A new path has been opened today between the Cambus o’ May suspension bridge and Ballater.The path had long been an aspiration of the local community to have a circular route via the suspension bridge and back to Ballater.
Dr Iona and Alice Carson, daughters of Clare Carson the owner of Inchmarnoch Estate, officially opened
the new path this morning (Wednesday 8 June).
The new 1.7km section follows where possible an old track on the south bank of the River Dee that once lead from a ferry crossing at Cambus o’ May to the hamlet of Pannanich and on to Ballater. On opening the path Dr Iona said: “I am delighted to open this core path, on behalf of the Carson family. The route connects Cambus o’ May Bridge to Ballater through land that we’ve had the privilege to enjoy and now it can be discovered
by many more on a smart new track”.
After the development of the Deeside Way along the old railway line the local community recognised the great potential for a return route south of the river. The community’s aspirations were formally recognised under the Core Path Planning process conducted by the Cairngorms National Park Authority in 2007 and the old route was identified as one the community would like to see re-established.
Brian Wood a Cairngorms National Park Authority Board member said: “I am delighted that this path has been completed and is now open to the public. I am particularly pleased about the role that the CNPA has played in bringing the main partners together to develop a network of paths across the National Park and also in helping to produce publicity and interpretive material to encourage people from both the locality and further afield to go out and enjoy this very special place”.
The Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) on behalf of its funding partners were tasked with developing the route. A number of landowners assisted in determining the line; Murray Swapp COAT’s East Cairngorms Access Projects Officer said: “COAT are very grateful to all the landowners who helped the local community realise the new route, in particular Inchmarnoch Estate, Glen Muick Estate, Glascorrie and the Forestry Commission”.
Funding assistance was crucial to the projects success, Murray said: “A successful application to Cairngorm LEADER coupled with funds from COAT’s funding partners enabled the project to go ahead here and at other core path locations throughout the Cairngorms National Park”.
To coincide with the opening COAT also launched their new Ballater paths leaflet developed in conjunction with the Cairngorms National Park Authority. Called ‘Ballater Paths – Explore Deeside’ the leaflet shows the low ground path network associated with Ballater and is available in local Tourist Information Centres and business outlets.
Robin Blyth, Chair of Ballater & Crathie Community Council said: “The new path and leaflet are a great asset in encouraging tourism and visitors to the area”. At a cost of £1 proceeds from the leaflet go towards the maintenance of paths in the Cairngorms National Park.