We have all heard of the United States of America national parks such as Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park and much more, with outstanding beauty. Recognised by John Muir the father of national parks. Did you know John Muir was born in Scotland and moved with his family to the United States of America? Here in Scotland, there are two National Parks – Cairngorms National Park and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Here is what you need to know about visiting Cairngorms National Park, a truly spectacular location.
Scotland’s National Parks – Cairngorms National Park
About Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms were formed over 40 million years ago, before the last ice age; and the national park covers from the quaint village of Blair Atholl in the south to the north of Aviemore in the Highlands of Scotland. The national park was established in 2003, with 5 of the top 6 highest mountains in Scotland, alongside forests, rivers, lochs, wildlife such as the elusive Pine Martin and the playful Red Squirrels. It is a must visit!
Activities & Events
During the winter months, it turns into a winter wonderland; a popular ski destination with a blanket of white powered snow covering as far as the eye can see and a hint of magic wavering through the air. There are Reindeer encounters and winter events such as the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally. Discover more and what’s on with Visit Cairngorms.
Flora & Fauna
The hills do come alive in spring with many species of flora and fauna, such as the rare Small Cow-Wheat and The Lesser Butterfly-Orchid.
There are woodland walks taking in some of Scotland’s ancient Pinewoods dating back to 100 and 200 years old. Explore Abernethy Forest, a remnant of the Caledonian Forest in Strathspey. Scotland’s only native coniferous forest is also home to species of birds that can be found nowhere else such as the Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Britain’s only endemic species of bird – Scottish Crossbill.
Travel to the second highest point in Scotland at 1,097 metres (3,599 ft) onboard the Aviemore Funicular/ Mountain Railway. The comfortable and exuberant journey takes 8 minutes. Once at the top you can enjoy the panoramic views across the Cairngorm mountain range, either on the viewing platform, or from the Ptarmigan Restaurant.
There is a range of accommodation to suit most budgets from guest houses to 4/5 star hotels and resorts. To make the most of your visit and give you more flexibility; I would recommend to hire a car, but you can explore on foot and arrive in Aviemore via train or by bus.
There is lots more to see and do including Mar Lodge Estate located in Braemar, Blair castle and Falls of Bruar are all worth a visit!
I hope you enjoyed reading part one of Scotland’s National Parks. As Always I would love to hear from you, please leave any comments/questions below. Happy Travels:) x