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.
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.
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