Social Event Summary: Outing to Ecotricity & Cheddar Gorge

As part of its program to organise scientific and social events, Alkindi Society for Engineers has organised a day-trip on Sunday 20th June 2010 to visit the Wind Turbine in Green Park, Reading which is operated by Ecotricity and the naturally beautiful Cheddar Gorge near the city of Bath. Over 50 people with a mixture of ages, genders and professions registered on this trip which departed from central London at 9:00AM to stop at the first leg in Reading for an hour tour and a presentation about renewable energy and electricity generation by wind. Participants listened to the presentation of Ian Cough, from the Education Department of Green Park, in which he indicated that the wind turbine Alkindi was visiting is from the second generation of turbines which are more efficient and much quieter than their predecessors.

The 3-blade Ecotricity turbine weighs 300 tonnes, 85m high and each blade is 35m long, and can be installed in 3 days only. It is capable of supplying 1000-1200 medium size houses around the year, thus making them increasingly more attractive means of generating clean energy. However, the UK is currently generating less than 1% of its energy consumption from renewable sources compared to almost 30% in Denmark, 20% in Finland

The coach left Reading on a 2-hour journey on the M4 to reach Cheddar Gorge after midday, and after a short lunch rest, the guests entered the main cave “Cough Cave” to enjoy spectacular scenes of the natural process that created the stalactite and stalagmite over millions of years. Each visitor was given a voice guide to describe the different stages of the discovery of the cave over the years. The visit took about an hour after which Alkindi visitors were given an open top bus for a sightseeing tour in the surrounding area.

After that, the party had less than two hours to sit by the waterfalls and walk about in the village’s high street and its shops. Many people were interviewed by Al-Baghdadiya TV crew who accompanied Alkindi in this trip.

The coach departed Cheddar Gorge around 6:30 in the evening to reach central London around 10:00 O’clock. From the feedback received from participants, it can be seen that the trip was overwhelmingly enjoyed by everyone who expressed interest in similar events and activities by Alkindi Society.