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18 June 2014
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Uplands | Cairngorms

Mountain and forest magic

Cairngorm reindeer Photo courtesy of Cairngorms NP

Cairngorms National Park has the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the UK. It includes moorlands, forests, rivers, lochs and glens.

The Cairngorms are Britain's premier mountain range in scale, altitude and sheer wilderness.

Cairngorm reindeer

The Cairngorms is harsh an unforgiving environment, with mountains mostly above 4,000 feet.

The National Park 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.

Despite harsh conditions, look closely and you'll find wildlife aplenty from birds to larger animals and small mammals.

Red SquirrelBird watching heaven

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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