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Mountain bodies fight to preserve Munro wildernesses

Posted 18 June 2012
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Mountain bodies fight to preserve Munro wildernesses
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Although there are now two national parks in Scotland, they only cover a fraction of its most attractive and mountainous country. Peaks like the Cairngorms and mountains in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park like Ben More and Stob Binnein may be protected, but the majority of Munros are not.

Excluded from national park protection are Ben Nevis - although it is owned by conservation body the John Muir Trust (JMT) - the mountains of Glencoe, the Black Cuillin on Skye and numerous other Munros, not to mention hundreds of Corbetts and Grahams.

Threats to these landscapes come in more than one form, but two have been exercising bodies representing outdoors lovers of late.

One of them has been the issue of hill tracks, where 4WD vehicles have made their mark on the landscapes in a highly visible way. The (JMT) and sympathetic MSP's have been campaigning on the issue for years and the upshot has been a public consultation by the Scottish government.

This week marks the end of the consultation (June 22nd) and the trust published a reminder of this fact to supporters earlier this month. 

People who love to go walking on the Scottish mountains may be keen on seeing the hills kept free of such marks, as well as wind turbines.

Windfarms are nothing if not a controversial topic. Those journeying north from England will see many of them on the Lowland hills as they pass through the sparsely-populated region between the border and the central belt.

This month saw the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) publish its own manifesto on the issue, with one specific demand being that they be kept off the Munros (3,000 ft plus) and Corbetts (2,500-2,999 ft). Of course, this could leave the Grahams (2,000-2,499 ft) vulnerable, but that category will already include some of those lowland hills.

Nonetheless, the MCoS argues that recreation like walking and ski touring is one of the reasons the turbines should be kept off the hills, as well as issues of wildlife preservation and the economic benefits of attracting tourists to an unspoiled landscape.

That such campaigns are ongoing suggests that while Scotland has been free of the recent controversies over forests seen in England, politicians and planners there are facing a fight on other fronts from those who value its natural resources.