Plans to extend the Speyside Way Long Distance Route from Aviemore to Newtonmore have taken a step forward with the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) agreeing in principle to a route, subject to further investigations and negotiations.
At a special meeting in Grantown on Friday (23 September), the board agreed to approve in principle the development of a route between Aviemore and Newtonmore and to delegate responsibility for resolving outstanding issues to staff who will work with members of the Speyside Way Management Group.
Head of Visitor Services and Recreation at the CNPA, Murray Ferguson said: “Now the board has considered the feedback we received during the consultation and approved the route in principle we can look ahead and plan the next steps. We still need to have quite a bit of discussion with interested parties about some of the sections but we are now making progress towards an agreed line. We are hopeful that we will soon be able to finalise proposals with Scottish Natural Heritage. It is of course for Ministers to make the final decision on the extension of the Speyside Way.”
The CNPA has new duties under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. The CNPA is the outdoor access authority for the Park and is charged with developing a network of core paths. As such, the organisation is now responsible for Long Distance Routes which go through the Park.
Investigations into the possible extension of the 84km Speyside Way from its terminus in Aviemore to Newtonmore began last year. There has been widespread support for some time to extend the route – which links the Moray coast to Strathspey – into Badenoch.
A consultation exercise on a preferred route for the extension – involving landowners, farmers, community councils, local footpath groups, accommodation providers and people who generally enjoy the outdoors – was concluded in March this year. Although the consultation related to one particular route, it did not preclude consideration of the alternatives.
In a separate paper to the board, members also approved funding totalling £57,000 for 2005/06 towards the management and maintenance of the existing 34 km of the route that lies within the Park boundary. The on-going costs for managing the route in future years are expected to be similar. However, with the planned extension, these yearly management and maintenance costs for the CNPA are likely to rise to £115,000.
To access both of these board papers in full, please click here.