Soldiers help Crathie pathway repairs

Work under way on the path repairs at Crathie
Work under way on the path repairs at Crathie

Soldiers have joined the operation to restore a storm-damaged pathway on Deeside.

The Royal Guard is helping out half a dozen trainees from the Cairngorms Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) carry out repairs to the riverside path at Crathie, which was ruined by flooding from Storm Frank during last winter.

The all-abilities access path is next to Crathie Opportunity Holidays, an organisation providing wheelchair-friendly self-catering accommodation, whose patron is the Duchess of Rothesay.

Disabled clients have been unable to use the route since the flood damage.

The work at Crathie is part of ‘The Mountains and The People’ – COAT’s five-year flagship project.

It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scotland’s two National Park Authorities (Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs).

A COAT spokesperson said: “The training forms part of our Cairngorms training course this year where six trainees, who have spent the past three months working on upland paths and habitat management activities, will learn lowland path construction techniques alongside volunteers from the Royal Guard.

“The trainees will use this experience to support the completion of their SVQ in environmental conservation.”

Groups of six volunteers from the Royal Guard have taken it in turns to assist with the repair work.

COAT senior access projects manager Murray Swapp has redesigned the pathway to make it more accessible for wheelchair users and durable against future flooding using a grass paving surface.

The route was built in 2006 and when the flooding came last winter it was an aggregate-based path and 130m (426ft) of soil on the riverside section.

COAT officials said the teams from the Royal Guard had been a “really good” help for the trainees.

The path is due to be completed at the end of this week.