Plans to erect a 24-turbine wind farm on the wild lands of Rannoch Moor have been slammed as “insane” by the author of a hit TV series that was filmed there.
The moorland – which covers 50 square miles and spans the boundaries of Lochaber, Argyll and Bute and Perth and Kinross – is currently being promoted by VisitScotland on a tourism map for fans of the hit TV series Outlander.
Diana Gabaldon, who is the author of the historical drama, has now intervened by condemning the plans for the Talladh a Bheithe wind farm, near Loch Rannoch, claiming it would be “insane” to damage tourism in this way.
And she is challenging VisitScotland to oppose the proposal by Netherlands-based developer, Eventus BV.
Each turbine would be 410 feet tall and the development would include eight miles of wide access tracks, buildings and infrastructure.
Objectors say the development would affect views from more than 30 Munros and Corbetts, including Buachaille Etive Mor.
They also claim the turbines would be visible from the West Highland Railway line and the A82 Inverness to Glasgow road.
Meanwhile, the national tourism agency is recommending that tourists should “be at one with nature” on Rannoch Moor.
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 feet.
“Wander through this wilderness and be at one with nature.”
Ms 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.”
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 proposal in an area that is popular with climbers and hill walkers is also opposed by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.
Its chief officer David Gibson said the visitor appeal of Rannoch Moor would be ruined if this “industrial-scale” wind farm went ahead.
He said: “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.”
A VisitScotland spokesman said wind farms and other renewable energy projects were a part of the landscape in nearly every destination in the world.
He said: “As with any development which could impact on the natural landscape, such projects should be sensitive to their surroundings and involve a full consultation with all interested parties.
“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.”
Eventus BV could not be contacted for comment.
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