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Cairngorms National Park

Inverness-shire, Scotland

Location Guide

The Cairngorms are Scotland's and Britain's premier mountain range in scale, altitude and sheer wilderness. It has the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the UK and includes moorlands, forests, rivers, lochs and glens.

The Cairngorms stretches from Grantown on Spey to the heads of the Angus Glens, from Ballater to Dalwhinnie and Drumochter including much of the Laggan area in the southwest and a large area of the Glen Livet estate and the Strathdon/Glen Buchat area. The forests of the Cairngorms contain remnants of the original Caledonian pine forest and includes a rare kind of pinewood found only in Scotland and Norway. Heather moorland covers much of the national park.

The Cairngorms is harsh an unforgiving environment, with mountains mostly above 4,000 feet. Despite these harsh conditions, look closely and you'll find wildlife aplenty from birds to larger animals and small mammals.

There is also a mountain railway.

Bird watching

The Cairngorms is home to the Scottish Crossbill, the only bird unique to Britain. Golden Eagle, Osprey, Dotterell, Capercaillie, and Crested Tit are also found here.  Also look out for the grey coloured Ptarmigan and the elusive Snow Bunting, recognisable from its white head and underbelly and distinctive bird song.

The National Park is home to Pine Martens, Red Squirrels, Badgers, Wildcats, Water Vole, and Otters.

From fish to plants

The rivers are home to a rising population of the freshwater pearl mussel, as well as salmon, trout, and rare lampreys.

Also look out for the British Crayfish, which is very distinct from its American cousin, but remember that these creatures are protected in law.

The extensive Cairngorms mountains support tundra and arctic alpine plant and animal communities over a larger continuous area than anywhere else in Britain.

Location: Cairngorms National Park - Scotland

Grid Reference: NJ031277 Ceremonial County: Inverness-shire

Map Link: VIEW MAP

Aerial photo:

Getting there: Located 10 miles from Aviemore in Scotland. Public transport by rail to Aviemore.

Access: Walking is best - call the Cairngorm ranger base for wildlife and weather information. Limited wheelchair access. Pay and display car parks and laybys around and about.
Website: www.cairngorms.co.uk
Other Useful Websites: www.cairngorms.com
Email: enquiries@cairngorms.co.uk
Address: Cairngorms National Park Authority, 14 The Square, Grangetown on Spey
Postcode: PH26 3HG Telephone: 01479 873535
Opening Times: All year round

Charges: Free public access.

Nearby Locations:
Other Location Pages:
Other Relevant Pages:

Notes: Nature Watching available all year round, highlights include Wildlife watching mammals, birds of prey, butterflies, amphibian life, freshwater fish.


When taking any mountain hike or exploration, be prepared and take along waterproof clothing and footwear, binoculars and other items in case of an emergency.



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By: Tracey Park Section: National Parks Key:
Page Ref: cairngorms_national_park Topic: Routes    Last Updated: ?07/2009


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