Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘It’s an exclusive experience’: Councillors back country ranger charges – but say tourists should stump up more for guides

Colin Pike overlooking the Dee from the Maryculter House Hotel. Picture by Kenny Elrick
Colin Pike overlooking the Dee from the Maryculter House Hotel. Picture by Kenny Elrick

Tourists could pay hundreds for the “exclusive experience” of wilderness walks with Aberdeenshire Council’s country rangers.

The local authority is working on plans to monetise the service, with staff potentially ushering coachloads of paying visitors around the north-east’s best-known beauty spots.

The ploy, which would also be open to companies for morale-boosting staff outings, is designed to cash in on an increasing appetite for the great outdoors.

It was backed this week by members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee.

Groups could be paying for the ‘unique visitor experience’ of walks around natural landmarks like Bennachie. Supplied by Garry Cormack

Are proposed Aberdeenshire country rangers charges too cheap?

Councillors heard that the cost for the service would be about £29 per hour, with groups of 10 at a time being taken out and about.

North Kincardine member, Colin Pike, believes officers are looking a gifthorse in the mouth by imposing bargain basement rates.

He reckons the price per hour should be five times that – at £150.

Mr Pike said: “The walks by our country rangers are excellently presented and very informative.

“In terms of turning it into a commercial activity, we need to treat this as an exclusive experience for groups to partake in.

“The council doesn’t have any competitor for this.

“I would suggest if we are going to promote this to cruise companies and exclusive hotels, then we should be looking at this as a privileged experience for visitors.

“I think for a maximum of 10 people per ranger, for every tour, the charge should be £150 an hour.”

Councillor Colin Pike, pictured here looking over the Dee from the Maryculter House Hotel. Picture by Kenny Elrick

The Tory councillor added that firms should have to pay in advance for the service, so that the authority doesn’t suffer as a result of last-minute cancellations.

Charges to be decided later in the year

Sandy Wallace, a Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor, backed Mr Pike’s stance.

Ranger service co-ordinator Fiona Banks had previously explained the scheme to the committee.

She said the six full-time equivalent rangers would work with 10,000 people every year before the pandemic.

And members were told that the council has, in the past, received requests for guided walks from cruise ship companies or hotels looking to arrange activities for conference delegates.

If approved, the Aberdeenshire country rangers charges could come into force later this year.

You can read more about the plans here – 

Council to cash in on country rangers by charging tourists for wilderness walks

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]