One of the most popular national parks in Britain is definitely Scotland’s Cairngorms. This wonderful wilderness area is approximately 1,750 square miles in size and was established as a park in 2003. Cairngorms is actually the biggest national park in all of Britain as it’s double the size of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, as well as the popular Lake District.
Cairngorms is also known as a high country park since 4 of the 5 tallest peaks in Scotland are located in it. In addition, over a third of the park is more than 2,625 feet above sea level. The land that lies higher than 1,970 feet above sea level belong to a wilderness habitat that is filled with representative species of plants. This area is quite reminiscent of the Arctic.
[Photo By eguidetravel]
The parkland has been around for centuries and has quite a rich and interesting history. Some of the land used to be used as burial mounds in prehistoric times and there are remnants of ancient stone circles that date back about 6,000 years. The Scottish clan system was in place in the area between the 10th and 18th centuries and you can still see the remains of several old castles and forts.
Once the Victorian era arrived, thousands of tourists used to come here to enjoy the natural beauty that Mother Nature had provided. The Strathspey Steam Railway was built during this time period as was the great royal retreat known as Balmoral Castle, which was a favourite country holiday spot of Queen Victoria.
A lot of the landscape in Cairngorms Park is relatively bare as it features heather-covered moors and treeless hills. However, there are some historical forests on the site too. You’ll come across old Caledonian pine forests that are also home to a rare pinewood tree that can only be found in Norway and Scotland.
Wildlife enthusiasts enjoy exploring the park as there is a wide variety of animals and birds there. A quarter of Britain’s threatened bird, plant, and animal species can all be found in the park. The crystal-clear rivers are overflowing with fresh salmon and trout and freshwater pearl mussels, which are endangered, can also be found in the waters. If you look up into the skies you shouldn’t be surprised to spot ospreys, Scottish crossbills and eagles flying around.
When the winters arrive, Cairngorms is quite a popular destination for skiers as there are 3 different skiing areas, which are Lecht, Glenshee, and Cairngorm Mountain. Ice climbing is also popular during the winter months and in the summers, there are plenty of summits and vertical rocks to climb. Camping is popular at any time of the year and guides are available for climbers who don’t have much experience.
You can reach Cairngorms National Park by major Scottish roadways as well as a combination of train and bus. In addition, many of the local villages are connected to areas of the park by hiking and cycling trails. You’ll find that many of these charming towns rent bicycles. Things can get pretty chilly in the park during the winters, so make sure you wear the appropriate clothing. Summers in the Scottish Highlands aren’t the hottest either, so it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast before going on a climbing, camping, or hiking adventure.
The park is full of opportunities for nature lovers. You’ll find a lot of beautiful space there where you can enjoy your favourite outdoor activities or just relax and breathe in the crisp, cool mountain air.