Lottie’s story

A bit of a hermit, she calls herself. Charlotte Robertson doesn’t get many visitors – and she is absolutely fine with that. Her house is well-known in Shetland and beyond as the Halfway House, but she wouldn’t know why people call it that. It’s Sandwater House. Charlotte kindly agreed to speak with us and allowed us to share her story.

Now in her late eighties, Charlotte moved to Sandwater House in the 1950s with her family. Previously it had been a stopover place for travellers. Now, she keeps a cat and a few sheep as pets on her small croft – and is about to be surrounded by huge turbines.

Sandwater House, also known as the Halfway House, was featured in the TV detective series ‘Shetland’.

Construction of the Viking Energy wind farm is underway. ‘I didn’t like it at all,’ she says about the first time she heard of the plans. The thought of moving crossed her mind already at an early stage, but she decided against it. ‘It’s my home.’ The nearest neighbour is a mile and a half away, which is close enough for Charlotte. ‘I will stay here for as long as I can.’

Viking Energy once suggested they might buy her house and turn it into a museum, but a concrete offer was never made.

Currently, a double-track road is being constructed right next to her house. ‘It is a bit noisy,’ Charlotte says, ‘with all the diggers, dumper trucks and other machinery.’ Apart from the noise, she worries about pollution getting into the loch next to her house. And rightly so. It has happened at least twice now.

When construction is completed in four years’ time, eight of the 103 turbines will be within 2 kilometres of Sandwater House. That means more noise. ‘And you get the light flickering as well.’ The thought makes her ‘not very comfortable’.

When asked if she has anything to add, she says: ‘I think I need compensation.’ Because that is the most disheartening part of Charlotte’s story. No compensation will be given to people who live so close to the wind farm that their lives – and the value of their properties – will be greatly affected. She asked about it. Viking Energy just told her no.

‘Some people will make a lot of money from this,’ she says. ‘The SIC, the landowners, business people and the crofters.’ But not Charlotte. She gets nothing apart from noise, flicker and pollution.

Charlotte Robertson in front of her iconic house.

More information

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