You’d think Scotland would have enough wind just naturally, but round here there’s a newly opened wind farm and from certain angles if you look up in the hills you can see the turbines turning steadily away, stirring up the breezes*. Today they were having an open day and, thinking it might be a nice interesting morning’s excursion we popped along. Wind farms, we thought, would be a bit of a minority interest, so we weren’t expecting a huge crowd, maybe a few dads and small boys and an excited group of anoraks up from Sheffield comparing turbine sizes. We were wrong. For this was a bit of a hearts and minds exercise which meant not just a chance to get up close and personal with a huge windmill, but a goody bag, face painting, balloon modelling (balloon modelling has moved on since I was a kid, I tell you. The odd lumpy looking sausage dog and giraffe is not enough for today’s youth: there were children clutching balloon octopi) and – most importantly – a free lunch. Add in a bright sunny morning and a land where there’s not a whole heck of a lot to do once you’ve been to all three of the Burns museums, and people turned up in droves – far more than they were obviously expecting. Scots with a keen eye for a nice freebie … who would have thought it?
But it was, as I said, a lovely sunny day, and we passed the time in the queue for the shuttle bus chatting to the man in front (I know, I know but that’s what people do round here), and the turbines were impressive. We picked up our pen and our badges and our low-energy lightbulb, read all the informative leaflets and tried to work out what all the buttons did in one of the turbines (I had to drag the other half away from reading the owner’s manual he had got his hands on). But there was one oddity we noticed, as we queued up for our free lunch at the burger bar at the foot of one of the turbines: a familiar chugging noise. For there, tucked discreetly away behind the main tent, was a generator.
* That is how it works, right?