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The Lammermuir Hills.
The Lammermuir Hills are the most significant range in South East Scotland, extending through East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. They form one of Scotland's dwindling wilderness areas and a key part of its priceless environmental heritage. A unique landscape with smooth contours and big skies, they offer a vital source of peace and space in an increasingly urbanised world.
They also have a long and colourful past; the sense of history and drama of the Lammermuirs is nowhere more intensely evoked than by William Ogilvie in The Raiders:
Last night a wind from Lammermuir came roaring up the glen
with the tramp of trooping horses and the laugh of reckless men
and struck a mailed hand on the gate and cried in rebel glee
“Come forth, come forth my Borderer and ride the march with me.”
Here’s what others have said about these hills:
East Lothian Council, in their objection to the first application to build wind turbines at Fallago Ridge in the Lammermuirs in recent years, describe the “distinctive integrity of open, sweeping summits and moorland land cover.”
They add “The central core of the Lammermuir Plateau is important in providing the essential qualities of openness, relative remoteness and expansiveness within a short distance from centres of population.”
And Dr Henderson was inspired to write:
I love to see the purple bloom across the moorland spread
The purple bloom o’ Lammermuir, I love, I love to tread
I love to wander by the marsh that plough has never torn
I love to see the reed tufts wave where ne’er has waved the corn.
The professional firm Environment Information Services sees this as “a landscape… of undoubted quality and recreational significance” and observes that “residents have a strong relationship with their visual hinterland.” They’re absolutely right.
One of the principal settlements in the foothills of the Lammermuirs is Dunbar, an ancient and historic town on the beautiful East Lothian coastline. It was named Scottish Coastal Town of the Year in 2007. As the birthplace of John Muir, internationally regarded as the founding father of conservationism, and the moving spirit behind the national parks of the USA, Dunbar has a special identity to protect and foster.
Along the coast towards Edinburgh, looking right up at the Lammermuirs all the way, lie beautiful beaches and unique natural habitats such as the Bass Rock and Aberlady bay. To the south east of the hills, towards Berwickshire and St Abbs, there is equally spectacular nature and wildlife.
Creeping industrialisation below the Lammermuirs has become a real issue in these past 30 years. The immediate area is already visually blighted with a number of developments, including one of Europe’s largest cement factories with its smoke-belching chimneys, a huge commercial waste dump and a nuclear power station which permanently lights up the night sky. This industrialisation must be halted if the natural beauty of the area is to be protected from further degradation. The Lammermuirs themselves have become over-run with turbines in the past 10 years, with huge destruction to the wild landscapes caused by the ripping up of the natural environment and the replacement of unspoilt land by roads, drains, cabling, concrete and various forms of human intervention.
The currently proposed massive development at Aikengall II - Wester Dod, for instance, would be located within an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV). These areas of special landscape character are specifically designated by Local Authorities in order to provide protection against inappropriate forms of development. Enough said.