IT is one of Scotland’s most celebrated mountains – immortalised by no less a figure than Lord Byron who praised its “steep frowning glories” in his poem Lachin Y Gair.

Prince Charles is also a fan and gave the peak a starring role in a book he wrote to entertain princes Andrew and Edward when they were children.

Now, thanks to staff at Balmoral, the beauty of Lochnagar has been enhanced further after miles of electricity pylons were removed. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has replaced over 4.5km (2.8miles) of overhead lines with underground cables in Glen Muick, which is part of the Queen’s private estate in the Cairngorms National Park.

Instead of seeing an electrical junction box and a row of poles, walkers can enjoy unobstructed views all the way to the 3,789 ft high summit.

It is part of the power company’s £15 million investment programme to put 90km (56 miles) of overhead distribution lines underground in areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and national scenic areas in the north of Scotland and central southern England.

Glyn Jones, who is a ranger at Balmoral Castle and Estate, nominated the Glen Muick area for inclusion.

“I first heard of the scheme online and was fortunate enough to bump into a couple of SSEN staff in Glen Muick who had a chat with me about it,” he said.

“I nominated Glen Muick as it is a very important place for tourism locally. “Over 100,000 people visit Glen Muick every year and now, after they leave the forest, instead of seeing an electrical junction box and row of poles, they can enjoy an unobstructed view all the way to the summit of Lochnagar.”

He added: “We were very happy to work in partnership with SSEN on this project and our contractor did a great job of trenching and reinstating the ground.

“The project has definitely improved the landscape quality and wild character of the upper part of Glen Muick that thousands of people come to see every year and we are delighted with the result.”

Michael Hilferty, head of SSEN’s North Caledonia Region, recognised the important role that community input and feedback had played in the scheme.

“Our overhead lines and wooden poles offer a secure and cost-effective way of safely distributing electricity to our customers, but we also appreciate that some people feel they have a detrimental impact on the natural environment in officially designated beauty spots,” he said.

“The public consultation part of the AONB scheme is vital, as it provides local people and visitors to these beauty spots the chance to share their views, which in turn helps us make sure we’re investing in the right places where we know it will make a real difference.”

Lochnagar has been an attraction for visitors to the estate since lockdown restrictions were first eased.

The area is particularly loved by Prince Charles, who stays at nearby Birkhall with his wife Camilla.

Such is his affection for the mountain that he immortalised it in his illustrated 1980 children’s book, The Old Man Of Lochnagar, which tells the story of an old man who leaves his cave in the cliffs for adventures in the countryside.

Originally written by the prince to entertain Prince Andrew and Prince Edward as children, the book was later made into an animated short film by the BBC, with Robbie Coltrane providing the voice of the hermit and Charles narrating.

The prince has also captured the mountain in watercolour. In 2017, one of his prints of Lochnagar was sold for £4,000 at auction to raise money for the Atlantic Salmon Trust, of which he is patron.

But Lochnagar has also become a dumping ground for some walkers, sparking Royal anger.