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Cairngorm Funicular Railway
Scottish environment threatened by leisure development
from 17th March 2000

An unbelievable act of environmental destruction is about to take place in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. A funicular railway is to be built which will involve blasting the rock on the upper slopes of the 4th highest mountain in Scotland. The railway will ferry one-stop coach party visitors up and skiers up the mountain.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise, in league with the Cairngorm Chairlift Company, are about to start blasting apart this very sensitive area of the Cairngorm mountain rock to build a funicular railway to a restaurant and access for skiers and tourists. Once destroyed, it will be virtually impossible to reverse.

The target tourist type is coach-party, quick-access, one day, in-and-out variety whereas this area needs tourists who are into spending more time and money there to do things like enjoy the landscape, the wildlife, outdoor pursuits etc. Skiers would be happy with a new, much cheaper and easily removed chairlift system.


Every single body and organisation (mountaineers, wildlife organisations, tourism bodies etc.) with a vested interest in the area and it's management as a recreational and ecological resource are totally against it. The RSPB and Worldwide Fund for Nature have fought a long, expensive and unsuccessful legal battle to try and stop it.

The governments own conservation body in Scotland (SNH) buckled under pressure and gave in their fight a while ago. The government seem to be pretty uninterested in the matter and have displayed nothing which demonstrates any knowledge or understanding of the problem. Celebrity ecologists like David Attenborough and David Bellamy are against it and have tried to help to no avail.

Other successful ski areas in sensitive parts of Scotland have developed an integrated and successful approach which, by and large, everyone is happy with. Attempts by the good guys to negotiate an integrated approach in the Cairngorms with the bad guys has been treated with contempt and intransigence.


The development will take place on public land and will be funded with taxpayers money and money from The Bank of Scotland. It is argued that there is no economic justification for it's success - it's just one big gamble which MIGHT make money. It's been said that, if it fails, the railway will be removed (again with the taxpayer paying). The 3 million contract for construction of the railway has gone to a company in right-leaning Austria.

It has also been reported that the blasting will attract cowboys who will be out to get their hands on valuable minerals which are present in these rocks, further adding to the complexity of the problem.

THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN and time is running out.... an environmental crime is about to be committed in a sacred, wild place ... we need these wilderness areas to remain as the jewels that they are - it IS possible with an integrated approach.

So far I have found nobody who is organising an action campaign and I am due to be out of the country when blasting begins. Please contact me if you want to become involved or can offer support, further contacts, links etc. Because this development is taking place high in a mountainous area this will provide a new challenge to environmental protesters as they will need to be highly fit, well-equipped and able to survive in the inhospitable conditions of the hill.


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