2nd Octrober 2014 - Join The Strathspey Railway and Support Marie Curie This October!
2nd October 2014 - A Santa Express Sell-Out By October Sees The Strathspey Railway Add Special Evening Services To Its 2014 Festive Schedule.
2nd October 2014 - The Strathspey Railway’s biggest ever season will be enhanced further with additional services confirmed for this autumn.
10th July 2014 - First Services Since 1965 Are Set To Run Along Strathspey Railway’s Extension Line This Summer
3rd July 2014 - Peppa Pig Joins Strathspey Railway for Its Biggest Summer Family Event Ever!
18th June 2014 - CairnGorm Mountain Funicular Closure
22-27th June 2014
12th June 2014 - Natural Retreats
are official operators of Cairngorm Mountain
4th June 2014 - Just in time for Summer – Landmark wins top Scottish prize in the Netmums Outdoor Play Awards
26th May - CairnGorm Mountain Retains Gold Status in Green Tourism Awards
20th May 2014 -
CairnGorm prepares for summer of activities
April 2014 - New operator and multi-million pound investment announced for CairnGorm Mountain
5th February 2014 -
Aviemore and the Cairngorms, number 1 family destination in Europe?
Join The Strathspey Railway and Support Marie Curie This October!
The Strathspey Railway and the Cairngorms Hotel are hosting a Special Steamin’ Lunch in support of Marie Curie Cancer Care on Thursday 9th October.
The annual event, in which all funds raised from ticket and Light Lunch sales go straight to the charity’s Highland nurses, raised a total £1586 in 2013.
The Special offers the perfect chance for local residents and visitors to the Cairngorms National Park to support a fantastic cause and enjoy a soup and sandwich lunch while travelling along the historic line between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill.
The Strathspey Railway Special supports the 32 Highland nurses that provided nearly 20,000 hours of care to 379 patients throughout the North of Scotland. The high quality nursing care is provided totally free of charge and gives people with terminal cancer and other illnesses the choice of dying at home, supported by their families.
Deborah Quinn, The Strathspey Railway’s Marketing Officer said that “The Special raises funds for a truly invaluable cause and supports those that are experiencing very difficult times. The Strathspey Railway is delighted to continue working with the Cairngorms Hotel and Marie Curie with this annual special and it offers the perfect opportunity for local communities to support this great cause. By purchasing the Steamin’ Lunch tickets, all of the funds you are raising are going straight to sustaining this fantastic cause!”
Local residents and visitors to the National Park can get involved by joining Strathspey Railway’s Marie Curie Steamin’ Lunch Special on 9th October on the 12pm service departing Aviemore Station. Tickets must be purchased in advance, on Strathspey Railway’s website: www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk
All tickets purchased for this special include your return journey rail travel, soup, sandwiches, tea and coffee served on board. There will also be a raffle held on the day with some fantastic prizes up for grabs!
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A Santa Express Sell-Out By October Sees The Strathspey Railway Add Special Evening Services To Its 2014 Festive Schedule.
The Strathspey Railway’s biggest calendar event of the year has seen its schedule enhanced due to a Santa Express sell-out!
Despite tickets only going on sale in August, The Strathspey Railway had already sold all 4000 Santa Express 2014 seats by 1st October 2014.
The Santa Express, which welcomed more visitors than ever before in 2013, takes visitors through the magical winter wonderland of the Scottish Highlands between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill. Santa will be on board with presents for all of the Railway’s young guests while mums, dads, grandparents and all the family are served festive mince pies and mulled wine.
The sell-out is a result of the Railway’s Facebook competition in which a First Class Compartment is up for grabs for one very lucky family this December. The winners will enjoy a stunning Christmas trip in their own private compartment. The Facebook competition post has already been shared by over 4000 of the Railway’s friends, with over 460,000 people having seen the post in their timelines on the social media platform. The competition closes on 13th October, when the winner of this very special prize will be announced!
“The Railway is delighted that so many of our online friends have again been so eager to participate in our annual Santa Express competition,” said Deborah Quinn, Marketing Officer, Strathspey Railway. “The Santa Express has been our biggest calendar event over the last few years and to see it sell out so early is absolutely amazing. It’s a fantastic experience and the decision was made to add these new Santa Express dates to make sure families weren’t missing out this Christmas. We’ve also added more Mince Pie Special services to our 2014 festive period – so we have more trains than ever before offering amazing wintry experiences over the Christmas and New Year period”.
Tickets for the Santa Express and Mince Pie Specials at Strathspey Railway are available to book online at www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk
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The Strathspey Railway’s biggest ever season will be enhanced further with additional services confirmed for this autumn.
The heritage railway, which will run steam train services between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park throughout October, has added services on 15th and 16th October due to the significant demand requested in recent weeks by visitors and locals to the Park. These additional services will offer guests the perfect opportunity to experience the stunning scenery the Park boasts, while also enjoying exclusive dining on board and a host of optional tour packages as you steam through a truly unique, autumnal setting over the forthcoming holidays.
Demand for the services has been particularly high this year and these specials also offer visitors the perfect chance to explore Boat of Garten and the stunning walks and cycle trails in the village and surrounding area. Free maps of the Boat of Garten autumn walks are available at the Railway’s Boat of Garten and Aviemore Station, subject to availability.
Tickets for these special autumn services, and all October services are available to book online on Strathspey Railway’s website – www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk
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First Services Since 1965 Are Set To Run Along Strathspey Railway’s Extension Line This Summer
Strathspey Railway invites visitors along part of their recently extended line towards Grantown on Spey on exclusive services this July and August.
As well as offering visitors and locals an exclusive opportunity to see for themselves the developments that have been made over recent months in the Rails to Grantown project, these special services mean that those visiting will be the very first to travel along a line that has not been used since its official closure on 18th October 1965.
In February this year, Strathspey Railway crossed a monumental hurdle in its ambition to extend its heritage line from Aviemore to Grantown-on-Spey, by installing a bridge across the River Dulnain. It was thanks to the work of local and national organisations, as well as Railway volunteers, that this feat was accomplished.
This major achievement moved the Rails to Grantown project significantly closer to completion. Extending the heritage line from its current terminus, Broomhill, will directly link Aviemore and Grantown and will provide a major boost to the Spey Valley area. As well as offering locals a well-connected transportation link to the national rail network, this extension will improve the visitor experience in the Cairngorms National Park and will significantly increase the number of visitors travelling between Aviemore and Grantown-on-Spey.
Every Wednesday and Thursday, from 16th July to 28th August, Strathspey Railway visitors will get the chance to travel along the extended area of line, stopping just short of the recently installed River Dulnain Bridge. Work beyond the bridge continues and the Railway’s exclusive diesel service will offer the perfect chance to see the advancements made and where the extension is moving towards.
David Fraser, Strathspey Railway’s CEO, highlighted that “we’re delighted with the progress that the Rails to Grantown project has made over recent months, and everyone can clearly see how much closer we’re getting to Grantown On Spey. These special services over the main summer months offer the perfect opportunity for visitors, local residents and local businesses to see for themselves how much we have progressed and how close we are to Grantown on Spey”.
A vintage diesel service will take visitors from Aviemore, through Boat of Garten, on to Broomhill, and for the first time, a further ¾ mile beyond Broomhill to offer a panoramic view of this historic area.
Tickets for the special summer services are available to book online at www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk
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Peppa Pig Joins Strathspey Railway for Its Biggest Summer Family Event Ever!
Scotland’s premier heritage railway is set to welcome Peppa Pig on her first visit to The Highlands!
Strathspey Railway, which runs steam and vintage diesel services between Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill throughout the year, will welcome Peppa as she celebrates her 10th anniversary year at the Railway’s Summer Family Special!
Families from all over Scotland have been quick to book their tickets and make sure they’re joining in the fun at Strathspey Railway’s biggest ever Summer Event – but there are still some tickets available for this August’s special on Strathspey Railway’s website.
As well having the chance to meet Peppa Pig, the Special is packed with a host of other guests and entertainment - magic shows, competitions, and some special animal visitors will be at Strathspey Railway’s Stations throughout the day, and younger guests can also take part in Peppa’s Holiday Fun – with a hunt for Peppa’s hidden splashes all around the station planned!
“We’re all very excited for our biggest summer event ever”, said Deborah Quinn, Marketing Officer, Strathspey Railway. “Normally our Santa Express is the biggest event on our calendar, but this Summer Family Special will be huge as we welcome one of the world’s most well-known TV characters, Peppa Pig, to our Railway in her special 10th Anniversary! A fantastic family day out is guaranteed with plenty of fun packed into everyone’s visit!”
Tickets and further information regarding the event can be found on Strathspey Railway’s website –www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk
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CairnGorm Mountain Funicular Closure 22-27th June 2014
June 2014…/ Visitors to Cairngorm
Mountain during the week of 22-27 June will not be able to travel
on the UK’s longest and highest funicular railway, as it will
be undergoing some essential maintenance during this period. However
they will be able to view the breath-taking sight of one of the 15-tonne
carriages being lifted off the track and suspended in the air while
its bogeys are removed for replacement as part of a routine cycle of
maintenance of the 14-year-old funicular. The timing of the work has
to be co-ordinated with the availability of the replacement bogeys and
of the supplier’s availability to help with the work. The
annual inspection of the track will take place at the same time. Visitors
to the ticket office in the Base Station will be able to see the suspended
carriage through the windows of the ticket office concourse.
The Mountain Shop and Cas Bar in the Day Lodge will remain open during
this period (22-27 June) and toilets for use by walkers will be available
there. The ticket office will also be open as the meeting and starting
point for a whole programme of guided walks of different lengths which
comprise the inaugural CairnGorm Mountain Walking Festival from
23-27 June. Rangers and guides will be on hand to take
visitors around the wonderful mountain trails and to see unique wildlife.
There are two grades of walk: Hill Walks starting at 10am, for which participants
will need boots and kit for a full day out; and Medium walks which can
be enjoyed in boots or good sturdy shoes. The medium walks are shorter
and start at 1.30pm. The programme includes guided walks to Ben Macdui,
Shelter Stone and Cairn Lochan. All the walks are bookable online.
The Ptarmigan building at the Top Station will be closed throughout this
About Natural Retreats
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail
away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.
Mark Twain’s quote is as relevant today as it’s always been
and reflects the sense of freedom and adventure we like our guests to experience
on a Natural Retreats escape.
At Natural Retreats we pride ourselves on being a unique leisure and travel
company offering extraordinary experiences at a selection of stunning coastal,
countryside and wilderness locations around the world. We all work and
live by the principles that underpin the company forever on a quest to
help or guests and customers explore, dream and discover.
We are your guides to life's most amazing experiences and guardians of
quality time understanding how important your leisure time is to collect
moments to form memories that will last a lifetime.
Natural Retreats truly believes in sustainability, the communities and
landscapes within which we develop are the real amenities. We have a real
passion for these rural communities; after all, this is where its founder,
Matthew Spence, came from having developed the first location in the Yorkshire
Dales on his family farm back in 2006.
Now, Natural Retreats operates 18 destinations across Europe and the USA,
each offering extraordinary experiences, activities and accommodation.
Highlights include John O’Groats, North Highlands, Scotland, Trewhiddle,
South Cornwall, England, Tsaina Lodge in Alaska and South Fork Lodge, Idaho,
About Cairngorm Mountain resort
The Cairngorm mountain railway is a unique Scottish visitor attraction.
A highly ambitious and complex construction project in a sensitive and
challenging mountain environment, the funicular carried its first passengers
on Christmas Eve 2001, and was officially opened in June 2002. Just under
two kilometres long, it replaced an outdated chairlift access system which
had carried skiers up and down the mountainside since the 1960s. The funicular
was designed to strengthen the tourism sector, which is a vital part of
the local economy in what is now the Cairngorms National Park.
It enables snowsports enthusiasts to access the mountain in conditions
which would have closed the chairlift, and provides summer visitors with
an easy and enjoyable route into the heart of some of Scotland's most beautiful
scenery. At the top station, visitors can experience spectacular mountain
views, dine in the Ptarmigan restaurant, and learn about the history and
geography of Cairngorm in an interactive exhibition. The Cairngorm plateau
is a highly sensitive environment, home to many rare and fragile plant
species, so access to the mountainside is carefully controlled. Operations
on the site are currently managed by Natural Retreats.
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are official operators of Cairngorm Mountain
wider vision for
June 2014/ Natural
Retreats, the specialist leisure and travel company, are delighted
to officially take over operations at Cairngorm Mountain today, marking
the beginning of a 25-year long-term lease.
Renowned for offering customers and guests high quality
tourism based experiences in some of the most dramatic natural locations
around the world, Natural Retreats have been operating since 2004, when
the company was founded by Matthew Spence.
Spence, Chief Executive Officer at Natural Retreats,
said: “Today is a fantastic day for both Natural Retreats and
Cairngorm Mountain. We have a highly ambitious vision for the next 25
years, and want to elevate this incredible destination.
It’s the most remarkable natural landscape,
located in one of the world’s most beautiful countries, and provides
the ultimate playground for mountain bikers, triathletes, skiers, hikers,
We will build the best Terrain Park in the world
here, and my long-term goal is to host the summer and winter X Games
at Cairngorm Mountain. This is a world-class destination and Natural
Retreats want to build a stable of winter and summer sports athletes
from this spectacular base.
We will nurture, develop and create future British
Olympians at Cairngorm Mountain. These athletes will win gold medals
at the Winter Olympics in 2018 and the Summer Olympics in 2020 - we
want to bring a true sense of pride and place to one of Scotland’s
most incredible assets.
Natural Retreats strives to enable people to enjoy
a way of life in a natural world, and we want to deliver world-class
experiences at Cairngorm Mountain for everybody. We are big believers
in access for all, and this remarkable landscape, thanks to the funicular,
can be enjoyed by everyone, despite age or ability.
This is what makes Cairngorm Mountain so special
to me. I have a sincere belief that we have an obligation to expose
ourselves and future generations to the true beauty of nature, to enjoy
experiences that build lifelong memories.
As a child, my father, who I lost at a very young
age, took me to Yellowstone National Park. That experience left a lasting
impression on me. It exposed me to the richness of the outdoors and
it is this feeling, those childhood memories, which drive Natural Retreats.
We want to mobilise the public and help them enjoy
the natural world. To enjoy that feeling when you watch a sunset from
a mountain top, that feeling when you’re exploring a National
Park for the first time, that feeling when you watch your youngest daughter
take to the slopes. If only I could bottle up and sell that feeling – that
is the lifeblood that runs through the company.
We recognise the challenges at Cairngorm Mountain
and we know we need to improve the facilities here, but we have a long-term
vision that will be realised over time.
We will improve all aspects of the Resort – building
a leading nursery slope for beginners who will enjoy world-class lessons.
The current Day Lodge will be replaced with a Centre of Excellence for
athletes, and it is from here that we will develop future gold medal
winners. It will also provide a Centre of Activity for children and
a Centre of Experience for all.
We want to work hand-in-hand with local businesses
and the community – this is integral, and together we will elevate
ideas and ambition. We want Cairngorm Mountain and Aviemore to compete
with Mont-Blanc and Chamonix, with Vail Resort and Boulder. Aviemore
has all the assets to become the Adventure Capital of Europe, and the
wider area offers some of the best experiences around.”
In April, Natural Retreats revealed a £6.2m five-year
investment plan that will secure the future of Cairngorm Resort for the
next 25 years. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is supporting the
development with a £4m loan to replace the current Day Lodge.
Natural Retreats’ business plan is to further develop
snowsports and diversify the business into a high quality, year-round
attraction. Key objectives are to provide more activities at the Resort,
offer a diverse snowsports destination, create a full day of summer activities,
create a higher quality product offering, increase new and repeat visitation,
increase food & beverage outlets, range and quality of offerings,
expand retail offering and improve quality and profitability of retail
lines, create a new Activity Centre and a new Education Centre.
HIE will continue to own Cairngorm Estate, including
the funicular and associated infrastructure on the mountain. The new arrangement
has seen the ownership of current operator Cairngorm Mountain Ltd transfer
from HIE to Natural Retreats.
About Natural Retreats
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the
bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your
sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain’s quote is as relevant today as it’s
always been and reflects the sense of freedom and adventure we like our
guests to experience on a Natural Retreats escape.
At Natural Retreats we pride ourselves on being a unique
leisure and travel company offering extraordinary experiences at a selection
of stunning coastal, countryside and wilderness locations around the world.
We all work and live by the principles that underpin the company forever
on a quest to help or guests and customers explore, dream and discover.
We are your guides to life's most amazing experiences
and guardians of quality time understanding how important your leisure
time is to collect moments to form memories that will last a lifetime.
Natural Retreats truly believes in sustainability, the
communities and landscapes within which we develop are the real amenities.
We have a real passion for these rural communities; after all, this is
where its founder, Matthew Spence, came from having developed the first
location in the Yorkshire Dales on his family farm back in 2006.
Now, Natural Retreats operates 18 destinations across
Europe and the USA, each offering extraordinary experiences, activities
and accommodation. Highlights include John O’Groats, North Highlands,
Scotland, Trewhiddle, South Cornwall, England, Tsaina Lodge in Alaska
and South Fork Lodge, Idaho, USA.
About Cairngorm Mountain resort
The Cairngorm mountain railway is a unique Scottish
A highly ambitious and complex construction project
in a sensitive and challenging mountain environment, the funicular carried
its first passengers on Christmas Eve 2001, and was officially opened
in June 2002.
Just under two kilometres long, it replaced an outdated
chairlift access system which had carried skiers up and down the mountainside
since the 1960s.
The funicular was designed to strengthen the tourism
sector, which is a vital part of the local economy in what is now the
Cairngorms National Park.
It enables snowsports enthusiasts to access the mountain
in conditions which would have closed the chairlift, and provides summer
visitors with an easy and enjoyable route into the heart of some of Scotland's
most beautiful scenery.
At the top station, visitors can experience spectacular
mountain views, dine in the Ptarmigan restaurant, and learn about the
history and geography of Cairngorm in an interactive exhibition.
The Cairngorm plateau is a highly sensitive environment,
home to many rare and fragile plant species, so access to the mountainside
is carefully controlled.
Operations at the site are currently managed for HIE
by CairnGorm Mountain Ltd (CML), which became a subsidiary of the enterprise
agency in 2008. HIE has always been clear, however, that its ownership
of the operating company was not intended to be a long-term arrangement.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is a non-departmental
public body of the Scottish Government, with a unique remit which
integrates economic and community development.
Active across half of Scotland, from Shetland to Argyll
and from the Hebrides to Moray, HIE pursues four priorities to achieve
Supporting businesses and social enterprises
to shape and realise their growth aspirations
Strengthening communities and fragile areas
Developing growth sectors, particularly
distinctive regional opportunities
Creating the conditions for a competitive
and low carbon region
HIE has an annual budget of more than £75m and
employs around 300 people in locations around the Highlands and Islands.
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MAKE PLAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES!
Just in time for Summer – Landmark wins top Scottish prize in the Netmums Outdoor Play Awards
Local attraction, Landmark Forest Adventure Park, has been voted one of the UK’s top outdoor play centres for 2014, in the UK’s biggest parenting awards.
Landmark scooped the prize in the prestigious National Outdoor Play Awards for the Scotland region, run by the UK’s top parenting site Netmums.com.
Located in Carrbridge 7 miles north of Aviemore, Landmark was crowned the regional winner, with 4 runners up also honoured.
The latest figures show the outdoor attractions sector is worth a whopping £480m to the UK economy and the awards were set up to recognize the growing number of outdoor attractions catering for families across the country.
Recent studies have found modern kids spend only ten per cent of their time playing outdoors, four times less than their parents’ generation – but parenting experts are calling for youngsters to spend much more time outside.
Over 1.7 million mums, dads and child carers who are registered Netmums members were eligible to cast their votes in the awards, to find the UK’s best-loved outdoor attractions.
Danny Fullerton, General Manager of Landmark Forest Adventure Park commented “This is wonderful news for the Landmark Team. We devote a huge amount of time and effort in trying to deliver what our visitors want. We try to provide an invigorating and stimulating outdoor and indoor experience where kids - of all ages - can be active, learn, achieve and be entertained time and time again. Winning the country’s top award directly from our family market is a huge vote of confidence. This will inspire us to keep improving the Attraction and be worthy of the title ‘Scotland’s Best’. We would like to send out a huge thank you to all the parents who took the time to vote for us – it is a great honour”.
The winners will be awarded prizes including a special certificate to display at their venue, an exclusive badge for their website listing, free advertising on Netmums and promotion on the Netmums Awards Pages
Netmums.com regional editor Julie Buckingham said: ‘Scotland has lots of fantastic outdoor venues to choose from, especially in the central belt, but for mums and dads to rate Landmark in the Highlands as somewhere extra special is a real privilege. It’s brilliant to know children can enjoy the great outdoors safely and happily at such a lovely venue”
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CairnGorm Mountain Retains Gold Status in Green Tourism Awards
For the 10th year running the visitor attraction at CairnGorm Mountain has been awarded the highest status – Gold – in the Green Tourism Scheme endorsed by VisitScotland.
The not-for-profit Green Tourism Business Scheme has been running since 1997 and with over 2300 members across the UK, Ireland and Canada, it is the most established sustainable national grading programme in the world. The report on which the award was based praised the considerable efforts of catering manager Dougie Somerville and PA to the executive team Helen Wink in developing sustainability within the business. Of particular note was the continued development and promotion of the Snow White (human waste disposal) project, habitat development and preservation and the ‘leave no trace’ practices of the resort. The inspectors also commented that it was great to see within the team high levels of staff awareness of the green tourism scheme and the active promotion of green actions on site.
The appraisal also commented on how CairnGorm continued to develop and update their working action plan relating to all things sustainable. They are working to reduce food waste with consideration being given to such innovations as calorie intake recommendations, smarter ordering and different portion options. The resort has also reduced its paper/printing by 60%. There was praise too for the excellent mountain interpretation and native tree planting.
Commenting on the attraction’s award CairnGorm Mountain Green Tourism Co-ordinator Dougie Somerville said:
“We are delighted to have retained our gold award in this scheme. Helen Wink and the rest of the team must be congratulated on their efforts to ensure that the standard we have reached has been maintained again. Staff at CairnGorm are committed to contributing to making our operations more sustainable while delivering a high quality service and we appreciate this being recognized by this award.”
20th May 2014 - CairnGorm prepares for summer of activities
Following a winter which saw the renowned snowsports resort welcome a record number of snowsports visitors on a single day – 3382 on 19 February - and host the UK’s first ever half pipe competition on a machine-cut pipe, CairnGorm Mountain is gearing up for a busy summer of activities and events. Persistent strong winds were the hallmark of a season which also saw massive amounts of snow. This affected the number of days on which skiers and boarders were able to access the slopes. There were only 108 operational days during the season and 26 stormed off days when neither the funicular nor any other uplift ran at all. And on a further 18 days of the 108 operational days the funicular was not able to run which limited the resort’s offering to customers on those days especially beginners and snowboarders. Overall numbers of skier days for the season were 77430 – a figure which although close to the company’s budget was below that of the outstanding 2012-13 season.
Commenting on the season, CairnGorm Mountain Marketing Manager Colin Kirkwood said:
“It was undoubtedly an unusual and challenging season. Our average number of stormed off days in a season is 19; to have had 26 plus a further 18 days without the funicular during such a snowy winter was very frustrating, not only for our customers but for all the staff who worked so hard to try to get and keep the facilities open.
At the end of the season we sent out an online feedback questionnaire to our snowsports customers and also conducted a focus group with a cross-section of them. The results showed that in all areas of our business at least 70% of our customers rated us as good or excellent. When the focus group were asked what improvement would make CairnGorm Mountain a better experience, the majority of answers were to re-open the Ciste side of the mountain. Also mentioned was general investment in lift infrastructure and dry-matting on the car park t-bar.
This season we were pleased to have been able to offer our customers a new electronic ticketing system and improved equipment hire facilities as well as being selected as one of only two venues in Europe for the Vans Hi-standard Big Air series of freestyle events.
During the summer we are expecting to be busy with visitors going up on the funicular to do our guided ‘Walk at the Top’ to the summit of Cairn Gorm and our guided mountain bike descents.”
These activities as well as funicular tickets are available to book online and the company has already noticed a considerable increase in the number of customers doing this. There is a brand new fleet of top of the range Specialized mountain bikes for visitors undertaking the biking experiences to use and other protective gear is also provided. Two mountain biking options are available: the Hill Track Descent involves a trial run down from the middle station then two full descents form the Top Station to the car park; the second, longer experience goes all the way from the top station right down to Aviemore and takes the whole afternoon. The bike descents run every day except Tuesday and Wednesday. The walk at the top is available every day at 1030 and 1330.
The funicular railway has to undergo some essential maintenance in late in June and during this period (22-27 June) the resort will be the starting point for a whole programme of guided walks of different lengths under the banner of the CairnGorm Mountain Walking Festival.
In response to feedback from customers the funicular will run until 8pm on Thursdays in July and August with the Ptarmigan restaurant and bar remaining open until then for the service of meals form the grill there.
The resort is also the starting and finishing point for a number of endurance events during the summer and will be hosting a ride out of Harleys during the Thunder in the Glens weekend in August.
For more information contact Colin Kirkwood email@example.com
01479 861326 m.0778 334 6229
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New operator and multi-million pound investment announced for CairnGorm Mountain
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is delighted to announce Natural Retreats, a specialist leisure and travel company, as the new operator of CairnGorm Mountain, taking effect in June 2014. Natural Retreats are renowned for offering customers and guests high quality tourism based experiences in some of the most dramatic natural locations around the world. Natural Retreats are delighted to be operating on a 25 year lease, opening an exciting new chapter for CairnGorm Mountain and the local economy.
HIE will continue to own Cairngorm Estate, including the funicular and associated infrastructure on the mountain. The new arrangement will see the ownership of current operator CairnGorm Mountain Ltd transfer from HIE to Natural Retreats.
Natural Retreats are revealing a £6.2m five-year investment plan which will secure the future of the Resort for the next 25 years. HIE is supporting the development with a £4m loan to develop a new Day Lodge.
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive at HIE commented: “Natural Retreats has the vision, ambition and experience to enable the resort to fulfil its potential as a world-class visitor destination. Their plans include the further development of snowsports and diversification of the business into a high quality, year-round attraction. Natural Retreats’ ambition to attract new visitors to CairnGorm will produce spin-off opportunities for other local businesses in the tourism sector, especially in Strathspey.”
With over 100 years of relevant international and regional leisure and tourism experience, Natural Retreats’ senior management in both Europe and the US bring a wealth of expertise to the Resort. The UK’s busiest skiing destination will be led by Natural Retreats’ market-leading operational team, who have over 65 years of experience within ski resorts worldwide. The brand currently operates in close proximity to four world-renowned US ski destinations and CairnGorm Mountain is the perfect addition to their portfolio.
Matt Spence, founder and CEO of Natural Retreats added: “I am immensely thrilled with the appointment of Natural Retreats as operator of CairnGorm Mountain. I founded this company with the aim to create a way of life in a natural world and I am proud that Natural Retreats have been recognised in our quest. We truly believe Natural Retreats will elevate CairnGorm Mountain as one of the leading leisure and adventure resorts in Europe. My dream is to see both the prestigious international summer and winter X Games held here. CairnGorm Mountain is after all one of Scotland’s best assets with Natural Retreats aiming to provide the ultimate training ground for the next generations of Jenny Jones’ and Callum Smiths with the goal of gold at the next Winter Olympics. This is a four season resort with endless opportunities – we are determined to break seasonality here.
Our aim is to re-launch the CairnGorm Mountain brand to encapsulate the unique visitor experience Natural Retreats hopes to bring and to help create a sense of pride and place with the existing expertise on-site. Our mission will be to engage, inspire and mobilise the public. We believe Scotland has the best tourism opportunity in Europe now and for years to come. Visit Scotland’s Homecoming Scotland 2014 coupled with the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games will position Scotland on the international stage as a dynamic and creative nation and we’re honoured to be in the running to help welcome visitors from all over the world.”
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No less than 100% of visitors coming to Aviemore and the Cairngorms area vow to return again, a recent customer survey has discovered. Of these visitors, 100% of them say they will recommend the area to other people.
The survey was conducted by the Cairngorms Super Seven!, a joint marketing group comprising of the seven major visitor attractions in the Aviemore and Cairngorms area and took place during last October’s half term holiday. The surveys were completed at each of the attractions – Landmark Forest Adventure Park, Rothiemurchus, Fun House, the Strathspey Steam Railway, CairnGorm Mountain, Highland Wildlife Park and the Highland Folk Museum.
The survey discovered that visitors tended to come for either a short weekend break or a week or more. A huge 85% of people questioned were repeat visitors and 67% come to the area at least once a year.
Danny Fullerton, chairman of the Super Seven! said, “I am delighted with the findings of this survey. It’s hugely encouraging to see that our visitors are receiving a first rate experience when staying in the area, wishing to return again and again. 68% of these visitors were on family breaks proving that the Aviemore and Cairngorms area offers a wide variety of activities suitable for all ages at prices people can afford.”
As well as the Super Seven attractions, cycling and walking were another two key activities that many people were visiting for. Other priorities when booking a break were: plenty to do; child friendly; fun and value for money. Mr Fullerton added “With all these features in abundance it really means that the area is very well positioned to pitch for the title of ‘Number One Family Destination in the UK’.”
He added, “However complacency is not an option. With ever increasing competition in the family market, it is critical that value for money, quality and variety of experience are firmly at the top of our check list. We must send the message out strongly that the Aviemore and Cairngorms area is all about this. Our USPs are the amazingly beautiful area we operate in at the heart of the UK’s largest national park, the high quality of experience we offer, the huge variety of attractions and activities - from gentle and relaxing to full on adventure - and of course, the excellent value for money. The Super Seven! will be repeating the survey at regular intervals - it will be one of our key indicators of whether we are on target with our ambitious aim to be the UK’s number one for families or whether we need to work harder.”
The survey will be repeated throughout the year during school holidays.
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