For many years volunteers have been carrying out the maintenance on the paths network around Kingussie. The work of individuals and groups improves existing paths as well as those created and improved in recent years by both contractors and local estates. The work carried out by individuals includes maintaining the signposts around the network and clearing encroaching vegetation.

The initial elements of the footpaths update saw contractor works, funded by the Cairngorm Trust, at the end of August 2019 which resulted in key upgrades to three sections of the local path network.  A lengthy muddy section on the core path from Kingussie to Newtonmore was resurfaced; a damaged bridge at Allt Gorton on the same route was repaired; and a steep section of steps and handrail on the Golf Course Circular path was made safe.

The new bridge at Allt Gorton and the new steps and railings on a steep section of the Golf Course Circular path.

During the latter stages of 2020, the concentration of work has been through volunteers working on the lower section of the path leading to ‘Kingussie’s Hill’, Creag Bheag.  This route is a very popular one, with numerous local residents climbing it on a regular basis, and many visitors enjoying the energetic climb to the top, and then the wonderful views over the Spey valley, Kingussie golf course and the Monadhliath mountains.  

The upper section of the 487m hill benefited from work carried out ten years ago as part of a mountain path training exercise by the Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust.  With resources brought in by helicopter, and a willing group of trainees, the pre-existing path was brought up to a very high standard.  However, time ran out and the lower section leading to West Terrace received no such upgrade… until the arrival on the Kingussie scene of Sandy Maxwell.

Sandy had previously worked on upland footpaths for the John Muir Trust.  Under his guidance, and with his expertise, the volunteer group of (mainly) retirees was established, and now 6-10 enthusiasts meet on a weekly basis for some hard work and good craic.  

Since the summer of 2020, around 500 man hours have resulted in the transformation of what had previously been a rocky/muddy and awkward 120 metre section through the installation of drainage ditches, cross drains, regular rock steps and solid sub surfaces.  

There is still a long way to go on this project, but plans are already taking shape for the future, with an indicative survey of the path from Tom Baraidh woods through to the Raitts settlement having been completed.

Power wheelbarrow

In addition to the funding from the Cairngorm Trust, the KCDC footpaths group has also been able to apply to the Co-op Communities scheme, which, thanks to local members raised over £5000 towards the project.  This funding has enabled the purchase of a power wheelbarrow, some tools for the volunteer group, and 30 tonnes of surfacing material for present and future works.

The first outing for the power barrow, was on the Golf Course Circular route, on a particularly muddy section above the 6th fairway.  Over two volunteer days, this path has now been transformed, and is now a far more accessible route for all.

  

The path maintenance volunteers have been gathering every Thursday (weather permitting). The work parties usually last from around 9.30am to 3.30pm but many volunteers only come for part of the day. 

Tools, training and supervision are supplied so volunteers with no or lots of experience are welcome.

If you are interested in coming along (or have any questions) please contact sandy.maxwell@kcdc.co.uk or telephone 07766 380 663 to join a mailing list to receive weekly updates. These updates will tell you where the work party will be meeting, what’s planned and any changes to dates due to weather forecasts.

New steps on a previously steep and muddy section.
  • Path Maintenance – June update
    In June we continued with the work on the Creag Bheag path – re-building, and in some instances, re-routing the path to try to avoid persistently muddy areas. This effort was matched with fine weather and again aided by willing hands from the KHS Rural Skills students. The target was always to join the new […]
  • Path Maintenance – May update
    We returned to Creag Bheag this month to complete the work we started last year. The major task was to transport surfacing material from the “drop” at Tait’s Brae up to the site – no mean feat! This meant bagging the material into sacks, loading the sacks into the power barrow, “driving” the barrow up […]
  • Tom Baraidh – path maintenance update
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  • New bench located on the Creag Bheag path
    On Friday we located a new (well, a refurbished one really…) bench at the junction of the Creag Bheag, Golf Course Circular and Newtonmore paths. Many thanks to everyone who manhandled the bench from the top of the golf course to its new location. Many hands made light work! Credits are due to: Gilmour Strang […]
  • Tom Baraidh woods path maintenance
    Great progress yesterday on the Tom Baraidh paths with new surfacing added to the foundations created over the previous two weeks. The eagle eyed of you may have spotted that the gate to the Raitts path has been removed. This is to allow access to hardcore material used for the path foundations. In future week’s […]