Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wind power at Skegness

click photo to enlarge
Kite buggies shouldn't be a problem. The coast of the British Isles has many large areas of flat sand that should be able to be used by different interest groups without conflict, and, by and large that is the case. However, the growing popularity of these wind-powered leisure vehicles, particularly their use in areas heavily frequented by the general public, has provoked increasing numbers of complaints about dangerous, high speed driving. This has led to some local authorities placing restrictions on the areas and times when they can be used, or in some cases (for example Lytham St Annes) outright bans.

When kites were harnessed to surf boards problems of this sort rarely arose because the area of sea available for kite-boarding is vast, and the number of other users of the water, in most places, is few. However, buggy riders have been their own worst enemies by too often choosing to pursue their sport on busy beaches used by day-trippers, dog walkers, fishermen and others. The national and local organizations that support the sport seem to realise the need for compromise, and make every effort to urge riders to use less frequented areas. However, newcomers to the pastime, and individuals who crave an audience for their tricks, seem heedless. I've come across buggies being erratically driven at speeds up to 40 mph on Fleetwood beach in Lancashire, throwing up showers of shingle with every hard turn, and making walkers wonder whether they were going to be mown down.

The other day, on the Lincolnshire coast at Skegness, I saw this lone buggy zipping up and down the beach . It was well-controlled, had the sands virtually to itself, and made an interesting sight as the driver coaxed power out of the onshore breeze. On a warmer day in summer, when the visitors from England's Midlands throng the beach, it would probably be better elsewhere. However, in the spring sunshine the buggy was doing no harm and made a good foreground subject for this photographer who was able to frame it in front of the offshore wind farm he was snapping.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 83mm (166mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/2000 seconds
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On