VISITSCOTLAND has been challenged by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) to oppose a proposed windfarm development threatening views of Rannoch Moor which features on its Outlander map of Scotland.
The MCoS said it was “bizarre” that VisitScotland and the Scottish Government were calling on tourists to visit scenery which could soon contain a development affecting the views of more than 30 Munros and Corbetts, including Schiehallion.
We are calling on the Scottish Government to completely rule out large-scale windfarms in the wild and natural areas which are essential to Scottish tourismDavid Gibson
Diana Gabaldon, author of the cult Jacobite time-travel historical novels, this week renewed her call for the Talladh a Bheithe windfarm to be scrapped,
David Gibson, MCoS chief officer, said: “The visitor appeal of Rannoch Moor will be ruined if this industrial-scale windfarm goes ahead, VisitScotland must speak out.
“It is bizarre that VisitScotland and the Scottish Government keep calling for tourists to enjoy our wild and unspoilt lands while policies are pursued that could turn them into industrial sites.
“We are calling on the Scottish Government to completely rule out large-scale windfarms in the wild and natural areas which are essential to Scottish tourism. That means new planning controls which clearly prohibit such developments in all wild land areas, not just national parks and national scenic areas.”
Earlier this week, US author Gabaldon said: “One of the most gratifying things about the TV show is that we were able to film it in Scotland, and that the staggering natural beauty of Scotland is as much a character as are any of the actors.
“I’ve heard from hundreds of fans that seeing the show has convinced them that they must go to Scotland, and from hundreds more who have already come to experience it for themselves.
“Frankly, given the undoubted economic value of tourism to Scotland, it seems insane to sacrifice one of its most scenic landscapes for the sake of an electrical pittance.”
The beauty of Rannoch Moor, one of the key locations for the show, is threatened by a proposal to industrialise the area with 24 wind turbines, each 125m tall, together with 12.8km of wide access tracks, buildings and infrastructure.
The development would also affect views from the Ben Alder massif, mountains above Glen Lyon, the Drumochter Hills and Buachaille Etive Mor.
The turbines would also be visible from the iconic West Highland Railway line and the A82 – the main tourist route through the West Highlands.
More than 1,000 formal objections have been lodged with Perth and Kinross Council, who are to examine the scheme in the near future.
A spokesman for VisitScotland said: “VisitScotland supports the drive for renewable energy and recognises the potential of Scotland’s vast resource. It is well documented that the vast majority of potential visitors would not be discouraged from visiting Scotland on account of wind farm developments.
“In recent VisitScotland research, 83 per cent of Scotland respondents (80 per cent of UK) stated their decision to holiday in the UK would not be affected by the presence of a wind farm and 80 per cent of Scotland respondents (81 per cent of UK) either disagreed, or neither agreed nor disagreed, that wind farms spoil the look of the Scottish countryside.”