Published: 03/08/2017 23:26 - Updated: 04/08/2017 14:19

Controversial Cairngorm estate gates open again

Written byTom Ramage

Kinrara Gates
Re-entry: one of the newly-opened access gates at Kinrara on Thursday.

 

Walkers have expressed their relief over the re-opening of controversial gates which for several weeks blocked access to the Speyside Way from the old A9 between Aviemore and Dalraddy.

Furore met Kinrara Estate's decision to erect three electronically-controlled steel barriers which, while allowing vehicular access via sensors, locked out walkers, riders and cyclists trying to access the national pathway from the B9152.

After the Strathy broke the story on July 13 protests arose locally and nationally, via the press and social media.

The Ramblers Society joined those urging the Cairngorms National Park Authority to take immediate action against the estate.

In fact, the CNPA – which after years of argument over the routing of the Speyside Way extension to Badenoch had been forced to resort to a path order to enforce access through Kinrara land – wasted no time in advising the estate that it had 21 days to respond to complaints over a potential obstruction to lawful access rights.

This week the authority was able to report that the gates had been opened.

One of the original objectors, walker and author John Barton told the Strathy today (Thursday, August 3): "All your publicity has brought about a successful conclusion. Thank you."

Mr Barton was elated after receiving official confirmation from the CNPA's access staff that the controversy over the obstructions had been "resolved".

He told the Strathy: "The three sets of gates are to remain open, but I was informed that a suitable approach to regulating vehicle access is to be agreed, although the agreement would fully accommodate non-motorised access."

The park, he said, was in "constructive dialogue" with the owners of the estate over ensuring "responsible access and signage across the estate," particular with regard, he added, to reported instances of antisocial behaviour and privacy around residences.

David Clyne, CNPA recreation and access manager, told the Strathy: "We are pleased to report that we have had some very constructive and positive discussions with Kinrara Estate's legal representatives and as a result the gates have been opened."

Kinrara Estate had confirmed to the park authority that the gates had not been operated as they had intended when they authorised their installation and the intention was never to "restrict access but rather to regulate access given concerns of anti-social behaviour and other issues."

"This is an excellent result," said Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy. "It makes it much easier again for people to access the beautiful woods at Kinrara, and the Speyside Way that runs through the estate.

"We strongly support the work of Cairngorms National Park Authority alongside the landowner to deliver such a quick resolution."

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