Cairngorm Mountain clear up works set to begin

Cairngorm Mountains. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL
Cairngorm Mountains. Picture: Ian Rutherford/TSPL
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Major clear up works on Cairngorm Mountain to improve the appearance of the Mountain to visitors when not covered in snow gets underway this month.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has awarded a contract to Aviemore based civil and environmental engineering firm McGowan Limited.

The £267,000 project is in addition to wider previously approved works to improve the facilities and ski-tow network.

Twenty four chairlift towers in Coire na Ciste, unused since 2005, will be removed along with associated cables, access ramps, motors, lift huts and derelict snowfencing.

Other remnants including concrete bases at the former White Lady T-Bar, Aonach Poma and Fiacaill T-Bar lift lines will also be removed.

HIE owns Cairngorm Estate, including the ski area which is critical to the Strathspey economy.

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Keith Bryers, the agency’s head of property and infrastructure, said: “This work will significantly enhance the appearance of Cairngorm and thereby contribute to the wider future success of the mountain as a year-round tourism attraction.”

The facilities on Cairngorm are operated by CairnGorm Mountain Limited (CML). CML has been owned by Natural Assets Investments Limited (NAIL) since 2014 and operated by its facilities management company, Natural Retreats.

CML has worked with HIE to identify the areas in need of attention and produce a schedule of the tasks required, most of which predate the current operator’s lease of the facilities.

Janette Jansson, General Manager at CairnGorm Mountain, said: “We are extremely pleased that this significant programme of work will shortly begin. This package of works allows for a cost effective and time efficient way to remove historical and redundant infrastructure from the ski area, much of which could pose a risk to public safety and negatively impacts the appearance of the mountain.

“We will soon see a visual improvement to the ski area around the old loading areas, where the structures and drive units of the old tows have been in disrepair for the past decade.

“At the same time, the reduction of tower bases and concrete plinths will also improve ground conditions in the immediate locale which is an additional benefit of this mountain clear up.

“Cairngorm Mountain is an important ski resort for Scotland and this work is part of a long term plan to enhance skiing conditions through improvements to lift and ski infrastructure.”

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Items removed from the site will be recycled where possible and proceeds from the sale of scrap metal will be donated to a local charity involved in promoting skiing to people with disabilities.

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CairnGorm Mountain and HIE are happy to answer any questions about the planned work to clear up the Mountain and the blog on http://www.cairngormmountain.org/ will be regularly updated to reflect progress on site.