The father of Scottish mountaineering thinks Donald Trump is right to wage his outspoken campaign against wind farms, particularly those proposed for mountain areas.
Hamish MacInnes, the internationally celebrated climber, has climbed in the Himalayas and mountains across the globe and been part of Everest expeditions, all the while helping establish Scotland’s own reputation over the past 60 years.
He has acted as an adviser to several Holywood blockbusters such as The Mission and The Eiger Sanction and written more than 20 books about climbing.
He told The Herald he felt he had to speak out about “the invasion of wind turbines into Scotland’s scenic areas”, after hearing of plans by Falck Renewables to erect 17 turbines, each 416ft high, on Clach Liath, part of the Ben Wyvis massif near Dingwall.
The Mountaineering Council of Scotland and Cameron McNeish, mountaineer, writer and broadcaster, have all spoken out against the development in recent times.
Mr MacInnes said: “I think there should be more opposition from mountaineers. Perhaps we have become too complacent. I think it is very serious. I know Fergus Ewing, the Energy Minister, and I have brought this up with him, particularly the Ben Wyvis plan because it is the first on the high mountains.”
He said it was bad enough when a wind farm became an eyesore in the foreground of a great view, but developments of huge turbines on Scotland’s revered mountains had to be opposed.
“I am not against wind farms when they are properly situated, but when they infringe on our heritage I am against it.
“I have had a lot of experience from writing guidebooks and of the film industry, and I know how filmmakers especially would react to such a development. I am in touch with them pretty regularly and know they would be put off. So it is going to damage one of our major assets.
“I am not a fan of Donald Trump’s techniques generally, but I think on wind-farm development he is right. He is probably doing it for his own ends to a large extent, but I think he has got it right.”
Harry Malyon, from Coriolis Energy, development partner of Falck Renewables, said Mr MacInnes had been misinformed.
“Clach Liath wind farm lies outside the designated Special Landscape Area for Ben Wyvis. We feel the site on Swordale Moor, currently used for agriculture and forestry, is an appropriate location for a wind farm.
“Far from being wild land, it lies in an industrialised part of the Highlands, avoids any areas of specific environmental protection yet is more than two kilometres away from the nearest house.
“The surrounding area is a thriving energy hub and already has significant development with the industrial estates at Evanton, the pylon line and the boats and rigs on the Cromarty Firth to the east. Clach Liath wind farm would exist in that context, in an area where natural beauty and industrial activity have happily coincided.”
He said the wind farm itself would be well screened from most directions although there would be visibility from parts of the Black Isle. The wind farm had been designed to sit well in the land form when viewed from the south.
He added: “For example, we have avoided breaking the skyline in the view from Culbokie, which lies at some eight kilometres distance. In this way visual impact is contained by it being back dropped into the landscape.”
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