Establishing a national park on Harris would bring the island economic benefits, the Ramblers said

Establishing a national park on Harris would bring the island economic benefits, the Ramblers said

Scotland needs a third national park, Ramblers have told the nation’s parliamentarians.

And the existing Cairngorms national park should be extended westwards to include the Monadhliath Mountains, the walkers’ charity said.

Scotland’s politicians are being urged to set up a national park on Harris, ahead of a Holyrood debate tomorrow, Wednesday.

Ramblers Scotland director Dave Morris said: “The SNP Government has been too slow in developing Scotland’s national park system.

“Apart from extending the southern boundary of the Cairngorms national park down to Blair Atholl they have done virtually nothing since then to promote our national parks system.

“As a matter of great urgency there is the need to commit to a westward extension of the Cairngorms national park across a substantial tract of the Monadhliath Mountains.

“This boundary was drawn too close to the central massif. The world famous views from the high plateau of the Cairngorms are at very serious risk of being spoilt by windfarm development in the Monadhliath.

“As the developers circle around the present boundary it is obvious that they need to be driven back by a boundary extension.”

Mr Morris also called for immediate action to investigate the establishment of Scotland’s third national park in Harris in the Western Isles.

“It is time for a third national park,” he said. “The Western Isles need the economic boost that national-park designation will bring to the Harris area.

“For the visitor to Scotland from afar what better way to advertise the presence of outstanding scenery and wildlife on the Atlantic seaboard?

“Protecting our natural heritage in the Western Isles, along with the provision of more and better facilities for the visitor, would be a logical outcome of national-park designation.

“The Scottish Government needs to sit down as soon as possible with the elected representatives of the Western Isles Council and discuss how national-park designation could bring economic and environmental benefit.”

A Holyrood motion from Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker notes seven areas as being suitable for consideration as national parks: the Ben Nevis, Glen Coe and Black Mount area; the Cheviot Hills; an area based around Mull, Coll and Tiree; Galloway; Glen Affric; Harris and Wester Ross.

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