Writer calls for opposition to windfarm development in area of scenic beauty
The creator of TV hit Outlander has branded plans to create a massive windfarm on the area where the show is set as “insane”.
National tourism agency Visitscotland recommends tourists should go to Rannoch Moor, one of the key locations of the programme, which is threatened by a proposal to build 24 wind turbines, each 125m tall, together with 12.8km of access tracks.
The VisitScotland Outlander film locations map says: “Take a trip to the area and discover an idyllically-located land that is dotted with innumerable lochs, streams, rivers and rocky outcrops, and surrounded by breathtaking Munros – mountains that rise over 3,000 ft. Wander through this wilderness and be at one with nature.”
Diana Gabaldon, author of the historical drama, has now intervened by condemning the plans for the Talladh a Bheithe windfarm, near Loch Rannoch.
She 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.
It seems insane to sacrifice one of its most scenic landscapes for the sake of an electrical pittance
“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.”
Nearly 1,000 formal objections have been made to the wind farm proposals, which are due to be considered by Perth and Kinross Council in the near future.
The development would affect views from more than 30 Munros and Corbetts, including Schiehallion, the Ben Alder massif, mountains above Glen Lyon, the Drumochter Hills and Buachaille Etive Mor.
Turbines would also be visible from the iconic West Highland railway line and the A82 – the main tourist route through the West Highlands.
Among the organisations opposing the wind farm scheme are the John Muir Trust, which has described it as “a knife in the heart of Scotland’s natural beauty” and Scottish Natural Heritage, which has criticised its likely effects on rare birds and mammals – estimating that the turbines will kill one golden eagle every 19 months.
David Gibson, Mountaineering Council of Scotland chief executive, said: “The visitor appeal of Rannoch Moor will be ruined if this industrial-scale wind farm 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 wind farms 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.
“It is brilliant that Outlander is having such a valuable effect on tourism and shows that we should be using our wild lands and mountain spaces to develop sustainable tourism, not as a source of vast profits for multi-national power companies and big land owners.”