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Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust hopes to secure lease for strath's busiest campsite

By Gavin Musgrove

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Duncan Swarbrick and Lee Bissett at Glenmore campsite.
Duncan Swarbrick and Lee Bissett at Glenmore campsite.

A community group is hoping to gain control of the strath’s most popular campsite.

Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust (AGCT) has revealed to the Strathy that it intends to bid for the lease of the Glenmore Caravan and Camping Park.

The site and business were recently placed on the market on a long term 15-year lease with offers of over £315,000 being sought and with annual rent of £190,000.

AGCT’s intention is to run the campsite as a community enterprise with initial reinvestment into the site to improve facilities.

Further profits would then be used to help fund other community projects in the Aviemore and Glenmore area.

Trust coordinator Kirsty Bruce said: “It is vitally important that the trust seek ways in which to be financially sustainable and operate without the need to be reliant on external funding.

“Securing the caravan and camping park for the benefit of the community would be a huge boost to the trust.

"It would allow the trust and community to manage the asset, ensuring that income generated is reinvested into the site and fed through to support other local projects.”

AGCT chairman Duncan Swarbrick described the bid as “a really exciting opportunity for the trust and the local community”.

“Glenmore and Loch Morlich are becoming an ever more popular destination for visitors and is right in the centre of a crucially important natural woodland which is close to all our hearts,” he said.

“If our tender is successful it would provide a route for the local community to shape and influence the future of this area.

“Importantly, as a Scottish Registered Charity all income will be used to improve the facilities at Glenmore and to support other projects to benefit the community and visitors alike.

“We would continue to engage with and promote a meaningful relationship with Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Forestry and Land Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park Authority.”

AGCT director Lee Bisset said “We have had a very positive meeting with Glenmore residents and have their support to make a bid for the campsite.

“The trust will form a sub-committee to assist with taking the bid forward and this will consist of AGCT directors, the trust coordinator and Duncan Ferguson representing the residents of Glenmore.

“Our ambition is to develop the Glenmore site into a model for sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism.”

Mr Ferguson said: “It would be great for the community to take charge of a major asset and reinvest into the area.”

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Local MP Drew Hendry (SNP) was delighted to hear of the interest in pursuing community ownership of the site.

He said: “I have already given the board my full support and will do what I can to help. I genuinely believe community ownership of land and development assets helps create thriving communities.

“We only have to look at what AGCT has already achieved with its other successful projects to know that the trust and the local community will ensure this site works for people who live here and visitors alike.”

Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes hopes that move will help relieve the tourism pressures in Glenmore area.
Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes hopes that move will help relieve the tourism pressures in Glenmore area.

Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes (SNP) (pictured) said: “I am delighted that the leasing opportunity for Glenmore Campsite is live, and that there is such a significant level of interest.

“It is important that the campsite complements the many other tourism businesses in the area – from hospitality to accommodation providers.

“I wish each of the bidders the best of success, including AGCT, and hope that the winning bid will ensure the campsite relieves some of the pressures in the area.”

AGCT was set-up in October 2017 to gain community control of Cairngorm Mountain but has since gone on to successfully open and run an ice rink in Aviemore. Glenmore had big issues with dirty camping after the end of the Covid lockdown.

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