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Devil's Advocate


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Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 04.18hrs on Thu 21 Nov 02
Braeriach has the longest lasting snowfields in the UK, it's Northern Corries overlooking Badenoch and Strahspey, provide a spectacular snow covered scene, even when CairnGorm is all but bare.

Even last winter long after CairnGorm had given up, the corries still had long snow fields that would have given excellent runs. The snow is more reliable, far more so than on neigbouring CairnGorm, the terrain that could be accessed awsome.

With modern installation techniques and equipment, a limited snowsport development of the mountain could be implemented with very little impact. The natural gullies and snow fields, and the use of non-surface lifts for access would eliminate the need for snow fencing. Installation, by helicopter would mean no disturbance to ground beyond the pylon bases, there would be no need for buildings other than one base building located well down the mountain, and it could be proabably hidden from view by careful location selection. The lift lines too, could be made very low profile. It should be prefectly possible to sensitively install say maybe 3 or 4 chairs, that would not be visable from the valley. It would not be heavy on creature comforts on the mountain, but fast modern lifes, would make up for the lack of facilites higher up, this would be an area ppl go to for the action!

Though non-surface lifts would be more prone to wind stoppages, given the remoteness and the terrain some of the lifts could access, the upper areas could only be a fair weather area. However to further reduce impact, perhaps where there is very reliable snow, high capacity rope tows, could be installed, that could be completely removed out with the season.

It would of couse come into it's own in the spring, providing great spring snow sport for long after the other areas have closed down. Skiing in May and early June could be a regular feature, perhaps high even later!

From existing roads a high capacity lift would give access to the base area, or perhaps shuttle bus along forest tracks would get closer for a shorter lift.
Maybe infrom Rothiemurchas Lodge?? Could be turned into base buildings and hotel!!

Combined with CairnGorm Mountain it would give the area a superb range of terrain, more reliable spring snow, and some world class steeps on the coire headwalls. There is no reason why there should be any detremental effect on mountain wildlife, remember the Ptarmigan population in the Northern Corries is the highest in the world!! While conservationists may raise concerns, and climbers may moan that this is another loss of wilderness, this area is still not the high mountain core, it is fronting the valley, is just the edge of the mountains.

A small low profile development would surely be feasable, with abs minimal impact this should be considered a reasonable and sustainable use of the areas natural resources, providing benifit for the local communities, and thus entirely compatable with the goals of the National Park. It should also put Scottish Snowspots well on the map!
Ron


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Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 13.20hrs on Tue 26 Nov 02
While I agree Braeriach has some of the longest lasting snowfields, when blading I've always found the Gharb Corrie Mor semi-permanent snowfield below Spinx Ridge in the summer/autumn srangely deserted due to the longish walk in.
Wouldn't it make more sense just to build a road to the top as most of the estate landrover tracks already exist or even build a new road through the Lairig Ghru as was originally proposed a few years ago thus making access to the Braemar and the east quicker thus saving time and petrol.

Environmental and economic benefits of such a scheme are obvious with the cutting down on pollution and thus global warming and increasing the ptarmigan and snow bunting population due to the food scraps left by the increased number of tourists flooding into the area. It would also allow the general public, elderly and disabled a quality experience......a chance to glimpse 'the hidden secrets of the mountain'!

Put it this way it makes a lot more economic sense and logic than building a funicular up to Cairngorm that you are not allowed out from unless you 're wearing trainers and t-shirt and having no ski tows on the eastside of Cairngorm where all the snow lies right into mid summer or telling people it now only takes 6 minutes to get to the top in the train!

Welcome back Alan...........
Essan


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28th Oct 2014
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 16.10hrs on Tue 26 Nov 02
About time Corrour was upgraded to a proper hotel too........winking smiley

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Andy


Guest
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 12.12hrs on Wed 27 Nov 02
I don't think any further development into one of the last unspoilt places in the UK should be allowed. Existing ski developments should be moved to higher ground within thier current area but not extended in this way. If people want to ski in such backcountry areas they should be prepared to walk!.
It's very doubtful any future developments would be allowed since it's about to become part of the new national park.
Simon Donald


Guest
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 18.42hrs on Sun 15 Dec 02
BUILDING A ROAD THRU' THE LAIRIG GHRU!!! ARE YOU MAD! One of the last great Scottish widerness not mean anything to you! But it would be nice... :-)
James


Guest
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 20.22hrs on Sun 15 Dec 02
The focus should be the redevelopment and upgrade of Caringorm, with more and faster lifts serving the upper slopes with limited expansion to the summit and to the west into gulleys number 1 and 2, and into Coire Laogh Mor. Braeriach and the Lairig Ghru should be left as wilderness accessible only to climbers, walkers and ski tourers
Alan Mackay


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21st Dec 2014
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Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 23.49hrs on Sun 15 Dec 02
I think you'll find that Coire Loagh Mor is to the East!! Remember the West Wall faces East! :-)
James Maunder


Guest
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 10.20hrs on Mon 16 Dec 02
Good point - too much red wine!! I meant expansion to the EAST, most definitely not to the west!!

Thanks
Alex


Guest
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 13.37hrs on Mon 16 Dec 02
What about Chiste Mherraid ? Thats just over the plateaux bit from the top of the ptarmigan tow.
I would alsmot say that you are guaranteed a reasonble stretch of snow there from April to July and infact a few years ago in September we were able to test out our new boards on the remaining snow.
I even once suggested to Cairngorm that they only open the 'Mherraid' from April onwards... sort of like a summer ski area ..and I do believe that there was a rope tow erected there one spring. However, according to the Cairngorm management, the area is outside their 'boundary' and they aren't allowed to develop there. Pity!!
The area is aslo relatively sheltered, hence its snow lasting reputation. Beautiful views towards Loch Avon too.
Alan Mackay


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Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 14.09hrs on Mon 16 Dec 02
I believe a Summit Tow would be more useful, at least should be done first, it would open up good blue runs around the tow with reliable snow due to the height (Could probably have run all November!), and would provide direct lift access to Coronation Wall and even further round the Cas Headwall, allowing with just a little effort sorties into Sneachda. This would open up some serious terrain within the area ie Coronation Wall, but also allow for some mental off-piste too.

As regards over to Loch Avon, the snow holding potential of that area of the Ciste is well known, there is no legal or planning eason why it could not be developed, but persuading the RSPB to allow snowsport development on their land could prove difficult.

That said, perhaps some space in the Ptarmigan Exhibition about the RSPB CairnGorm reserves, in return for the right to errect a high capacity rope tow which could then be removed outwith the season might be worth a try!! you never know!
Andy Willcock


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15th Dec 2012
Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 22.03hrs on Tue 7 Jan 03
Cairngorm wont invest any more money for years now...
They have spent every last penny they have, and then some, on a silly train up the mountain to mainly please the summer visitors. If you had a quick poll of skiers, and asked the question, "3 or 4 High Speed Chairlifts to replace the existing Chairlift and possibly expand the Ski Area, or a slow Train up the mountain to replace the 2 Chairlifts?" i can have a guess what the result would be!!!!
Cairngorm should have invested the money in doing other things other than installing the Train. Snowmaking, Fencing/Forresting, etc, etc are far more important. Why cant they see that they need to get more snow, and what snow they do get, they need to keep, and not have it all blown down the hill the next day because the wind picks up!! They should also do something with the access roads. Many times they wont let people up because the road is blocked due to the wind. This is the 21st Century, surely there is a way to ensure people can get to the lifts. Hell...they can put a man on the moon, but not get a single skier onto Cairngorm if the wind picks up!!!!
Alan Mackay


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Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 22.33hrs on Tue 7 Jan 03
Hmm Slow Train, have you been on it since it started winter operations proper? Unlike last winter it should be at full speed now. Full tilt it can go from the Base Station to the Ptarmigan in around 3.5minutes!!

The main issue over what skiers will make of the funicular is whether or not the cynics are right and CairnGorm sees making money from tourists as a greater priority, the jury is out on this, but CairnGorm really does have to be seen to make the effort for it's snowsport customers.

What is not in doubt is that the funciular has greatly improved reliability of the skiing, last winter there was 80 or so days that the ski area would have been stormbound in the past, with the chairs, given the snow conditions, and on around 50 of them there was skiing thanks to the funicular.

The question of the access road didnt arise that much last winter, and the new traffic system that would allow two way traffic on the down road was never tested. It is a personal opinion, that CairnGorm have in recent years been too quick to close the road, and too slow to open it. The notion that road should be cleared to the black to be open, is a bit of a joke for a mountain road, and there's been cases when the road is black all the way up, but its kept closed "because the cut is narrow and might fill in with the drifting". If the road is passable, then it should be open, there is a huge difference between getting a road passable, and getting it clear, and the difference could mean having the road open at 8am, instead of 11am or not at all.

With regards future developments and the road situ, the Glenmore Gondola idea is still being banded about as a possible next major phase. A gondola would have wind issues, but I think building a funietel (Double cabled gondola) from Glenmore would be the way to go. Maintaing a single track road to the Daylodge for back up shuttling and emergency access, this would allow removal of the Coire Cas carparks, and thus the biggest eyesore enflicted by the 60's developments. Keeping the Ciste Carparks as back up and perhaps providing a higher capacity lift from there into the Coire to spread the load. Ski Hire, Ticketing etc could be relocated to Glenmore, freeing up space in the Daylodge to provide enhanced catering, reintroducing a bar on level 1 say, and moving the Information Centre to the Base Station. Perhaps the instalatin of fixed lifts and snowmaking at the Hayfield and on the old piste in behind the Hayfield, could be considered as part of such a development, providing back up low level nurery areas, and the run behind the hayfield would make an execellent terrain park.

Anyway I think removal of the public road to Coire Cas and installation of uplift from Glenmore should be soon as possible goal now with the national park coming in. The Link Road could then be re-landscaped, and it's well known snow holding used to provide a low level link to Coire Na Ciste.

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helen rennie


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Re: Developing Braeriach
Date Posted: 00.59hrs on Wed 8 Jan 03
Interesting ideas, but where would you park all the cars at Glenmore?

Personally, although I have thoroughly enjoyed some wonderful days at Nevis, I dislike the gondola because you are so far away from your car when you are skiing. I end up always having to take a rucksack for extra clothes incase I am too cold/ warm. The way Cairngorm is at present means that a visit to the car for an extra fleece does not take too much time especially if there is snow to the carpark, and skiing can be rucksack free. Of course the Lecht is even better from this point of view.
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