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CAIRNGORM HIT BY ROW - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Tuesday November 28, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

A dispute has broken out between snowsports enthusiasts and the company that runs Cairngorm Mountain. Some plan a boycott this winter. NEW




Frustration has been growing among some locals who oppose the way the ski area near Aviemore is being run.

The latest row centres on webcams.

It has resulted in bitter recriminations with allegations that private property has been "unlawfully removed" and complaints that the operators of the ski are are "intent on destroying skiing at Cairngorm".

Winterhighland, which provides updates and weather information for Scotland's ski areas, claims its three webcams at Cairngorm were taken down without authorisation on Friday.

The cameras, at a ski club's members' hut,  provide a good view of conditions on the mountain's main ski run.

Winter Highland Facebook postWinter Highland Facebook post
















"We believe that shortly before 10.30am on Friday 24th November Cairngorm Mountain Ltd staff entered the private property of the Scottish Ski Club without the Club's permission and took our webcams out of service - fulfilling a threat made by the General Manager in a phone call on Thursday afternoon," Winterhighland says on its Facebook page.

"We will not be bullied by the General Manager of CML, nor will we waver in our belief that the future of CairnGorm Mountain would be substantially brighter in the hands of the community."

Winterhighland has since said that it has reported the incident to Police Scotland.

Director Alan Mackay told PlanetSKI that the cameras were not simply dismantled but taken away from the site by CML.

"CML have offered us no reason or justification for their actions," he said.

"We are extremely disappointed with CML's behaviour over this.

"The webcams were widely used beyond just paying ski and board customers of CML as they give a real time indication of conditions, weather and temperature in the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms. The adjoining Corries to the west of the snowsports area are nationally important for winter climbing, and the mountain and plateau are extensively used for ski touring as well."

The decision to remove the webcams prompted a furious reaction on social media.

Many who responded said they intended to boycott Cairngorm in favour of one of the four other Scottish ski areas.

FB commentsFacebook reaction




















A minority expressed an alternative view.

"If you don't like Cairngorm, then simply don't go there.  I've had some great days up the Cairngorm and will continue to go if it suits me," said one comment.

"Whilst I sympathise with your plight you have spent the last few years slagging off Cairngorm pretty incessantly," said another. "Things are as they are and Cairngorms would probably love to get you off their patch and stop giving them bad publicity.  You'd all be better off trying to work together rather than trying to restore former glories!"


Cairngorm Mountain Ltd is part of Natural Retreats (NR) which is three years into a 25-year lease to run Cairngorm granted by the Scottish Government agency, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

On Monday, it put out this statement on its own Facebook page:

CML FB statementCairngorm Mountain Ltd Facebook statement













Winterhighland quickly retaliated.

"This statement from CairnGorm Mountain Ltd is not factual," it said.

"CML did not remove the webcams from the exterior of the SSC Hut, as the webcams were internal looking out windows of the hut and could only be removed by entry to the hut".

Ken Carruthers, vice president of the Scottish Ski Club told PlanetSKI that the club had been aware that CML wanted to remove the webcams as a result of a dispute between the company and Winterhighland.

He said the Club had wanted the cameras to remain as a valuable resource and wrote to CML asking if they could reach an understanding with Winterhighland to retain them.

Mr Carruthers said the Club had no axe to grind with either party and was "piggy in the middle" of the row.

He confirmed that the webcams had been dismantled without the Club's knowledge and without any member present.

He said CML has its own key to the hut for emergency access.

















One regular at Cairngorm described the row as childish, "a little bit handbags at dawn".

But what it clearly illustrates is that there is a huge gulf between the business charged with running operations on the mountain and many of those who use its services.

PlanetSKI asked Cairngorm Mountain Ltd for their response to the row and they gave us this statement on Tuesday afternoon:

Our team are working hard to install a new camera at the Scottish Ski Club hut at CairnGorm Mountain. The new camera was installed inside the building yesterday with the permission of the Scottish Ski Club, however we are experiencing delays with publishing the live feed. We expect this technical issue to be resolved imminently.
The new camera will be called The White Lady Piste, and will be visible alongside all of our Webcams on and our App.

This camera is a planned replacement for the previous one and we do apologise that this was not up and running straight away. We know that this camera location is used a lot by snowsports enthusiasts to plan their trip in advance and get live and accurate information about conditions at the resort. We would also like to take the opportunity to correct some misinformation we posted on our facebook page yesterday. The camera was located inside the hut and not on the exterior, this was an error on our part, and not intended to mislead anybody.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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