The dominant presence Ben Wyvis occupies in Ross-shire with communities to the west, south and east enjoying spectacular views of the Munro, has ensured it holds a special significance for locals.
Many wake up to a clear view of one of Scotland’s most recognisable mountains from their bedroom window and for motorists driving north through Ross-shire it is a commanding landmark.
The fondness locals and visitors alike feel for “the Ben” means it is often captured on canvas and film by its admirers.
The warmth many have for the mountain – described as the only Munro in Easter Ross – has resulted in emotive words such as “disfigured” and scarred” being used to describe what would happen to its landscape if a 17-turbine wind farm is built below it.
Environmental agencies, a community council and more than 200 individuals have all registered their objections to the proposed Clach Liath proposal, with some labelling it a “wind farm too far”.
They are concerned that the turbines will act as a “visual barrier” to Ben Wyvis, spoiling a view loved and enjoyed by so many and industrialising a distinctive, natural feature.
Strong voices have made the call for this mountain to be protected from further turbine developments, but with numerous previous wind farms getting the go-ahead in the face of strong local opposition, objectors must wonder if anyone is listening.
The recent rejection by the Scottish Government of a plan to build turbines in Caithness because of its negative impact on nearby properties and views of the landscape may give opponents to Clach Liath some hope.
In making the decision, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he was determined to see Scotland reap the benefits of renewable energy, but not at any cost.
Those who are against the Clach Liath Wind Farm will be hoping his claim that “the Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places” will be remembered when that proposal is considered.
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