Good grief, Cairngorms National Park!

For those of us hoping to see a progressive move away from intensive grouse moor management inside the Cairngorms National Park, we may have a long wait.

We’ve just found the following written on the VisitCairngorms website (‘the official website for the Cairngorms National Park’). It’s so bad it could have been written by one of the large grouse-shooting estates……..oh, it was.

Good grief! How the hell did that get approved for publication?

A couple of years ago, Will Boyd Wallis, Head of Land Management & Conservation for the Cairngorms National Park Authority wrote an excellent and encouraging blog about how the Park needed to ‘move with the times’, referring specifically to issues associated with intensive grouse moor management within the Park (well worth a read, see here).

He said, “We need to see practical action and clear demonstration that moorland managers are universally responding to modern needs and demands“.

There doesn’t appear to be any evidence of that response in the VisitCairngorms article with talk of Highland retreats for wealthy owners, killing ‘vermin’ (whatever that is), controlling predators by shooting and trapping, protecting game from poachers, and breeding gamebirds for release in to the wild.

A National Park, long considered a jewel in Scotland’s environmental crown? Or just a private playground for shooting parties, where killing wildlife for fun (‘sport’) is celebrated, even by the Park Authority?

Come on Cairngorms National Park, get a grip on this. There are some fantastic, forward-thinking estates within the Park and there are also many conservation-oriented staff at the CNPA. Remove the website guff about how Victorian-styled gamekeepers are the ‘life blood’ of the Park’s estates and let’s hear more about some of the conservation initiatives that some estates, and CNPA staff, are pushing forward.

UPDATE 17 May 2018: We’ve been asked to clarify that the VisitCairngorms website is not run by the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the CNPA has no editorial control. The VisitCairngorms website is run by the Cairngorms Business Partnership (the Chamber of Commerce) on behalf of their business members, and even though the website is adorned with the CNP logo and claims to be the Cairngorms National Park’s ‘official website’, it has its own Board and staff and its views are not neccesarily those of the CNPA. Clear? As mud.

Interestingly, the current Chair of the Cairngorms Business Partnership is Angus McNicol. By coincidence, the Factor of Invercauld Estate is also called Angus McNicol.


31 Responses to “Good grief, Cairngorms National Park!”

  1. May 16, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Probably a true reflection on where their allegiance’s lie given the amount of sunshine being blown up the collective gamekeepers a*ses.

  2. 2 Michael Gill
    May 16, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Jesus, it reads like it’s been lifted verbatum from a 1950s guide to “the Cuntryside”

  3. 3 Anon
    May 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    This article completely beggars belief. If CPNA are promoting this, with the added bonus of a background picture of burnt out moorland then they have lost the plot and are not fit for purpose. Who do I register my complaint to?

  4. 4 JBNTS
    May 16, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    The author forget to include in the job description “Must be willing to undertake criminal activity by order of the employer and be willing to risk acquiring a criminal record in the course of his/her duties.

    A bit sloppy really….

  5. 6 PTH
    May 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    “and carry out pest control” yeah right, we all know what you really mean……

  6. May 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    We live in Orwellian times.

  7. 8 Ian Robinson
    May 16, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Large areas of upland Britain are still living in the 19th century, it would appear.

  8. 9 Andy Amphlett
    May 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    To be fair this is not the Cairngorms National Park website (which is http://cairngorms.co.uk/). This appears to be the website of the Cairngorms Business Partnership. There is some blurb about who they are at https://visitcairngorms.com/membership. I am not clear what the link is between the CNPA and Cairngorms Business Partnership.

    • May 16, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      Hi Andy,

      If you google ‘VisitCairngorms’ the first entry is the VisitCairngorms website and the sub-header: ‘The Official website for the National Park’. It also has the CNP logo plastered all over the site.

      • 11 Andrew
        May 16, 2018 at 6:55 pm

        http://www.visitcairngorms.com is a site operated by Cairngorms Business Partnership. Our registered office address is
        Inverdruie House, Aviemore, Cairngorms National Park, PH22 1QH

        I have no idea if this has any link to the park authority.
        This was taken from

      • 12 Andy Amphlett
        May 16, 2018 at 7:17 pm

        I did a bit more digging.

        The link between the CNPA and the Cairngorms Business Partnership is outlined on this page – http://cairngorms.co.uk/park-authority/training-support/local-business/. Here it says “The Cairngorms Business Partnership is a not for profit private sector led organisation that operates in the Cairngorms National Park. The Cairngorms National Park Authority supports the work of the CBP and encourages all businesses in the area to get involved. ”

        It is therefore reasonable to expect the CNPA to have some oversight over the contents of the VisitCairngorms website. In this instance that oversight was surely lacking.

        • May 16, 2018 at 9:10 pm

          Thanks, Andy.

          CNPA CEO Grant Moir on twitter this evening:

          “The website this is taken from is not the CNPA website. The article is a view (that some will agree with and some will not) on a website run by an independent organisation”.

      • May 16, 2018 at 10:49 pm

        Just checking this out. First of all it uses the Cairngorms National Parks Authority logo at the top of the page. Identical to that on the Cairngorms National Parks Authority’s own official website. And it has “Official Website” alongside the CNPA logo. What is more when you click onto the “About Us” page it states “Cairngorms National Park” and again used the CNPA’s official logo. The text states “The Cairngorms National Park is a very special place. To find out all about the History and Heritage and Key Facts of the Park please have a look at the links below.”

        There is no text on the About Us page which states this is the website of the Cairngorms Business Partnership, which is nothing to do with the Cairngorms National Park Authority. Only in small letters compared to the rest of the pages, at the very bottom of the page is there this text “© Cairngorms Business Partnership 2016. Powered by openbrolly”. There is nothing to tell you that the Cairngorms Business Partnership is independent of the CNPA, and its use of the CNPA’s logo throughout, and the use of the term “Official Website” next to it is most definitely designed to give the impression that it is the official Cairngorms National Park website. Especially as the About Us page is clearly about the Cairngorms National Park, and nothing at all about the Cairngorms Business Partnership.

        Therefore the vast majority of readers visiting this website will be misled into thinking that the opinions expressed are endorsed by the Cairngorms National Parks Authority. I think if the CNPA want to make sure that the opinions expressed here are not what they endorse they need to address the way this website uses both the logo of the CNPA throughout it’s website, and in its About Us page, only mentions the National Park, and not what organization it actually is.

        • 15 Mairi L
          May 17, 2018 at 7:59 am

          Yes, it does give a very strong impression of actually being the CNPA; apart from the colour, the logo is the same. If the ‘real’ CNPA cared a jot about this, they would be speaking to lawyers asap. I, for one, am appalled at their attitude.

          • May 19, 2018 at 12:27 am

            My feelings and thoughts exactly. I did notice the extra colours on the Visit Cairngorms site, but didn’t know if that was unique to it or if the National Park logo used those colours elsewhere.

  9. 17 Alister J Clunas
    May 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    This is an astonishing piece.

    Cairngorms National Park Authority(CNPA) is promoting current land use as acceptable even desirable, ignoring the current level of wildlife crime required to deliver high numbers of grouse for shooting.

    The best bit was
    “Thanks to Invercauld Estate for their insight and input”

    No mention of the trapped common gull on Invercauld Estate (no prosecution)
    Pointless searching for a “lost” satellite tagged White-tailed Eagle (still missing)

    Funny that!

    Since its inception the CNPA has favoured partnership working, concilliation and compromise. Time to take the gloves off.

    Wildlife crime carried out by any estates is a criminal activity. By supporting those estates with a record of wildlife crime through CNPA staff time and marketing estates then CNPA is condoning and supporting wildlife crime. What if CNPA refused to offer staff support and removed all reference to holiday accommodation and any other paid activities provided by the offending estate from its websites and literature for a fixed period say 6 months or a year. If following that there were no instances of wildlife crime then the estate would be promoted and marketed as before. The burden of proof would be civil and not criminal.

  10. 18 Allan Withrington
    May 16, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I used to be a regular visitor to the CNP.
    Not anymore, when I go to places I go to see the full range of wildlife that should be in the area. The last twice in Cairngorm I have found a half a dozen farmed Red Deer and NOTHING else. Until the end of Grouse shooting there I will not be back. A

  11. 19 AnMac
    May 16, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Astonishing that the job description does not highlight the ability of killing much of our wildlife and putting it in stink pits. Hanging dead foxes on trees etc. Not to mention undertaking criminal activities that others have mentioned, but to be fair there is presently no chance of being caught as the justice system seems to think that this is a permissible activity for gamekeepers to undertake.

    Look forward to the day when the ‘specials’ catch someone in the act and get enough evidence to put to a PF who will go for a court case and get a conviction. We are all still allowed to dream of such a day.

  12. 20 Pip
    May 16, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    No – I only stop in the “park” for a pee if I’m passing through – it’s a bit of a joke really and an unfunny one at that

  13. May 16, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I truly despair of humanity. It will be a long time, if ever, before we all realize that hunting wildlife for sport is a punishable crime of the highest order; but I am confident that nature will find a way, as she always does.

  14. 23 dave angel
    May 16, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    Looks like a Media House puff piece.

  15. 24 Loki
    May 16, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Who was that muppet from the CNPA at hen harrier day Boat of Garten last year? He was decidedly uncomfortable amongst the other amazing speakers. And so he should have been – allowing garbage like this to represent what should be a national park rather than a grouse park.

  16. 25 Iain Gibson
    May 17, 2018 at 12:33 am

    The more we see into the mindset of the hunting and shooting community, the more convinced I am that there are (at least) two subspecies of human being in this country of ours. One is arrogant and cruel with delusions of superiority, the other more open-minded, kind and responsible with a social conscience. Why are we so different?

  17. 26 Andrew
    May 17, 2018 at 8:06 am

    People who are arrogant and cruel with delusions of superiority are not limited to the hunting fraternity and you will probably find greater numbers throughout general society. Believe it or not, people who are more open-minded, kind and responsible with a social conscience exist within the hunting fraternity and generalising as has been done will not bring that group further on side to change the illegal goings that we abhor and have a right to complain about..

    • 27 Iain Gibson
      May 19, 2018 at 3:33 am

      Firstly, I did not say or mean to imply that all people who are arrogant and cruel with delusions of superiority are exclusive to the hunting/shooting community. That would be naive in the extreme. My point, based on personal experience, is that the vast majority of hunters/shooters seem to belong to that subspecies of human being. Neither was the corollary intended to imply those of opposite character included only nature lovers. I would go as far as to say that generally, those people capable of inflicting harm and cruelty upon wildlife are usually right wing in political and philosophical outlook. Some will regard this world view as simplistic, but I believe it to be generally true. Perhaps I’m just hooked on the poetry of Robert Burns.

      • May 19, 2018 at 10:08 pm

        You can get help with your like of Burns poetry. The counselling directory lists many good therapists adept at ‘banishing those 18th century interests’. Dumfries and Galloway promote Burns instead of wildlife – no wonder the county town is dying! (please don’t take this too seriously).
        We all need to keep writing to our political leaders with regard to the destructive behaviour of sporting (killing) estates. They need to understand that the status quo means no vote. Alas we know the relationship between our politicians and estate owners etc., explains why we are where we are.

  18. 29 Ken Brown
    May 17, 2018 at 10:20 am

    “life blood”?
    Some of the gamekeepers are certainly a source of protected species spilled blood

  19. May 17, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Important update at foot of blog.

  20. 31 dave angel
    May 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

    ‘UPDATE 17 May 2018: We’ve been asked to clarify that the VisitCairngorms website is not run by the Cairngorms National Park Authority and the CNPA has no editorial control.’


    It looks like passing off to me.

    The CNPA should be doing something to protect its reputation.

    Failure to do so would smack of collusion.

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