Thursday, 11 August 2011
Save the Monadh Liath Mountains & Cairngorms Wild Land Map
Two very different stories about wild land and the preservation of the Scottish Highlands have emerged recently.
The first is the formation of a campaign for the preservation of the Monadh Liath mountain range. So far this takes the form of a petition created by Save the Monadh Liath Mountains. This was instigated by the Allt Duine Wind Farm proposal, which, if it goes ahead will mean 31 giant turbines high on the southern edge of the Monadh Liath just across Strathspey from the Cairngorms National Park. The Monadh Liath is now threatened by an increasing number of wind farms (see Alan Sloman's excellent blog) and it looks as though the wild beauty and remoteness of this area, once the largest roadless region in the Highlands, will be lost forever. Saving what’s left is still worthwhile though so please sign the petition, which you can do here.
The second story is the production of planning guidelines on wildness by the Cairngorms National Park, using fascinating maps produced by Steve Carver of the Wildness Research Institute. These maps divide the Cairngorms into wild land zones, with the mountain core having a high wild land value. This is an excellent resource and it’s good to see the National Park recognising the value and importance of wild land. Yet at the same time just outside the park wind farms are planned that will be highly visible from many areas in the park and will substantially detract from the “naturalness, ruggedness, remoteness and the lack of modern human artefacts” that the park identifies as attributes of wildness.
That the Monadh Liath is not in a national park does not mean it’s unworthy of protection. But the fact that the destruction of its wildness will impact on a national park is another reason why the wind farms should not go ahead. There needs to be some connected thinking here. The Scottish government has two opposing objectives. Through the national park it wants to preserve and enhance wildness and prevent developments that could damage it. Through its energy policy it wants wind farms built that will destroy wild land. It can’t have both.
The picture was taken on a stormy day in the Monadh Liath.