22nd May 2009
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham has approved, in principle, the extension of the Speyside Way through the Cairngorms National Park between Aviemore and Newtonmore.
The decision follows the long held desire of communities within Badenoch and Strathspey for the lengthening of the path, which currently runs from Spey Bay to Aviemore.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), which drew up the report for the Minister on the best route to take, has welcomed the Minister’s decision.
The next stage of the process will be to develop a funding package and seek planning and other permissions for the route. The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), working along with key partners will be starting to take both these tasks forward over the next few months.
David Green, the CNPA’s Convener, said: “The need to improve walking and cycling links between Aviemore and the communities to the south is long overdue. The approval from the Minister gives the green light for this to go ahead and whilst a great deal of work still remains to be done, I welcome this announcement.”
Local Highland Councillor and CNPA board member Gregor Rimmell welcomed the decision of the Minister.
He added: “Highland Council is looking forward to playing its part with partners in developing the route.”
Mr Rimell added his thanks to fellow Highland Councillor and CNPA board member Dave Fallows for all his work and to CNPA officials
The Speyside Way is one of four official Long Distance Routes in Scotland (the others are the West Highland Way, the Southern Upland Way and the Great Glen Way). It was first opened in 1981, to run from Spey Bay to Ballindalloch, with a spur to Tomintoul being added in 1990.
A northern extension from Spey Bay to Buckie followed, with the route being extended again from Ballindalloch to Aviemore in April 2000.
The Speyside Way is managed by the Moray Council on behalf of Moray Council, the CNPA and the Highland Council.
The CNPA funds management and maintenance of the route within the Park boundaries with Moray and Highland Councils funding the route within their own area outwith the National Park.