THE much anticipated extension of the popular Speyside Way has moved on another step with planning permission being granted for several short but key sections of the route.

The Speyside Way is one of Scotland's official Long Distance Routes. It was first opened in 1981 to run from Spey Bay to Ballindalloch and was extended over the years to reach Aviemore in 2000.

The route is currently 65 miles long but the plan is to extend it to Newtonmore about 15 miles to the south. The whole route is expected to take around three to five years to complete and cost around £2 million

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The Cairngorms National Park Authority's planning committee gave the go-ahead for the 0.75miles of new path and stock fencing south of the Highland Main Line railway opposite the Dalraddy Holiday Park, three miles south of Aviemore; 1.18 miles of new path south east of the Highland Main Line on the Kinrara Estate; half a mile of path east of the Loch Insh Outdoor Centre at the village of Kincraig; and over 200 yards of new path over the Allt Dibheach burn, near Aviemore.

Eleanor Mackintosh, the Cairngorm National Park Authority planning committee convener, said: "We are delighted progress continues to be made on the Speyside Way extension. "