is a done deal at the time of writing. Carrach is currently at the planning application phase, and Cormaud is in the scoping (pre-application) phase. Naturally I am not in favour of either application going ahead, as they would devalue the significant time, money, emotional and physical investments I have made in Balintore Castle. To say I feel strongly on the matter, is a gross understatement. However, this particular blog entry is about the facts presented succinctly and graphically. I daresay I will express my own views and feelings at length is subsequent blog entries.

Teccie Details

Don't read any further if you couldn't care less about how the map was produced! 

For Carroch I used the coordinates (eastings and northings) from the scoping report, so the plotting is 100% accurate.

For Cormaud, I took the positions from the scoping report map by eye, plotted these by hand on google maps and then downloaded the coordinates.

It took me a day to write a program to convert eastings and northings into latitude and longitude which google maps needs for plotting. There was lots of trigonometry! :-)

All programming was done in Python,  output was in KML which google maps can display. Needless to say, I found some bugs in Google's implementation of KML and had to program around these.

In the full page google maps display,  I would like to make the menu on the LHS hierarchical so you can switch on/off different wind farms. I tried to use the "<Folder>" tag to do this but it had no effect. Anyone know how to achieve this functionality?

I used the "convex hull" algorithm to create a polygon which enclosed the turbine locations for each farm.

I found the following PNG format icons on the Web, which possess the appropriate transparency for overlaying a map.


  1. I do not understand a word of the technical part! Ho9wever full marks for plotting. Are these turbines half-erected or half-dismantled? Lol!

  2. Thanks for the comment. The icon that looked clearest in miniature had the turbine at around 45 degrees. It's not ideal :-) I could always pretend it was an intentional orthographic projection.

  3. ickle correction, as requested: a map has contour lines. So, Dr.Eversoclever :), you`ve spent a day doing geometry & teccie wizardry & produced an outcome that may inadvertently be misleading to those considering previous arguments about visual impact.. so an outcome likely to shock us all, not just yourself! However, be comforted..Note that the highest point of the proposed Cormaud site (scary pink job on image) is lower, at 538m., than Catlaw Hill(669m.) - Also, this proposed site is on the northern flank of Catlaw; the furthest away from Balintore Castle, thankfully! So the proposed Cormaud turbines wouldn`t actually be visible from the castle. - No way of knowing whether you`d realized this? :)

  4. Switch to "Earth" mode on google maps, Helen, and this magically takes into account the contours and places the turbines at the appropriate heights, for correct 3D visualisation. This is such a useful previewing facility, that I am wondering whether to create a 3D turbine model for greater realism rather than just using an icon. Anyone who attempts to visualise from 2D data alone is not misled just stupid. :-) My concern was the large angle subtended by the Cormaud farm at the castle (around 45 degrees) which means that it will have a large impact on the local visible landscape when one gains any height. You are correct of course that Cormaud is not visible from the castle itself as there is a big mountain in the way. :-) The way I like to put it is that Cormaud is very visible when looking at the castle, whereas Carrach is very visible when looking from the castle.

  5. I've just done some careful checking of the Cormaud scoping report. The highest turbine is at a height of 575 m - I really magnified the PDF document to get a handle on the contour map. The turbine height to blade tip is 135 m. This gives a total height of 710 m - so this will poke 39 m over the top of Cat Law (671 m) which is the highest mountain in the area. In consequence some views from all angles will be affected.

  6. Let`s get things in perspective? Cat Law hill..not "big mountain".

  7. I think there is some good news. The proposed wind farm at Kinnettles not far from Balintore Castle has been turned down. Details here:

  8. What you need for the main entrance hall at Balintore is a Victorian Polyphon musical box! Made in the 1890's. No, I'm not trying to sell you one but I could lay my hands on one; I've been restoring antique musical boxes since the 1970's...............

    01575 572647.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think these are the ones with the flat metal discs? It goes without saying that I love Victorian technology and all contributions to authentic period atmosphere at Balintore are much appreciated. I'll give you a phone when it's a more reasonable hour.

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