Natural Retreats Job Opening

Senior Ranger

CairnGorm Mountain

  • Job title: Senior Ranger
  • Reports to: Land Manager
  • Location: CairnGorm Mountain
  • Direct Reports: Rangers

Location Overview

Natural Retreats CairnGorm Mountain is the most popular snowsports destination in Scotland, located within the Cairngorms National Park, and has been offering snowsports for over 50 years. The resort is a major tourist hub and it provides an uplift system to the top of Cairn Gorm. In winter, the Resort is a commercial ski operation as well as winter climbing and training. In summer the Resort serves as a summer tourist destination for walkers, nature lovers and tourists. The surrounding area attracts over 1.4 million annual visitors predominantly in summer with the Resort itself attracting over 200,000 annual visitors.

Cairngorm Estate covers a total of 1,418 hectares, 727 ha of which are protected under EU and UK legislation. The 598 ha ski resort can attract over 120,000 skiing and snowboarding visitors in the busy winter period. The Resort offers the only funicular railway in Scotland. Completed in 2001 the funicular railway is the main transport link to the top of Cairn Gorm Mountain and is open all year round. The Resort encompasses the UK’s highest Restaurant which sits at 1,097m above sea level. The Ptarmigan building boasts impressive views of Britain’s highest mountains. The Estate is an internationally renowned area of scientific interest. The Estate and surrounding areas contain unique natural habitats and wildlife protected by EU legislation.

In the summer, the Resort transforms as the snow melts and becomes a hub of activity. The Cairngorm area, including the wider Estate covers 1400 hectares of mountainous countryside and is popular with a wide range of visitors.

Role Overview

The Senior Ranger role is an important cog in the operation of CairnGorm Mountain and the wider estate leading a unique Ranger Service working almost exclusively in mountain terrain within the Cairngorm National Park. The position offers enormous rewards in experiencing wild places and building up an expertise which is sought after by a wide range of visitors. A large part of the role covers high ground in some of the most challenging mountains of Britain so an aptitude for mountain travel on foot and ski will be essential. Some activity will be unaccompanied so you will need to be organised, self reliant and follow our lone-working procedures. Employed by CairnGorm Mountain Ltd you will also have a responsibility to the ultimate Landowners – Highlands and Islands Enterprise as well as the other stakeholders of the surrounding estate.

Purpose of the job:

The role is to lead the Cairngorm Mountain Ranger Service and the Monitoring Scheme for the Cairngorm Mountain Railway. The purpose of the role is to ensure sustainable management of the Cairngorm Estate and to advise on the use and care of the Estate. This is achieved by delivering the Cairngorm Estate Management Plan and contributing to the Cairngorms National Park Ranger Partnership Framework.

Key Responsibilities

• To agree the Operational plan and budget for the Ranger Service for Cairngorm Mountain Ltd with the General Manager.
• To carry out the agreed plan within budget and in accordance with the Ranger Service Guidelines, the Cairngorm Estate Management Plan and the Visitor Management Plan (VMP).
• To have knowledge of the detailed content for each of the three highlighted plans and policies above.
• The Cairngorm Estate Management Plan includes a footpath management plan and a fire plan which require annual reporting via the Land Manager and General Manager.
• To co-ordinate and advise on the operation of the Monitoring Scheme which reports on the workings and effects of the Visitor Management Plan.
• To carry out fieldwork and write up the results for the annual monitoring report Scottish Natural Heritage and the Independent Reporting Officer.
• To ensure a warm welcome to all guests and to provide support to help people enjoy the outdoors
• To increase awareness, understanding, care and responsible use of the natural cultural heritage of the wider Estate.
• To support the sustainable management and use of the outdoors to meet a range of social, economic and environmental objectives.
• To manage a small team of Rangers comprising 2 seasonal Rangers and to manage the operation of the Ranger base station.
• Collaborate with neighboring Ranger Services to facilitate sustainable visitor management and enjoyment of the Cairngorms National Park
• To contribute and support wider Cairngorms National Park initiatives where possible such as the Cairngorms Big Nature Weekend, Cairngorms Junior Ranger Project and Volunteer Cairngorms
• To Develop, support and contribute to the development and delivery of Glenmore Strategy

Additional responsibilities are as follows:
• Resource management – safeguarding, managing and enhancing, as appropriate, the natural resources of the Estate and its visitor facilities (for example, paths, signs).
• Visitor management – encouraging and facilitating the responsible use and enjoyment of the estate.
• Information, interpretation and environmental education – providing information, advice on the opportunities for responsible enjoyment of the estate, and promoting visitors’ understanding, appreciation and care for the natural heritage and environmental sensitivities of the surrounding mountain landscape.
• Visitor safety – providing information and guidance, insofar as is appropriate and practical, on safe recreational use of the Estate and potential dangers, securing assistance to visitors in emergencies, and liaising with the Police and Mountain Rescue Services in emergencies.
• Monitoring – initiating, undertaking and assisting others in environmental, visitor and other monitoring programmes.
• Management, administration, marketing and staff development – ensuring the effective, efficient and economic management of the Ranger Service, including developing and promoting its activities, public profile and the capabilities, skills and experience of its staff.
• Recording and reporting on the operation of the Ranger Service.
• To be responsible for staff appraisals and reviews
• To identify personal development needs for self and the team in line with individual, team and company objectives.
• To keep all certificates and training up to date for team and self
• To be aware of and adhere to Company Health and safety procedures and to work in a safe manner at all times
• To work with and liaise with other teams, supervisors and managers as required as well as thither external bodies and stakeholders.
• To provide periodic reports to the General Manager or Head office in relation to any aspects of the role and work.
• To undertake any other tasks and responsibilities that may from time to time be required.

Person Specification

The role will require a degree of flexibility including weekend working and public holidays. A general level of fitness is required with both mountain walking and skiing abilities as well as being comfortable working outside in inclement weather some of which can involve extremes of temperature. A uniform will be provided including protective clothing and equipment for mountain conditions.

Experience /Qualifications

• Several years’ experience in a Ranger Service or similar countryside management service
• Working with the public and leading group activities in the countryside
• The experience in and ability to present and speak confidently to groups of people
• Mountaineering experience in Scotland both during the summer and winter months and ideally several years skiing experience also.
• Evidence of team work and managing teams/groups of people
• Experience of developing relationships with a variety of external bodies and stakeholders and evidence of regular interactions with positive outcomes
• Registered for or hold a Mountain Leader Award (summer or winter)
• First Aid Certificate (e.g. BASP Outdoor Emergency First Aid course)
• Evidence of qualification or attendance at recognised courses in ranger skills and countryside management
• Clean driving licence
• Other desirable experience would include scientific or monitoring work, interpretation and environmental education and working in a mountain terrain environment

Knowledge & Skills:

• Knowledge of good practice in Ranger Services and countryside management
• Knowledge of mountain footpath repair and construction and practical estate work such as pathwork
• Comfortable using a camera and other monitoring equipment
• Knowledge of the wildlife and fauna of the Cairngorms particularly the mountain habitats would be helpful
• Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
• Evidence of diplomacy and negotiating skills
• Able to take responsibility and to delegate when required
• Ability to give clear direction to others and to motivate people in a group situation
• Ability to work alone as well as part of a wider team and under pressure.
• Excellent attention to detail
• Highly organized
• Excellent IT skills specifically Word and Excel as well as PowerPoint and using emails and computer on a regular basis
• Ideally a strong skier/boarder

Personal Attributes/Behaviours

• A self-motivated individual who is not fazed by an ever-changing environment
• Organised, personable and self reliant
• Committed and enthusiastic about the area and the environment
• Solutions orientated
• Flexible with a ‘Can do’ approach and adaptable
• Honest and reliable
• Team player able to motivate and develop the team as well as self in a Ranger career
• Physically fit and comfortable working outdoors in difficult weather conditions

To apply please send your CV and covering letter to [email protected]