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Walkabout Scotland

4 Interesting Facts About The Cairngorms National Park

Here are some more interesting facts about this very special part of the country.

The Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands is one of the most beautiful places in the UK to visit. It was established in 2003, and extended in 2008 to include Spittal of Glenshee and Blair Atholl. It is home to the world-famous Grampian Mountain range, and Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.

Some of Britain’s rarest wildlife can be spotted in the area, and for outdoor lovers, there is no better place to be. Here are some more interesting facts about this very special part of the country.  

It is the place for wildlife spotters

A quarter of the UK’s rarest and most threatened plant and animal species can be found in the Cairngorms National Park, despite the fact that it is just 2% of the overall landmass, the Park website explains. Iconic birds of prey such as the golden eagle and the osprey are often seen in the Park.

On the upper slopes of the mountains, you will be able to find rare alpine plants and fungi which only grow in cold high altitudes. If you are lucky enough to be enjoying a Cairngorms walking holiday, you have a good chance of spotting red squirrels, which are rare in England, but much more common in this neck of the woods.

If you are very lucky, you may spot a Scottish Wildcat, also known as the Highland Tiger because of their distinctive black striped coats. They don’t look too dissimilar from a large domestic tabby, but they have a thick bushy tail with a blunt black tip. However, they are a very endangered species, and numbers remain low.

It has an abundance of lochs and rivers

The Cairngorms National Park contains three rivers and many lochs, which is the Scottish Gaelic term for a lake. They are noted for supporting a range of aquatic wildlife, including pearl mussel and Atlantic salmon, due to having some of the cleanest water in the UK. 

The rivers and lochs also provide plenty of opportunities for recreation, be it a gentle boat tour or white-water rafting.

It contains ancient woodland sites

The Caledonian Forest once covered the vast majority of Scotland, and it has existed since the end of the last ice age. Over half of the ancient woodland is now within the Cairngorms National Park, and it contains a variety of rare flora and fauna. Most of the area is recognised as being of international importance for its ecology, and is protected by law.

There are currently plans to reintroduce some once-extinct species back into area, including the Eurasian beaver, the grey wolf, elk, and the Eurasian lynx.

There are 55 Munros in the Park

Munros are Scottish mountains over 3,000ft, named after Sir Hugh Munro, who was the first person to climb and measure them all back in the late 19th century. There are also numerous Corbetts, which are mountains of between 2,500ft and 300ft. Any mountain you choose to climb in the area will reward you with spectacular views, if the weather allows!