25-Year Masterplan for Cairngorm

The landowners of the Cairngorm Mountain ski area have published their long-term masterplan to turn the whole 3,500-acre estate into a ‘world-class mountain environment’.

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Highlands and Islands Enterprise has come up with 10 strategies to shape development following widespread consultation.

Local communities, business groups, sports and nature conservation organisations and public bodies were consulted.

In addition, more than 2,100 people took the opportunity to respond to detailed online questionnaires with their view.

Priorities for the next two years include:

  • Relocating the snow factory at Cairngorm Mountain
  • Electrifying snow cannons
  • Considering options for a new chairlift in Coire Cas
  • Creating a plan for mountain biking

HIE has already taken the decision to reinstate the funicular railway which has been out of action since September 2018 after structural defects were found.

The railway – the main lift for skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain – is due to come back into service next winter following strengthening works that are underway.

While some locals and visitors are opposed to the mountain railway being restored, HIE says a study carried out by specialist consultants in 2018-19 concluded the funicular was a unique Scottish attraction that should be maintained and enhanced.

It says the decision to repair it was based on a business case that also considered options to remove and replace the present structure.

Cairngorm Mountain base station – photo Trevor Martin/HIE (supplied)

The Masterplan is aimed at providing a “world-class mountain environment where nature thrives and people of all ages and abilities enjoy access to outdoor sport, recreation and education opportunities in every season of the year.”

HIE says it will also be reviewing options for future ownership and operating models for the Cairngorm Estate.

The focus of the Masterplan is on 10 strategies:

  • an all-year sustainable operating model
  • cohesive ecology and habitat restoration
  • promoting active travel and sustainable transport
  • a mountain for all
  • Scottish Centre for the Mountain Environment
  • excellent visitor experience
  • mountain biking
  • de-carbonising the mountain
  • access from the Ptarmigan building
  • monitoring implementation of new activities

“The long term sustainability of the Estate and its role in supporting the local community, the rural economy, snowsports and the wider tourism industry is a priority for the Scottish Government,” said Tourism Minister Ivan McKee.

“The masterplan will enable work to continue on more detailed plans to maximise its potential for present and future generations whilst protecting the mountain environment.”

At the top of Cairngorm Mountain – Photo Tim Winterburn /HIE (supplied)

The full document is available online at www.hie.co.uk/cairngorm


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