Runners, cyclists and hill-walkers are increasingly making use of access tracks at often remove Scottish wind farm sites to increase their physical fitness.
According to figures from the Strava data app, cyclists and runners have clocked up more than 13,000 miles (the distance between Scotland and Australia) in the past four years.
Strava allows users to record their routes using GPS devices or smartphones and then compare their timings for certain sections with other competitors online.
The most popular route is the ‘Whitelee Blue & Red’ track at Scottish Power’s Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow, which has been attempted 1,025 times by 351 people.
Some tracks have been visited by 420 outdoor athletes, while in contrast a 4.1-mile route which climbs almost 1,400ft uphill to Allt Dearg wind farm near Lochgilphead, Argyll, has been ridden by just one cyclist.
Other Scottish wind and hydro-power sites surveyed in the study include:
- Dalswinton, a 30MW wind farm near Ae, Dumfriesshire
- Braes O’Doune, a 72MW wind farm near Doune, Perthshire
- Black Law, a 124MW wind farm near Carluke, Lanarkshire
- Glendoe, a 100MW hydro scheme near Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, which opened in 2009
- Whitelee, a 539MW wind farm – the second-largest in Europe – near Eaglesham, Lanarkshire
- Crystal Rig, a 138MW wind farm near Cockburnspath, Borders – the 5.4-mile path here winds past the project’s electricity sub-station
- Fairburn, a 40MW wind farm near Contin, Inverness-shire
- Hagshaw Hill, a 42MW wind farm near Douglas, Lanarkshire
- Long Park, a 39MW wind farm near Galashiels, Selkirkshire
- Loch Sloy Hydro-Electric Scheme, Scotland’s most powerful hydro station, whose tracks are used by hikers to access Beinn Ime and Ben Vorlich
- Kilbraur, a 67MW wind farm partly owned by the community in Golspie, Sutherland
- Clachan Flats, a 15MW wind farm near Inveraray, Argyll
- Kelburn, a 28MW wind farm near Largs, Ayrshire
- Cruachan hydro power station, Lochawe, Argyll
- Allt Dearg, a 10MW wind farm near Ardrishaig, Argyll which is partly owned by the local community
- Auchmore, a one-turbine, 500kW wind turbine development near Muir of Ord, Ross-shire
- Bowbeat, a 31MW wind farm near Peebles, Borders
- Beinn Ghlas, a 14-turbine, 8MW wind farm near Taynuilt, Argyll
- Nant, an underground 15MW hydro scheme near Kilchrenan, Argyll.
Kenny Peberdy, UK Director for Scottish Power Renewables, commented: “Whitelee created 90 miles of new tracks across Eaglesham Moor, and opened up parts of the countryside that weren’t accessible before the wind farm was there.”