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Showcases / Walking the wilds around the wind farm works

Exploring the hills around Voe in the days before coronavirus. Photo: SSE Renewables

SPRING has sprung – at least in some parts of the country – and many of us are keen to get out on longer walks to stretch those lockdown legs.

Viking Wind Farm is now over six months into construction and its large site in the central Mainland remains open to walkers, as long as they keep well clear of ongoing works.

Construction sites are not legally obliged to allow public access. However, given the extent of the wind farm works, the Viking team is keen that undisturbed areas are kept open to access. This is made easier by the works being concentrated within limited corridors.

To avoid accidents, it is essential that a safe distance is kept from vehicles, machinery, excavations and stored materials at all times.

Walkers should take responsibility for their own safety and be aware that they might not be seen by the drivers of moving machinery, such as excavators and lorries, making it vital to keep a safe distance away. If works require the temporary closure of access routes, diversions will be put in place and clearly signposted.

The wind farm site currently includes two core paths which have at least part of their route close to construction zones. These are at the Scord of Weisdale and around part of Sandwater Loch.

Most of the site area is crofted or farmed, requiring the usual precautions to be observed in relation to livestock, fences and gates.

SSE Renewables has produced a handy site information leaflet and map which will be available to pick up from noticeboards at main site access points or which can be printed or downloaded here from the Viking Wind Farm website.

The site access guidelines have been produced in consultation with Shetland Islands Council’s outdoor access team in accordance with access rights under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code 2005.

Once the wind farm starts operating in 2024 there will be a whole new network of tracks through the hills for people to walk or cycle and enjoy many panoramic viewpoints, perhaps for the first time.

For more information, please contact vikingwindfarm@sse.com or call 01595 697129.

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