New active travel route to be created between Braemar and Invercauld

Aberdeenshire Council and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) are to share equally the costs of creating a new active travel route between Braemar and Invercauld.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 6:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 6:55 am
The new active travel route will complete a link from Braemar to Invercauld Bridge
The new active travel route will complete a link from Braemar to Invercauld Bridge

Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland is to be awarded £200,000 to create the new 1.9km route which will form the first stage of a wider strategy to extend the Deeside Way from Ballater to Braemar.

The new path will run through Creag Clunie and the Lion's Face Site of Special Scientific interest and the Ballochbuie Special Protection Area.

It is anticipated that the creation of the new Braemar to Invercauld path will significantly increase both the percentage of visitors using active travel during their stay and the positive economic impact of visitors to the Cairngorms National Park.

During a meeting of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, councillors heard that the Deeside Way Extension Feasibility Study identified that the western section from Braemar to Invercauld Bridge was the highest priority.

Investment in improving the path will support considerable private and third sector interests including the Fife Arms Hotel, Highland Games Centre, Braemar Castle and Mar Lodge.

There has been widespread support for the creation of the path, with the landowner – Invercauld Estate – and both the Braemar Path Group and Braemar Tourism Group keen to see the route developed.

The existing Deeside Way runs some 41 miles from Aberdeen via Banchory to Ballater utilising much of the old Royal Deeside Railway line.

It has been designed for a wide range of users with good access for walkers, cyclists and, in many places, horses.

Recognising this multi-use function, the route is also promoted by Sustrans as National Cycle Route 195.

Sustrans are currently reviewing NCN195 to determine sections for improvement and potential extension.

The route offers a scenic and relatively gentle ‘end to end’ experience but importantly it also acts as a community link, connecting both settlements and visitor attractions with potential to both engage visitors with sustainable active travel and increase their stay length in Deeside.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee and CNPA board member, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “This will be a very welcome addition to the Deeside Way both from a local community perspective and that of the many visitors who come to this wonderfully scenic area.

"There is a real desire among local groups and indeed the estate to see this project proceed and I, like many others, will look forward to trying out the new route in due course.”

Peter Crane, head of visitor services with CNPA, added: “Low-level walking is the most popular activity enjoyed by visitors to the national park and this path will complete a stunning link from Braemar to Invercauld Bridge.

"It’s a great addition to the local community paths allowing people to get up close to the amazing landscape of Deeside including the old Invercauld Bridge built around 1752.”