This is a long job! The campaign against the funicular railway on Cairn Gorm was what gave much of the life and drive to the Cairngorms Campaign and the loss of that battle did much to enervate it. When I was asked to take over convenorship of the Campaign at the 2004 AGM, I did not clearly realise the scale of the job I had to undertake. I am the first to admit I have not progressed as far as I would have liked in the time. The finances of the organisation do not at present permit it to employ a project officer so I have had to simultaneously attend to the organisational development of the Campaign and act as the project officer reacting to issues as they arose such as a planned line of giant pylons through the Park, housing proposals in semi-ancient woodlands, water pipeline improvements in Glen Einich, and the management of red deer on Caenlochan (or rather the lack of it).
However, we have slowly turned the corner. Membership, which was falling, is rising again, and there are more active helpers working within the campaign including a part time administrative officer. A Development Plan is now in its nth draft and we hope will be completed soon.
However, most important of all, the Campaign needs a clear focus and function. Campaign for what after all? Two functions of the Campaign are already clear. It must focus on the broad Cairngorms area, as must NEMT. But whereas NEMT fulfils the very important role of drawing the outdoor recreational lobby into the arena, with all its love of the Cairngorms Environment, the Campaign must try and draw in a wider membership of the interested, supportive public. It will be doing this in the years to come. Another function of the Campaign is to coordinate the efforts of the wide range of voluntary recreational and environmental organisations with an interest in the Cairngorms. It is now doing this; holding regular meetings with them around the table and pooling our knowledge and experience. NEMT has sent representatives to these meetings.
Beyond that, the Campaign has to stimulate its membership and its partner organisations in the Cairngorms to develop a vision for them and help work towards that vision proactively.
R Drennan Watson, Convenor of the Cairngorms Campaign
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