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Winterhighland Aviemore webcams taken down by Natural Retreats?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As many snowHeads will know, the winterhighland website is a very useful resource for information about the Scottish ski areas, with weather and snow reports, information on pistes and lifts that are open etc.

Also as many snowHeads will know, there has been much criticism of the way in which the management company Natural Retreats/Cairngorm Mountain Ltd has been managing the operation at Cairngorm Mountain, with their failure to consider ideas for reinstating/replacing the Ciste side lift and indeed recently removing the old chairlift towers and infrastrucure to much criticism. Events at Cairngorm have prompted active efforts to launch a community buy-out bid to take control of the resort.

It seems that NR/CML have now taken their (mis?)management at Cairngorm to yet another level. According to the winterhighland website, quote "Shortly before 10.30am on Friday 24th November CairnGorm Mountain Ltd staff unlawfully entered the Scottish Ski Club Hut and interfered with the operation of our webcams, weather station and network equipment." It's worthwhile pointing out that NR/CML are not the owners of the land there - HIE (Highlands and Islands Enterprise) still retain ownership of the Cairngorm Estate, and infrastructure including the funicular railway. Cairngorm Mountain Ltd and Natural Retreats are only management companies appointed by them. If what Winterhighland alleges is true then NR/CML would appear to have broken the law, so I trust this matter has been referred to the Police...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Has Cairngorm Mountain Ltd given any explanation of why this happened? As it is, it sounds disgraceful.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm struggling to understand why they would do that? Surely webcams are beneficial to their business??
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@kitenski, Perhaps it's part of their cunning plan to reduce the number of snowsports users at Cairngorm.... Shocked
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Pretty sure I read somewhere on WH that due to a dispute between both companies they would not be providing snow reports for Cairngorms. This was a couple of weeks ago. It might have been the Visit Scotland page???
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kitenski wrote:
I'm struggling to understand why they would do that? Surely webcams are beneficial to their business??

I was told by locals that some of the ski resorts around Vancouver shutdown their webcams, as if when viewed there was rain on the lens, the number of visitors were significantly lower. I'm guessing that without webcams people would risk a visit, and once there ski anyway, rather than going elsewhere.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Alastair Pink, I don't know anything about the situation, but to make public a statement of unlawful entry against a company, they must have some pretty strong proof, and it wasn't just misunderstanding. The why it was done is a different matter.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@PowderAdict, I suspect the default on the ground around Vancouver (since they had adequate snow to hold a Winter Olympics) is there is snow. Conditions in Scotland vary wildly day by day. Who would risk traveling without being able to at least see the coverage? The view including the balcony was very useful as it showed the amount of fresh. Cairngorm was already my 4th or 5th choice due to previous experience there. Can't see me going back with the current management. It's a pity as Aviemore is by far the best village for apres ski.
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what...snow wrote:
It's a pity as Aviemore is by far the best village for apres ski.


Absolutely! I feel sorry for the Aviemore businesses who depend very much on snowsport visitors to the area. Let's hope that the proposal for a community buy-out of Cairngorm can succeed, imv it's the best hope to reverse the sad decline of what was Scotland's premier ski area.
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Now I am no lover of natural retreats and by no means an expert but there does seem to have been something of a campaign of dislike (won't use the word hate) launched recently. Isn't the best way forward surely about two way communication rather than public slagging. Lots said about old chairlifts but they haven't run for years and perhaps time has come to accept that they were never going to run anyway. As I say I am no expert and am sure there are many things I don't know on both sides.
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I have sent a mail to cairngormmountain.org, asking them to explain what is going on here. I'll report if I receive any answer.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I suspect no reply will be forthcoming
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
We shall see. It seemed worth trying to hear their side of the picture.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Alastair Pink, they have acted outrageously for quite a while. Getting rid of senior personnel and looking to make the area a (more) profitable year round tourist destination via the funicular, rather than caring about snow sports. The pioneers of Cairngorm must be turning in their graves.
All in my own insignificant opinion of course Confused
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Surely it's about balance and maximising both snowsports and non snowsports income, I was always under the impression that all the Scottish resorts needed the most income they could get in the non winter months to support the snowsports offering
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@kb36, the non winter months seem to be the golden egg of the present custodians.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
They have hardly had great snow conditions since they took over though
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ParkswatchScotland have a possible reason for NR's action in taking down Winterhighland's webcams?
Quote "Why would Natural Retreats want to do this? Well, while they have their own webcams, these have been turned off at certain times and the winter highland webcam provided evidence last year of the unlawful works at the Shieling Rope tow…………they have had reason not to want any independent evidence of what they are doing on the mountain." (For those who don't know, the works on the Shieling Rope tow were done by NR in apparent breach of the planning permission conditions, including an unauthorised access track which was only later given retrospective planning permission)
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from the Cairngorm mountain ltd facebook page

" We understand the concern that has been expressed about the removal of the Winter Highland webcam from the exterior of the Scottish Ski Club hut at CairnGorm Mountain. We would like to highlight that we had discussions with the Scottish Ski Club before its removal, and sought to consult with Winter Highland also. This particular webcam did not link in with the rest of the live camera feeds at CairnGorm Mountain. We fully recognise that the webcams are consulted frequently by snowsports enthusiasts to help plan their trips to CairnGorm Mountain, as they provide live updates of conditions at the resort. Our aim now will be to replace the webcam within the next week with a new one that feeds in to the rest of our systems, so that we can provide a live, accurate picture of conditions at all times on the Mountain. The relaunch of our CairnGorm Mountain App in anticipation of the winter season, will then give users full visibility of the main runs on the mountain in one easy to access location. In addition to the app, all live feeds from our webcams can be viewed at http://www.cairngormmountain.org/webcam-overview"

If this webcam didn't link with the rest of the 'live' webcams, why just get it linked, rather than remove it completely ?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
albob wrote:
If this webcam didn't link with the rest of the 'live' webcams, why just get it linked, rather than remove it completely ?


Reading between the lines I'd guess because they don't own it so can't link it into "their" systems, ie webpage, etc etc.
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@kitenski, Dohhh -- why didn't I think of that......!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
And reading between the lines, what they omitted was "and we want to be able to control what people see (or don't get the chance to see)." Perish the thought that there should be a camera that NR have no control over.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
yes- i definitely think its more to do with not having control over what is shown on that camera! I've always found cairngorm the most economical with the truth about conditions. It is such a shame the bad press cairngorm are getting at the moment, because to most of the uk 'aviemore' is scottish skiing.

I am happy to take my money elsewere, almost always split my time between glenshee/ glencoe when I can. Much happier with what both those centres do, and that makes me more likely to go even on marginal days.

where as like many others I feel the public money that has been given to cairngorm, could have been used better. They should have the pinnacle of scottish skiing, where as most recently they have shown they just want to reduce this service.
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deerman wrote:
And reading between the lines, what they omitted was "and we want to be able to control what people see (or don't get the chance to see)." Perish the thought that there should be a camera that NR have no control over.


Quite. And what right do they have to interfere with winterhighland's private property (i.e webcam equipment) that was installed on the SSC hut (also privately owned) with SSC's agreement? If NR had "pressured" SSC to remove permission for the webcam (though quite why SSC would agree to such a request I find hard to understand), then the correct and courteous route would have been for SSC to contact winterhighland asking them to remove their webcam at their earliest convenience - not for NR staff to remove it! Evil or Very Mad
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Quick follow up to my above post. The following statement is on the SSC's facebook page:

"Members will be aware from recent web communication that the Winter Highland webcams have now been removed from the SSC Cairngorm hut. We wish to make it clear that, whilst some communication occurred between the committee and NR staff before the cameras were removed, our wish was that the cameras would be retained (my italics) and any issues which may have arisen between WL and NR openly addressed and resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. SSC regret that this has not been possible but welcome NR's decision to erect their own cameras to ensure SSC members and other mountain users have the benefit of the same viewpoints."
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albob wrote:
from the Cairngorm mountain ltd facebook page

" We understand the concern that has been expressed about the removal of the Winter Highland webcam from the exterior of the Scottish Ski Club hut at CairnGorm Mountain. We would like to highlight that we had discussions with the Scottish Ski Club before its removal, and sought to consult with Winter Highland also. This particular webcam did not link in with the rest of the live camera feeds at CairnGorm Mountain. We fully recognise that the webcams are consulted frequently by snowsports enthusiasts to help plan their trips to CairnGorm Mountain, as they provide live updates of conditions at the resort. Our aim now will be to replace the webcam within the next week with a new one that feeds in to the rest of our systems, so that we can provide a live, accurate picture of conditions at all times on the Mountain. The relaunch of our CairnGorm Mountain App in anticipation of the winter season, will then give users full visibility of the main runs on the mountain in one easy to access location. In addition to the app, all live feeds from our webcams can be viewed at http://www.cairngormmountain.org/webcam-overview"

If this webcam didn't link with the rest of the 'live' webcams, why just get it linked, rather than remove it completely ?


Winterhighland are disputing CML's above statement. Quote from their fb page: "This statement from CairnGorm Mountain Ltd is not factual. CML did not remove the webcams from the exterior of the SSC Hut, as the webcams were internal looking out windows of the hut and could only be removed by entry to the hut."

Hmm, conflicting statements, who to believe..... Wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I did receive a reply from Cairngorm Mountain Ltd to my query about this case, with the explanation given in the statement posted here by albob.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I suppose the more interesting question is: what have NR done, are doing, or are about to do, that they do not want anyone to see on an inconveniently placed webcam.
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