by backpackingbongos

In october 2011 I had the privilege of backpacking in a vast open area called the Ben Armine Forest.  This is situated just south of the Munro Ben Klibreck.  From the summit of the 705 metre Ben Armine the view revealed just how huge the surrounding landscape is.  In some respects it was rather overwhelming, hard for my brain to comprehend that there are such empty places in the UK.  Man made intrusions into the landscape were non-existent.  It really is not a place to visit if you suffer from agoraphobia.  The fact that it is one of those rare hills that is difficult to visit on a day walk added to the true sense of remoteness.  Below is a photo of Pete descending towards an estate bothy with expansive views to the south west.


I have to say that I had a total feeling of disbelief when I discovered that SSE had submitted plans to build 27 huge wind turbines in the middle of it all.  It really did beggar belief.  The view above would become dominated by giant turbines and miles of access roads.

Walking out on the third day of the backpack we crossed the Bealach Easach with its absolutely beautiful view down the length of Loch Choire.  A splendidly uplifting moment in the autumn sunshine.  The boundary of the wind farm is two kilometres from this spot.


Situated on high moorland the turbines will be visible for miles around in this open landscape.  It’s a bit of a fecking joke that SSE are the sponsors of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

Anyway, there is a glimmer of good news in that the Highland Council has just rejected the application.  Why just a glimmer of good news?  Because of the size of the development the final decision will now be made by the Scottish Government.  They happen to have a bit of track record in these matters…………


* Just to make it clear that I am not anti wind energy.  I believe that in the right places wind can contribute to the energy mix.  However I do fear that there is far too much emphasis in on shore wind to meet renewable targets.  This means that the wildest and most valuable parts of the UK landscape are being trashed by greedy developers trying to cash in on subsidies paid by me and you.  An example of wind energy working well is on the island of Eigg.  Small scale and to benefit the local community.

11 Responses to “Dalnessie”

  1. It’s a good initial result, and there is a window of opportunity here to create some real momentum.

    The Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee is looking again at a petition for a new Wild Land designation to protect places of high scenic and wildlife value, next Tuesday 19 February. Please write to your MSP, or if you are outside Scotland, then please write to Paul Wheelhouse (the minister for Environment and Climate Change). More details and a template letter can be found here:


    Please write, especially if you have never written before, and again if you have 😉 It’s quite short notice, as the announcement was only made in the last 48hours, but please write in the next few days, and help keep the pressure up. Cheers

    • Thanks for providing that link David. I have just written a letter and emailed it to Paul Wheelhouse. Anyone else who values wild land please do the same. It only took me 20 mins.

  2. Excellent piece, James.
    It breaks my heart to see someone like Fergus Ewing – the Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy (and, unbelievably, Tourism) – sitting in judgement on these matters. He passes the majority of them on appeal. This is a man who was a member of a Scottish Mountain rescue team in his earlier years.

    We must all write, as David suggests, and protest in the strongest terms possible.

  3. Fingers crossed on this one. Thanks for the update James

  4. Have gone right to the top, Mr Salmond himself, as he appears to be my constituency MP!
    Also written to regional MSP.
    I just hope that a few of them start to listen!

  5. Worth reading a book called The Wind Farm Scandal by John (forget his name)? It exposes the bad facts and figures that support wind factories.


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