St. Cuthbert's House

northumbrian bed and breakfast

Thursday, 14 May 2009 00:00

The answer is blowin' in the wind...

Written by 

There's a great deal of huffing and puffing around these parts just now, on the issue of wind turbines. I can’t pretend to be an expert in this issue by any stretch of the imagination – and anyway, the ‘expert opinion’ of every expert seems to be directly contradicted by the ‘expert opinion’ of several others. So I’m not convinced one way or the other about the technical merits, or arguments about efficiency and all that stuff. But I am able to look at pictures – like the one showing the view from my good friends’ gorgeous home, as it will be if several proposals are approved – and decide for myself whether developments like these can be deemed a step forward.

The issue has come sharply into focus for us in Northumberland, because as well as having more castles than any other English County (that’s true!) we also seem to have more Windfarm applications too (that’s just my impression).

As with all the biggest decisions, there is a balance to the argument. You may remember that we’re hoping to get a cracking good result for our ‘green business’ assessment any day now (it’s been many weeks since the assessment; the tension is mounting) so you might expect us to be much in favour of renewable energy schemes. And indeed we are in principle, of course. But here’s the thing – most of our visitors are attracted to Northumberland because of its wild, vast unspoilt landscapes. The peace and tranquillity, the big skies, the open country – these things do something in your heart and soul when you become still for a while, and make time simply to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. There are relatively few places in England where this is really possible, and Northumberland is top of the list.

So then – shall we fill up the hills and plains in north Northumberland with hundreds of wind turbines standing 125m tall, and turn it into an enormous industrial landscape? What do we think that might do for a tourist industry (that’s us) which promotes that wild, unspoilt landscape, and all it does for the human condition?

I can’t help wondering if these things are being proposed here because this is the best possible spot in which to harness the power of the wind – or because there is likely to be less opposition from a relatively small population. It does seem rather counter-intuitive to me, to propose these things 'in the middle of nowhere'. Why don't we site them in urban landscapes, on hillsides close to where millions of people already live? No-one goes there to get away from it all, so we wouldn't be spoiling anything. Is this just a daft idea?

This issue seems to be able to divide reasonable people like no other. Of course, there are a lot of people who see wind power as the best alternative in the conundrum of how we should power our future. And plenty of others who will seem somehow impatient, slightly cross even, if they suspect a nimby approach on our part. And lots of others who just love to see those graceful sweeping blades catching ‘something for nothing’.

So, the public inquiry rumbles on, in the Arts Centre not far from here. They’re hearing the appeal of the power companies who have had three applications turned down by local planning authorities. I guess if they succeed, then north Northumberland will be regarded as a ‘wind turbine landscape’ and so the rest of it will get filled up with other applications, which can hardly fail. I can’t help feeling that’s not ‘something for nothing’, but rather a very high price to pay.

Jeff Sutheran

We are Jeff & Jill Sutheran, and we own and run St Cuthbert's House. Our blog is a little corner where we come to write about things that stir us, move us, intrigue us or otherwise get us going. Usually in a good way. But not always.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Featured Items

  • We're VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England' for 2017!

    We're VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England' for 2017!

    We were delighted to be shortlisted again, amongst the top 3 finalists from around the whole country, when we went to the VisitEngland 'Awards for Excellence 2017' ceremony at the Waldorf Hotel last week.

    But then we were absolutely thrilled to be awarded the top spot - the Gold Award, making us VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England 2017' -  as we were in 2014 too.  To win this prestigious and highly-prized accolade a second time is very special indeed.

  • Clare votes us her No 1!

    Clare votes us her No 1!

    We've been enjoying reading Clare Balding's new book recently. She stayed with us here at St Cuthbert's House a while ago, but we were really taken aback when folks began to call to tell us that she mentions her stay at St Cuthbert's House in the book! Here's what she says, on page 201:
    'St Cuthbert's House went instantly to the top of my 'best ever B&Bs' list. I would describe it as a luxury small hotel with a family feel, but that might not fit on the signs.' Aw, thanks Clare!

  • Want to see what's so special about Northumberland?

    Want to see what's so special about Northumberland?

    Some time ago, we began work with our local Tourism Association to produce a video showing some of the things which make this area so very special.  Now the video is complete, and we are deeply grateful to the remarkable young film-maker Cain Scrimgeour for working patiently with us across the seasons, to create something very, very beautiful. This is 7 minutes long, and we urge you to settle back and watch...

  • Peter & Kathy recommend St Cuthbert's House

    Peter & Kathy recommend St Cuthbert's House

    Peter & Kathy told us that they'd really enjoyed their first stay at SCH, and so we asked them to tell you why...

    Reassure yourself - watch their one-minute video..

  • Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews

    Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews

    Check out our Tripadvisor Reviews, to find out what other guests have said about their stay.  But please - always book direct via our Book Online page to avoid fees.

    We're pleased to be included as members of the Tripadvisor 'Hall of Fame' - where entry is only available to businesses which have won Tripadvisor's coveted 'Certificate of Excellence' for five consecutive years.

  • Our Price Guarantee

    Our Price Guarantee

    You will ALWAYS receive the best possible price by booking direct with us - either by calling us on 01665 720456 or by following the Book Now menu item!  Beware that some large agencies charge you more - and they also take a large slice of commission from small independents like us.  Show your support for small businesses by booking DIRECT!

  • The Good Hotel Guide - Cesar Award!

    The Good Hotel Guide - Cesar Award!

    We're in the Good Hotel Guide!

    We are delighted once again to be included in the 2018 edition of the Good Hotel Guide, and especially proud to receive a Cesar Award from this proudly independent and highly respected Hotel review organisation.  They describe the Cesar Awards thus:

    We give our Cesar Awards to the ten best hotels of the year. Named after Cesar Ritz, the most celebrated of hoteliers, these are the Oscars of hotel keeping.

Make a Booking

Ready to Book? You can check availability and book online right now using our Online Booking tool.

Or you can call us on 01665 720456 to book, too. If you don't see the availability you need in the Online Booking tool, it's always worth giving us a call to check.

Make a Booking

Connect with Us

We're using some fun social media streams to keep you up to date with all kinds of interesting things. Do join us there - Follow, Like, and join in! Take a look at our Social Wall.



socialwall 500

Contact Us & Stay In Touch

If you have any questions, please call us on 01665 720456 or send us an email or a booking enquiry.

And please sign up for our e-Newsletters below! We send our St Cuthbert's House newsletter about four times per year. It's filled with interesting SCH news, and Special Offers for subscribers.

And if you'd like to keep in touch about upcoming house-concerts and be the first to know who's coming, then please tick that box too! We send a house-concerts newsletter most months to keep you up to date on the musical front.

  • attention to detail

Copyright © 2019 St Cuthberts House. All Rights Reserved.
St Cuthbert's House, 192 Main St, Seahouses, Northumberland NE68 7UB (00 44) (0)1665 720456