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Cairngorm Mountain

Based just outside Aviemore, Cairngorm Mountain is an environmental, economic and sporting asset for Scotland.

A unique asset for Scotland

Cairngorm is a place of outstanding natural beauty - a wild mountain environment that is home to many examples of flora and fauna.

As a mountain resort, it is also a key driver of the economy of Strathspey and Badenoch, at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

In public ownership through HIE, Cairngorm estate has strong potential to grow and sustain its reputation as one of Scotland’s most important tourist destinations, attracting thousands of visitors every year and playing a key role in the country’s mountain resort sector.

We're committed both to protecting and enhancing Cairngorm estate's wonderful natural environment. We're also working to optimise the mountain's positive impact on the local economy by helping to build a sustainable resort business that caters to thousands of visitors every year.

Cairngorm funicular: scarf joint strengthening

Temporary withdrawal of funicular railway - FAQs

Last updated 17 January 2024

Why is the funicular not running?
The funicular railway at Cairngorm Mountain was reinstated in January 2023, having undergone an extensive programme of engineering works to strengthen the 1.7km viaduct structure.

A key element of these works was strengthening ‘scarf joints’ (see image, right) that securely connect the beams beneath the railway track with 94 piers that support the viaduct.

In August 2023, during a routine inspection, it was discovered that the tension of some of the scarf joints was below the recommended level. Recognising public safety as the number one priority, HIE took the decision, supported by operating company Cairngorm Mountain (Scotland) Ltd, to withdraw the service.

What is being done to fix the problem? 
A programme of works is currently ongoing to reinstate the tension of the scarf joints. The project team are also checking tension in beams and diaphragms, and carrying out grouting works on the piers.

The aim is to ensure the funicular can be brought back into safe operation, carrying passengers between the Day Lodge at the main car park and the Ptarmigan top station on the Cairngorm plateau.

Work paused on 21 December 2023 and resumed during week beginning 8 January 2024, aided by a rare ‘air temperature inversion’ which made it significantly warmer on the mountainside than in the valley.

When do you expect the job to be completed?
Everything is being done to complete the works as quickly as possible, but we’re unable to provide a definite timescale at present.

Testing has shown that the technical solutions being applied are effective. However, the engineering challenges involved are compounded by the mountain location and weather.

We’re sorry that we can’t say for certain when the service will be ready to return, but we’ll provide updates as soon as there is any news. 

Is Cairngorm Mountain open for snowsports this winter?
Yes, Cairngorm Mountain’s winter season got under way on Friday 22 December 2023, with a range of family-friendly activities in addition to skiing and snowboarding. Check conditions and plan your visit at https://www.cairngormmountain.co.uk 

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Cairngorm masterplan sets out 25-year vision for mountain estate

A set of 10 strategies to shape development of the publicly-owned Cairngorm Estate over the next 25 years was published by HIE on 2 June 2021.

The 3,500-acre estate (1,418 hectares) includes footpaths and trails offering access to wild areas that provide habitat for rare mountain flora and fauna, in addition to the well-known snowsports centre and funicular railway.

HIE prepared the Cairngorm Estate Masterplan following widespread consultation and public engagement.

The outcome is an overarching vision for the estate as: ‘a world-class mountain environment where nature thrives and people of all ages and abilities enjoy access to outdoor sport, recreation and education opportunities in every season of the year’.

Aiming to unlock Cairngorm’s full potential as an environmental and economic asset for the area, the masterplan is a framework to shape future plans on themes including ecology, sustainable transport, mountain biking, electrification, facilities development and more.

Read the Cairngorm masterplan

Cairngorm Plateau Volunteering Day October 2021

Cairngorm Advisory Group

The Cairngorm Advisory Group first convened on 27 May 2021. It brings together public, private, community and sporting organisations who share a common desire to help Cairngorm Mountain Estate achieve its full potential.

Membership covers a broad range of interests and experience, reflecting Cairngorm’s impact on local people and businesses, the wider economy, the environment, sports, heritage and education.

The group usually meets quarterly to advise Highlands and Islands Enterprise on its strategy for managing Cairngorm.

Meeting notes

2022

2021

Man mountain biking through Cairnforms national park

CAIRNGORM MOUNTAIN - FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

In response to public interest, we are gathering a wide range of information on Cairngorm into a single resource.

Cairngorm Mountain - Freedom of Information

CAIRNGORM MOUNTAIN SCOTLAND

Visit the Cairngorm Mountain Scotland website for the latest snow reports, ski conditions and information on year-round activities on the mountain.

Cairngorm Mountain Scotland

CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK

Find out what's on in and around the wider area of the Cairngorms National Park.

Cairngorms National Park

About Cairngorm

1,100

Cairngorm hosts the UK's highest restaurant

1.8

million visitors to Cairngorms National Park each year

250

jobs supported by Cairngorm Mountain

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Ptarmigan Restaurant Cairngorm

Strengthening the future of Cairngorm Mountain

A hugely complex programme of civil engineering works to strengthen the 1.75km Cairngorm funicular viaduct was conducted between November 2020 and  autumn 2022. A new funicular control system was also installed, followed by a period of testing and safety certification, and the railway came back into service on 26 January 2023.

In August 2023, the funicular was withdrawn from service again, after issues were identified with the tension of joints that link beams and piers. See our FAQs above for updates.

The decision to reinstate the funicular was taken following a detailed options appraisal that also considered replacing it with alternative uplift infrastructure, or removing it entirely.