Glen Etive, seen from Beinn Trilleachan. Photo: Alex Bryce

Glen Etive, seen from Beinn Trilleachan. Photo: Alex Bryce

Mountaineers are objecting to plans to build a mobile phone mast in the glen that featured in the James Bond film Skyfall.

Mountaineering Scotland said the proposed 33ft-high structure in Glen Etive would be visually intrusive.

It said the mast should be situated away from the proposed roadside site near the southern end of Buachaille Etive Mòr.

The glen is part of the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe national scenic area and has been used in tourism publicity and as a location for scenes in the spy movie.

The proposed 10m mast, fence, satellite dish and cabinets near the Eas an Fhir Mhòir waterfall, would be part of a network of three that EE wants to build in the glen to extend coverage.

In its objection, submitted to Highland Council, Mountaineering Scotland says that an otherwise largely unspoilt landscape and visitor experience would be compromised.

David Gibson, chief executive of the organisation, said: “Glen Etive is an iconic, beautiful glen within a national scenic area; one which offers visitors a fantastic experience of the true wild nature of Scotland’s mountains.

“The mast and infrastructure would render some views utterly ordinary.

“The proposal is simply unacceptable and is a poor example of a developer seeking an expedient solution. We would expect EE and their parent BT Group to exercise better judgement of the true value of Scotland’s landscape, as an asset to be enjoyed by many, not exploited for a quick fix solution.

“We ask them withdraw the proposal and think again.”

In its objection, Mountaineering Scotland points out that it is clear that a number of alternative locations within the glen could be used, as suggested by Scottish Natural Heritage, which would use the backdrop of the hills to make the visual impact less severe.

It says: “As an organisation representing those who enjoy a range of outdoor activities, we recognise the importance of effective mobile telecommunications, especially in the context of safety in the hills.

“However, we believe that in the case of this proposal, that viable alternatives are available to the developer. We object to the proposal and would urge EE and BT Group to think again.”

SNH, the Government’s advisory body on the outdoors, said: “We advise that this proposal will have an adverse impact on the special qualities of the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe national scenic area, but it may be possible to mitigate this impact.

“The mast is one of three emergency services network masts proposed for Glen Etive. Ideally, the three masts should be considered together to ensure that the sequential landscape and visual impacts are minimised, bearing in mind the constraints we appreciate there may be with respect to connectivity and the required access to the masts.”

Glen Etive lies south of the massif of Buachaille Etive Mòr, off the eastern end of Glen Coe. It is served by meandering unclassified road that ends at the northern shore of Loch Etive.

Mountaineering Scotland, formerly the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, represents 13,000 members in matters concerning climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering, and also acts for 75,000 members of the British Mountaineering Council on matters related to landscape and access north of the Border.

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