MOUNTAINEERS are calling on councillors to reject the proposal of a wind farm that would cover a large area in the Highlands.

Highland Council's south planning committee will meet tomorrow to consider Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) proposals for the Stronelairg application for 83 turbines in the Monadhliath Mountains between the A9 and Loch Ness.

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) has previously opposed the wind farm, saying it would industrialise a large area of Highland landscape.

The charity, which represents hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers and has more than 11,000 members, is calling on councillors to reject the proposal and visit the area of the proposed site.

David Gibson, chief officer at MCofS, said: "This proposal by SSE would involve building a huge power plant with vast turbines, miles of trackways, buildings and huge masts, in some of the most beautiful mountains in Scotland, at the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.

"It is completely wrong-headed, putting energy company profits ahead of our national heritage.

"We are calling on councillors to either reject the proposal or, if they need further convincing, to pay a site visit and see first-hand what the scheme threatens to destroy.

"Highland councillors have already shown an impressive determination to oppose unsuitable developments, and we hope this will continue."

Objections have been lodged by a series of organisations, including the MCofS, the conservation charity John Muir Trust, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and Scottish Natural Heritage.

SSE say that comments regarding the impact are inaccurate. A spokesman said: "Rather than wilderness, the proposed wind farm is to be built around existing hydro-electric infrastructure and lies within a managed sporting estate containing over 20km of roads and tracks.

"It is also important to note that the entire development lies in Highland Council's own 'area of search' for wind energy development."