It is the eccentric request described by one conservationist as a "bizarre early April Fools joke".

But an exclusive online marketplace for the wealthy insists it is absolutely genuine.

An English multi-millionaire is willing to fork out £12m to buy a British mountain and carve his family's faces on it.

And as Scotland is home to the overwhelming majority of Britain's biggest peaks, the people marketing his weird demand believe that is where they are likely to find success.

It could lead to Scotland's answer to Mount Rushmore, the massive natural granite sculpture in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.

READ MORE: The Herald on the last bid to turn a Scottish mountain in to a Mount Rushmore 

That depicted US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln , acts as a memorial and attracts more than 2m visitors annually.

HeraldScotland:

The wealthy businessman, who has international properties and travels frequently, wants a mountain to be big enough to fit seven faces onto it, himself, his wife, three sons, one daughter and their dog.

He would even consider a cliff face.

The request was sent to the luxury items marketplace HushHush.com, who have agreed to help in the search, having previously used them to purchase less expensive items, including a necklace.

A HushHush.com spokesman said: “It would seem that Scotland’s the best place to find that mountain.”

But the notion has been treated with disbelief and disdain - with one conservation group describing it as potential vandalism.

Neil Reid of Mountaineering Scotland said: It's a ludicrous idea. Even if he buys a hill I cannot see anything like that ever happening. It's certainly within the realms of possibility that you can buy a hill. But I can't see him being successful in carving things.

HeraldScotland:

"It would not be a case of buying a mountain and carving your face it it, I would have thought you would need planning permission."

A spokesman for the John Muir Trust, which owns the upper slopes of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak, said: “This is such an outlandish idea that we wonder whether it’s an elaborate hoax.

"Although we manage and hold the title deeds for a number of Munros and Corbetts, we see ourselves as guardians rather than owners, protecting these mountains for present and future generations.

"We hope no-one would dream of selling any mountain so it can be defaced by an irresponsible millionaire. We would suggest that the anonymous would-be vandal has their head in clouds if they imagine that they can write a £12m cheque in return for the right to turn one of Scotland’s world-famous mountains into a monument to wealth and ego."

READ MORE: The Herald on the last bid to turn a Scottish mountain in to a Mount Rushmore 

A spokesman for the National Trust for Scotland, which cares of thousands of acres of upland areas including 45 Munro mountains in Scotland thought it was a non-starter.

HeraldScotland:

“Scotland’s wild scenery is lauded the world over and we’re of the opinion that our mountains are beautiful as they are. We doubt that any project that would impose yet more man-made features on Scotland’s landscapes would meet with the approval of most people, let alone other conservation organisations," he said.

“Generally, the conditions of our guardianship, not to mention the Unna Principles [to avoid any reduction in wild land quality] mean that, although we facilitate access through footpaths etc., our task is to conserve, protect and restore natural habitats with as little intervention as possible. An offer to buy on the basis of literally carving up said habitats would be refused by us."

Hushhush.com say the anonymous customer is also after a team of stone carvers and masons to do the work once the mountain has been purchased.

The request states that the multi-millionaire would like to remain anonymous, as the carving will be a surprise present for his family.

According to the multi-millionaire’s email, this is not the first extravagant present he’s bought for his family. Just two years ago he bought the family their very own tropical island so they can have luxury holidays in peace.

The emailed request said: "Thanks so much for helping me out last week, my wife loved the necklace – it was a great find!

HeraldScotland:

"I have another favour to ask you… I wonder if you know of any mountains being sold? Maybe a cliff face? The reason I ask is because I’d like to see if I can buy one and then carve my family’s face onto it as a surprise. It would be good to immortalise the family, and this is a fun and unique way to do it (I’m thinking Mount Rushmore style).

"I’ll need this to be top secret though, similar to the island I bought two years ago – the kids’ reaction to that was immense and I want to see what happens with this!

"Any ideas? Have about £12 million put aside for this so really want this to happen!"

Aaron Harpin, founder and chief executive of HushHush.com, said: "This customer is one that we have worked with since the beginning and has often sent us messages asking for specific items that aren’t currently on the site, all of which we have managed, but this one we need some help with!

“Obviously, he’s done his own research, as have we, but perhaps there’s a mountain or cliff face in the UK that we haven’t thought of yet, which is why we’re asking for the public’s help.”

HeraldScotland:

Most of Scotland's most popular mountains are already in some form of public or charitable ownership.

The upper slopes of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak, are owned by the John Muir Trust, named after the Scot who was credited with helping to establish the US's national parks. RSPB Scotland and National Trust for Scotland own the 4,295ft Ben Macdui.

But there are some privately owned mountains.

Lochnagar, which attracts tens of thousands of walkers and climbers each year is run by the Balmoral Estate.

HeraldScotland:

Stac Pollaidh which has been part of the Inverpolly Estate since 1960, is part of the Inverpolly National Nature Reserve and as such is heavily protected.

One of Scotland's most outstanding mountains, An Teallach in Wester Ross was sold to a private buyer in 2000.

The 3,400ft mountain, known as the Anvil, forms part of the Eilean Darach Estate which was on the market for over £1.7m.