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Highland film industry manager says turbines could threaten the future of the industry

Tobias Menzies as Jack Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in Outlander.
Tobias Menzies as Jack Randall and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser in Outlander.

A north film industry manager claims building more wind farms in scenic parts of the Highlands could threaten the future of film and television production in the region.

Robert McClymont, who runs his own film production services business in Kinlochleven, said it is vital that both the film and wind power industries work together to ensure the most picturesque areas are avoided.

Mr McClymont has been working in the industry for the last 12 years, mainly with production crews involved in shooting period dramas who do not want turbines in their backdrop.

Tourist attractions bank on the Outlander effect

Mr McClymont, who has been an extra in the hit Outlander series, said: “Once you change the landscape with wind turbines it’s changed forever. The less locations and less options we have, the less quality locations there are available. There is a danger of losing the most historic filming areas.

“I would say turbines are a threat (to the film industry). All industries need to show some common sense and work together for the best outcome.”

In 2016, Outlander author Diana Gabaldon claimed that Highland tourism will suffer if giant windfarms continue being built.

The American writer, whose popular fantasy books were made into a worldwide TV blockbuster, said that “screwing up” the landscape would screw up tourism.

She previously voiced objections against a planned windfarm near Loch Rannoch, where scenes for the show were filmed.

Colin Simpson, who oversees tourism and film for Highland Council, said that although turbines might not be the most suitable features for filming, there are thousands of acres of scenic space across the Highlands which are.

He said: “From our point of view there is no evidence it’s (building wind turbines) having any negative effect.”

Mr Simpson added that the film industry is stronger than ever, with 243 project inquiries in 2017-18 from companies wanting to film in the Highlands compared to 198 the previous year – a 23% increase.

He said one major factor is that locations in Skye used in recent years for blockbuster movies like Transformers and the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) are becoming better known.

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