ANTI-wind-farm protestors launched an aerial stunt yesterday to demonstrate the impact 30 proposed towering turbines would have on the central Caithness skyscape.
The principals in a public local inquiry arrived for a site visit to be greeted by the sight of an orange air balloon hovering in the skies to the east of Spittal Hill.
The six-metre long blimp was hired by Spittal Windfarm Opposiiton Group, which is represented at the inquiry by QC John Campbell.
Refused access to the farmland earmarked for the development, the group based it about half a kilometre to the east.
The balloon was tethered to the tractor of group chairman John Brown, who farms at Upper Larel, near Watten.
It floated 110 metres above ground the projected height to the tip of the blades of the turbines.
Stuart Young, who chairs Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, believed it had served its purpose.
He said: "All in all I thought it was a successful demonstration of just how high these turbines would be. It was unfortunate the developers didn't allow it to be flown on the site of the wind farm but it gave a clear indication of the height of these turbines. We reckon the blimp would be about the same size as the nacelle part of the turbine."
Inquiry reporter Trevor Croft and the legal representatives went on a four-hour return tour from Halkirk which took them through Georgemas, Dunn, Mybster and Spittal.
The formal part of the inquiry is due to resume this morning (Friday) in Halkirk's Ross Institute with evidence from the Highland Council's landscape and policy expert David Tyldesley.
Spittal Windfarm Ltd is seeking planning consent for what would the biggest wind farm in Caithness.
The inquiry was prompted by an objection from the Highland Council with the final decision resting with Scottish ministers.