Corrie Fee is part of the Caenlochan National Nature Reserve and any intrusion in the way of works etc must be approved by Scottish Natural Heritage. Apparently a recent survey identified parts of the footpath within the corrie as requiring repair/upgrading. It is believed that following this survey SNH initiated the proposal to upgrade the existing footpath, which leads into the corrie. Forest Enterprise subsequently applied for a grant to Scottish Natural Heritage in order that they may comply with this request.
Forest Enterprise state that the path was to be upgraded to facilitate the extraction of deer and the mending of fences whilst SNH give the impression that it was to assist the Upland Footpath Contractors in their efforts to repair the path. All very strange when one considers that no machinery or vehicle intrusion is permitted with the SSSI. Another anomaly is the fact that the materials to repair the path within the Corrie are allegedly to be flown in from near Bachnagairn, so why create a vehicular track in the first place. Maybe the truth will out in the foreseeable future.
The path, which was built to a limited specification, can only be described as an eyesore and now requires urgent remedial works. The path is 580 metres in length and was laid at a cost of £10 per metre. It will probably cost in the region of £20 per metre to eliminate the damage and make the path useable to the walking public. Obvious faults are poorly constructed drains, which are probably impassable for vehicles and dangerous for hill goers. Insufficient detail to landscaping, stumps protruding from the path which could be dangerous, and a general appearance that the whole contract was carried out at speed and without thought of the environmental impact.
I am pleased to report that Mike Dales & Mike Newbury visited the site of this unfortunate mishap on behalf of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and it is anticipated that action will follow their visit.
Scottish Natural Heritage have intimated their continuing interest in the path and one can only hope that pressure will brought to bear on Forest Enterprise who ultimately are responsible for this poorly constructed path in a National Scenic Area.
Jim Maison, August 1999
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