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Park Talk

18th December 2014

Author: Duncan Bryden

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” – is one of those movie quotes that the Monty Python team (Life of Brian 1979) cemented into the public psyche as shorthand for listing fundamental benefits we often take for granted.

The quote came to mind in a recent meeting when the CNPA Board heard about a range of recent investment and awards for the area – benefiting people, jobs, tourism, health and nature. Many of them won, in part at least, because of our National Park status.

The recent welcome £3.28 million pound award from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the People and the Mountains Project will provide jobs and training alongside restored upland paths in both the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Parks. Mountain sports like hill walking and therefore tourism and people’s health will benefit from these improved paths.

Tomintoul and Glenlivet were the only place in Scotland to win Heritage Lottery Fund money and support in the recent round of Landscape Partnership projects. Over four years the local community should benefit from around £2.5 million pounds from lottery funds with a further £1 million pounds from partners.

Travellers and tourists on the Lecht road will soon benefit from where the Scottish Government is investing around £100,000 in the Park, through the CNPA, to upgrade viewpoints along the A939 as part of their Scenic Routes programme. The programme also gives young up and coming architects the chance to showcase their skills.

Many people may have seen or heard recent coverage on BBC’s Landward TV programme and Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors about large scale repair of peatland areas deep in the Park and coordinated by the CNPA, to help combat climate change with £120,000 from the SNH Green Stimulus Fund.

Local folk and visitors are already benefitting from the extended Speyside Way creeping up the strath towards Newtonmore. Sustrans Community Links recently offered £115,000 to the CNPA towards completing path work to Kincraig with further funds at a similar level coming from the 2014 Commonwealth Games Legacy Fund. Sustrans has also recently invested funding to improve cycle provision for people in Kingussie.

Watchers of drama on Channel Five may have noticed programmes being sponsored by AirWick as part of their UK National Parks Fragrance range, another source of funding coming into the Cairngorms.

Autumn is Awards time in Scotland and in 2014 I was pleased to see entries and winners from National Park based businesses, community groups and projects in national and regional award schemes for, amongst others, food and drink, heritage, sustainable tourism, communications and nature.

Taken together, these investments and hard won awards are a real vote of confidence in the National Park and will benefit people who live and work here long into the future.