Late August Update

It’s good to be able to report that Natural Retreats forwarded a copy of the consultants report with respect to the possibilty of developing Mountain Biking in the lower Ciste.

We took advantage of the good weather today and made a site visit into Coire na Ciste. We wanted to have a good look at how the Mountain Biking proposals fit in with everything else. It was clear to us that the these proposals have considerable merit and would have good potential for bringing in new summer revenue. That fits in very well with the view that year round use is the way forward for making a viable business case for Chairlift reinstatement.

These plans will be sympathetically added in to the overall plan. We also looked at the CML proposal to increase the length of the Ciste Chair but it is Save the Ciste’s continued view that this would increase reconstruction costs disproportionately to any actual benefit, which would provide minimal recreational gain, indeed would have some downsides and certainly no increased revenue for the additional spend.

We also took the opportunity to look at the potential site for a Hydro scheme Turbine plant house as well as where the burn would have to be dammed so that water could be piped into the turbine. The consultants report makes it very clear that a significant return on investment would accrue from such a scheme and it is our view that this should be done. Consequently, a small scale Hydro development will be included in the overall plan.

Meteorological data that was collected in Coire Cas in support of the case for snowmaking there has made it clear that skiing/boarding in the lower Aonach would be possible on over 100 days in an average season, with snowmaking. Accordingly, we suggest that the Lower Aonach should house a terrain park with a good number and range of features. This is one of the most sheltered locations on CairnGorm, where thanks too rather than despite the lower altitude, maintaining a quality park would be considerably easier than the exceptionally exposed upper mountain.

There is a great deal still to be done and while we are uncovering more questions than we’ve answers for at the moment, new and exciting opportunities are also coming to light. We’ve a tentative arrangement to meet up with Natural Retreats senior management at the beginning of October and the plans will become clearer follwing these further discussions.

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