Kingussie Community Development Company

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CASE STUDY 6

Kingussie Community Development Company – Bridging the gaps!

Adopting a community path network

Name of Access Authority: Cairngorms National Park Authority    

Name of group: Kingussie Community Development Company    

Location: Kingussie Community Council area            

Project: Adoption path network around Kingussie

Key points: Adoption of complete path network

                  Involvement in development projects that will also become part of the network

                  Adoption of ongoing path network promotion

 

About the Kingussie Community Development Company (KCDC)

KCDC was set up in 2006 and works on all sorts of projects to benefit local people, visitors and the surrounding area. The idea for the company came from local individuals who took the initiative to rebuild a Micro Hydro Dam to support the idea of renewable energy and to provide an income to the community. They organised a public meeting and got 150 members on board.

A paths group which worked on the development and maintenance of the local paths network already existed and this became subsumed into KCDC. A new sub-group to maintain a ‘Biodiversity Woodland’ in the woods which KCDC took over was also established.

Finding resources (people, money, tools and materials, training, time)

The group works closely with the Cairngorm Outdoor Access Trust (COAT) particularly on larger projects such as various aspects concerned with the installation of new bridges over the Gynack Burn.

People

The group receive great support in terms of help, advice and funding via the Cairngorms National Park Authority, particularly the Authority’s Outdoor Access Officer.

COAT have also been very helpful, particularly with technical advice and other support on bridge installation.

The group have also used a section of path that needs repair as a ‘training ground’ for path workers. In this way a more remote but popular path on Creag Bheag got some much-needed attention whilst the group were able to concentrate on other more-manageable tasks. The group have also brought in additional help from a Community Service team for low-level boardwalk repair and installation.

Money

KCDC has been successful in raising money from a variety of sources such as LEADER and SNH.

The sale of path map leaflets via bed and breakfast establishments and other local businesses has helped to boost funds for COAT to reinvest in local path networks.

Tools and materials

Tools were purchased with funding from Paths for All. The group has a logbook which means a record can be kept of who has borrowed the tools, where they have been used and when they have been returned. The logbook also gives a note of any required repairs. The PFA grant also allowed the purchase of quarry dust for light path resurfacing work.

For major projects a specialist, outside contractor is usually used who bring their own tools, plant machinery and materials.

Training

This has generally been ‘on the job’ training where more experienced members of the group pass on knowledge and skills to others. Training projects have included repairs to mountain paths and installation of lowland boardwalks. Representatives from the paths group have visited other community path networks to exchange experiences and attended events such as PFA path survey courses and networking days.

Time

A lot of time is spent dealing with ‘paperwork’, updating the KCDC website, necessary returns to the Charities Regulator (OSCR), emails and telephone calls but this is essential to maintain co-ordination and avoid duplication. It is also an important way of maintaining good relations with volunteers, local land owners and businesses and other groups such as the Community Council along with supporting agencies such as COAT, CNPA, PFA and The Highland Council.

Plans for the Future

Working with the CNPA the group would like to install new signing on the path network to get best return on the recent time and financial investment of new and repaired routes. They would also like to recruit more volunteers to help with regular path inspections and minor repairs.

The group would also like to organise events associated with the paths network to raise awareness and hopefully get more people involved in maintaining the routes. Local school pupils have given a days work and plan to be involved in other ‘workdays’ with the possibility of ‘adopting’ a specific path.

Along with continuing to look after existing paths the group would also like to develop new routes to fill missing gaps and/or create new circuits in particular, low level paths for the local ‘Walking to Health’ group. Some of this work will hopefully be funded by the micro hydro project once it is built.

Lessons Learned

Looking after a large number and length of paths such as the Kingussie network is a major task. A key role of the KCDC path sub-group is to help in the co-ordination of maintenance and recognising what it can do itself and where additional help in terms of people and funding is needed.

1.         Using local knowledge of what path network is like in different weather conditions.

2.         Volunteers come with different knowledge and understanding about paths in terms of acceptable/unacceptable condition and what might realistically be required to bring path up to standard.

3.         Recognising that paths will also be used by visitors who may be unfamiliar with the area and path conditions.

4.         Take time to maintain good relations with all interested groups.

5.         Great benefits for path adoption by working with organisations such as  Community Council, The Highland Council, COAT,CNPA and PFA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Paths for All - Registered Scottish Charity No: SC025535, Company Limited by Guarantee No: 168554 inc. 19 Sept 1996 at Companies House, Edinburgh