Friends of the Ochils (FotO) was founded by Rennie McOwan in 1993. It is the only organisation concerned specifically with the landscape of the entire Ochils. We cross the geography of council boundaries and have a general interest in all aspects of the Ochils. What links it all together is the landscape and our enjoyment of it.

While recognising that some change is inevitable, we campaign to protect the Ochils from intrusive and inappropriate developments, such as wind farms, quarry developments and power lines. As an independent voluntary organisation, we believe that we can influence change for the better.

Our main aims are to:

  • protect and conserve the landscape, wildlife and natural beauty of the Ochils, and their historical and social character;
  • encourage implementation of good planning policies;
  • support responsible public access consistent with the conservation of the landscape and the needs of those who earn a living on or from the hills.

If you support these aims, why not join us and become a Friend of the Ochils?

Our belief

Although we have campaigned long and hard against proposals to construct many large and small wind farms in the Ochils, and to erect a long line of giant electricity transmission pylons across Sheriffmuir and down the Ochils scarp face, Friends of the Ochils is in no way anti-renewable energy.

Our concerns relate always to the specific ways in which proposed developments – be they wind farms, giant power lines, huge quarries or whatever – will impinge on the landscape and character of the Ochils, and how that will affect the public’s ability to continue to enjoy all that these lovely hills have to offer.

The Ochils are too small, in both scale and extent, to be able to absorb such major developments without serious damage to their attractiveness. Many people feel a strong need to get out into the hills for recreation and re-creation, to ‘get away from it all’. To do this, they need the hills to retain a strong sense of being unspoilt, wild and natural; to be free from the ravages of large-scale, modern industrial development.

We are deeply concerned about climate change, but we believe that renewable energy developments should use less sensitive locations, or (in the case of the power line) use technology that is better suited to sensitive locations, i.e. putting it under the sea, or underground.

Key work

To find out more about some of our key work to protect the Ochils, please click on the following headings: