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CairnGorm Mountain Ltd (CML)

CairnGorm Mountain Ltd, based in Badenoch near Aviemor, operates the facilities on CairnGorm Mountain. Before 2001, it was known as the Cairngorm Chairlift Company Ltd and prior to that as Cairngorm Sports Development Ltd. CairnGorm Mountain Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cairngorm Mountain Trust.

CairnGorm is the UK's 5th highest mountain and takes its name from the mountain range in which it is located. It is the largest area of high ground in the United Kingdom and is recognised internationally for the quality of its natural landscape, rare plants and wildlife and much of the land is protected under European environmental law.

The Cairngorms is also one of the most popular mountain recreation areas in Scotland and attracting skiers, snowboarders, ski mountaineers, climbers, walkers, bird watchers, study groups, scientists and sight seeing visitors. The Cairngorms will be Scotland's second National Park and the ski area is the most popular visitor access point to the mountain range.

The ski area at CairnGorm totals 598 hectares and forms part of the Cairngorm Estate, which is owned by Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and extends over 2,348 hectares of land. Cairngorm lease the ski area land and facilities from HIE.

CML is a remarkable business success story. Against a background of four of the worst winter seasons on record for snow, the company, which reported an annual deficit of £1.8 million in 2001/2002, has now been cash positive for two consecutive years and, in its Annual Report for 2004/2005 was able to report an operating profit of £79,659 for the first time since the funicular opened.

The increasingly unpredictable and unreliable winters have meant that planning based on the historical winter market had to be revised and a new "reduced reliance on snow" plan was introduced in May 2004.

Chief Executive, Bob Kinnaird said “This success has only been possible because the company has been able to re-position itself within the tourism market through diversification of its product. CairnGorm Mountain is no longer an almost exclusively winter sports destination but is now the most popular paid visitor attraction in The Cairngorms National Park, the third most popular attraction in the Highlands of Scotland and one of the top 10 in the whole of Scotland.”

“The change from ski area to year-round attraction, in an environmentally fragile site, was the catalyst for a shift in staff culture that the team at CairnGorm readily accepted and then drove through their own enthusiasm and commitment. The catalyst was in making the team much more customer focused, and environmentally aware and these changes were rewarded with Hospitality Assured accreditation and a Gold Green Tourism Award. The company now uses the 'Triple Bottom Line' principle, where economic, social and environmental criteria are all included when measuring success.”

This shift in business emphasis has resulted in the engagement of a full-time Ecologist (Dr Cathy Mordaunt), a Sustainability Consultant (locally-based Footprint Consulting Group), and, in June 2005, a full-time Interpretive Coordinator (Jim Cornfoot). The current interpretive proposition is based on the premise that CairnGorm Mountain is a place that has the potential to instil in visitors respect for Nature, with the potential to make us question our human place as a part of the environment, in both a local and global context. To this end, CML actively promote those products and services that contain physical, sensory, aesthetic, psychological, cultural and spiritual aspects through which people seek to become inspired with a passion for Nature and a desire to live environmentally sustainable lives.

The diversification strategy that has produced a popular year-round visitor attraction has clearly worked for CML, but the company still remains totally committed to providing a high quality ski experience, subject to increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions.

CML is mindful that it is the trading arm of The Cairngorm Mountain Trust, a registered charity, whose objectives are environmental management, education and the provision of recreational facilities. These objectives are strongly reflected in the company's operational programme and culture. Every year they make any operational surplus of any size helps to support these objectives and, in turn, provides a more rewarding mountain experience for visitors.

For further info’, contact:

CairnGorm Mountain Ltd
PH22 1RB

Tel: +44 (01479) 861261
Fax: +44 (01479) 861207

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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210