Parking Charge Introduced at Cairngorm Mountain

Car parking fees have been introduced at the Cairngorm ski centre. The compulsory charges replace a voluntary scheme which, say the resort operators, was only being honoured by a fraction of users.

Found the car, 128 kb
Found the car
© Drexciyan, Dec 2009

With an average of 220,000 visitors annually, the car parks at Coire na Ciste and Coire Cas are heavily used throughout the year, and can be full to capacity on good skiing days.

"Feedback from visitors as well as season pass holders has consistently highlighted growing concerns about potholes and other maintenance issues in the car parks" say CairnGorm Mountain Ltd in a statement.

Initially the money raised from the charges will, they say, go towards upkeep of the car park infrastructure and improved surfacing. In addition, they suggest, some of it may eventually help fund longer term projects such as footpath maintenance at the resort, environmental work and the provision of 24 hour toilet facilities.

The new parking charges will be set at £2 per vehicle per day and a reduced rate seasonal parking pass of £25 will also be available. The cost for minibuses, caravans and camper vans will be £8 per day, and season pass holders will be exempt from the car parking charges completely.

We're not yet sure how the daily charge will be applied in the case of overnight stays.

Ski Centre Crowds, 104 kb
Ski Centre Crowds
© rusty_nails, Feb 2010

For several years charges have been in operation in the Forestry Commission Scotland car parks lower down the Cairngorm access road.

"CairnGorm Mountain is the last large car park in the area to introduce parking charges" say the company, "and the rates have been determined in line with these. Before introducing car park charges, CairnGorm Mountain Ltd consulted with all relevant statutory bodies including The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorm National Park Authority and Highlands and Islands Enterprise."

Reaction to the news in the Hilltalk forum has been mixed. Comments include:

"Fair play if you ask me."

"I'm just amazed that it's reasonable. £2 per day for cars seems not too bad to me. Wish it was similar in the Lakes!"

"If using the car park to go climbing in winter it's perfectly reasonable. For a car with 4 people in all buying day tickets to ski it's taking the p***."

"8 quid for a van is ridiculous in comparison to £2 for a car."

"In general, private parking in Scotland is not enforceable. But their web-site is very carefully worded, and the local council may have been involved, in which case it might be. Obviously I go up there a lot so it makes a difference."

"I wonder how much public money (from our taxes) has gone into the ski centre and car park over the years?"

Forums 64 comments

Was up there yesterday, the man in hi viz starts at 9 so if you get there before then as we did you don't have to pay it seems, also there are a lot of people now parking along the side of the approach road.
24 hour toilets would at least be a reasonable use of the money.  Speaking of payment for parking, I'd be happy to pay for the north face car park at Ben Nevis if it meant the road being in reasonable condition (2-4...
Because I believe the development of infrastructure which infringes deeply into the unique environment of the high Cairngorms providing easy access which has badly degraded the area was a terrible mistake. Because...
Mountaineering Scotland are hopefully on the case:  £9 is out of order and if Argyll and Bute council get away with it I fear it may...
I was there last week and there was no 'high-viz' man at the entrance. We parked and I went to pay at one of the many new pay points around the car park. However you just put your money in a slot box and no ticket is...
I asked one of the parking men about vans. He said if it was a van with a couple of people he would charge it as a car. The higher charge is intended for groups and large campervans. There is more than one parking man...

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