The path over Creag Bheag is the jewel in the crown of the path network around Kingussie. After over a decade of various sections of improvements this summer will see all those sections joined up.
A grant from the Scottish Mountaineering Trust (SMT) of £9,000 will allow volunteers from the Kingussie Community Development Company (KCDC) to take 100 tons of surfacing up to the top of the hill by helicopter.
The SMT funds footpath repairs and many other projects that promote recreation, knowledge and safe enjoyment of the mountains. The SMT’s recent grants have helped footpath restoration on hills such as Goatfell and Beinn a Ghlo. Their support follows KCDC path group’s award as the Scottish Community Paths Group of the year for 2022.
Creag Bheag has had footpath work carried out by both professional contractors and more recently by KCDC volunteers. In 2011 & 2014 trainees from the Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust learnt their trade on the south side of the hill and some of them returned as Cairngorm Wilderness Contractors Ltd to work on the north side down to Loch Gynack in 2013. From 2020 the KCDC volunteers have improved over 400metres of path on the lower south side.
On Friday the 19th May a helicopter will carry 100 bags of mineral dust up Creag Bheag. This dust makes an excellent path surface and comes from the Alvie quarries. KCDC have a great working relationship with the land owner Pitmain Estate who once again are supplying their digger to fill all the helibags.
Walkers will be encouraged to avoid the path up Creag Bheag for the day while the helicopter is flying.
Grants from KCDC’s hydro fund and the Cairngorm National Park Authority will top up the grant from the SMT to £14,000 and all the work using the surfacing on the hill will be carried out by volunteers.
The KCDC paths group meets every Thursday and will be up Creag Bheag most of the summer laying the material delivered by the helicopter and improving drainage. They will be working to contain the sprawl of the path near the summit and join up previous works to the same high standard. Weekend and even evening volunteer sessions will be arranged and new volunteers are encouraged to come along to learn the techniques of sensitive path building.
To join the paths email list go to the paths page on the KCDC.co.uk website.
As the numbers of large bags alongside the path go down through the summer the work put in by KCDC’s footpath volunteers will blossom and show fruit. By the autumn of this year the path over Creag Bheag will be substantially improved for both Kingussie residents and visitors to enjoy.