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Mountain Bike Trail Digital Mapping Intern with The Cairngorms Capercaillie Project

Location: Grantown-on-Spey
£18,597per year pro-rata
Full-Time (37.5 hrs per week) fixed-term contract for four months
July – October 2021
Closing date: 20 May 2021, 12 noon

About the organisation

The Cairngorms National Park was established in September 2003 and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) became fully operational at the same time – taking on the statutory powers necessary to ensure successful and sustainable development of the area.

The CNPA is designed to be an enabling organisation, promoting partnership working, and giving leadership to all those involved in the Cairngorms. The Park Authority does not duplicate the work of other organisations, such as the enterprise agencies or Scottish Natural Heritage, but is here to ensure there is a joined-up approach to projects and initiatives that help to meet the aims of the Park.

With a staff of 67, plus 19 board members, the Park Authority has several statutory duties including managing outdoor access in the Park, planning and development management, the production of a Local Development Plan and the publication of a National Park Partnership Plan.
For more information on the National Park and the CNPA please visit the website.

The Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and led by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), is the coming together of communities in the Cairngorms National Park, including the mountain biking community, to help secure the long-term survival of capercaillie in the UK.

In 2020, a survey of 388 mountain bikers who ride in the Cairngorms National Park – the last remaining stronghold for capercaillie in the UK – found that almost all feel responsible for the environment they ride in and are willing to change behaviours to help protect the environment.

In response, Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland, the Badenoch and Strathspey Trial Association and a group of over 20 riders from the Cairngorms National Park are now working with the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project to help turn this consensus into action. Their work, to help the mountain biking community to enhance and protect the environment it enjoys, falls within three broad areas:

●       Creating a credible, visible and sustainable Trail Association
●       Providing coordinated and consistent signage and trail information
●       Increasing rider awareness about capercaillie

About the role

Under the three areas of work listed above, the group has identified a number of specific actions, some of which form discrete pieces of work suitable for a 4-month internship.

One piece of work is to identify and map the trails across Badenoch and Strathspey that are used by the mountain biking community and the on-the-ground signage and information about these trails, e.g. promotional information, which is available on and offline.

By mapping this data, the group can make informed decisions regards trail maintenance and development, signage and the promotion of trails to improve the mountain biking experience in the area and reduce impacts on capercaillie.

The map must be hosted on a digital platform that enables data to be easily interrogated and updated, thereby creating a lasting decision-making tool that the local mountain biking community can use.

This work also has wider potential. Firstly, as part of the Active Cairngorms Strategy, which aims to encourage residents and visitors to increase levels of physical activity through improved mapping and signage. And as part of CNPA’s People and Nature Thriving Together project, which will involve identifying key off road paths that link to proposed active travel networks. Identifying these paths will enable the project to achieve ambitious active travel and path development goals for Badenoch and Strathspey.


The group of riders working with the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, currently has access to a PDF map of trails using Trailforks and Strava data. This has been overlaid with capercaillie data. However, more work is needed to ensure that all trails across Badenoch and Strathspey used by the mountain biking community are mapped, and the on-the-ground signage and information available about these trails is also mapped.

The tasks required are therefore as follows:

  • Identify all the data available about trails, signage and information about trails (e.g. promotional), who owns the data and how to access
  • Work with the mountain biking group to decide which data to map
  • Scope tools for mapping the data, e.g. ArcGIS Hub, CaperMap
  • Decide with the mountain biking group the best tool to use
  • Access and map the data using the chosen tool
  • Work with the mountain biking group to ground-truth the data and update where necessary

An accessible web-based GIS decision-making tool for the local mountain biking community

Line management
You will be line-managed by the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project but work closely with the mountain biking group.


CNPA is looking for an intern with a passion for the Scottish outdoors who has an understanding of the importance of geographical mapping for land management and conservation.

The following skills/experience are deemed essential:

  • High levels of IT literacy and GIS understanding
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Competent and confident sourcing, organising and managing data
  • Experience setting up, testing and developing new systems
  • Experience creating spatial datasets and working with GIS
  • An eye for detail
  • Well organised with a systematic approach to work
  • Flexible and responsive
  • Able to work unsupervised and to own initiative

If you have any questions about this role or the organisation please contact jobs@aai-employability.org.uk. Please do not under any circumstances contact the employer directly as doing so may negatively impact your employment opportunity.


Closing date: 20 May 2021, 12 noon

Please submit a CV and tailored Cover Letter through the AAI EmployAbility online application form by clicking “Apply” on our website. Examples of what we like to see in a cover letter can be found HERE

All applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the closing date. In your Cover Letter, please state: A) your availability and B) relevant information on your skills/experience pertaining to the job specifications.

We do NOT accept email applications unless otherwise stated.

Successful candidates must, by the start of the employment, have permission to work in the UK.


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