Cairngorms recreated in video game Minecraft

media captionExplore the Cairngorms - in Minecraft

The Cairngorms' landscape has been recreated in the video game Minecraft to help young people understand how to run a national park.

The virtual world, in which players can build anything using blocks, covers all 1,700 sq miles (4,402 sq km) of the park, which includes parts of Highland, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire.

The settlements have been stripped out and members of the Cairngorms Youth Action Team are being asked to build new communities.

It is designed to get them thinking about how planning decisions are taken.

But it is fair to say that the team are not taking it totally seriously.

Sixteen-year-old Campbell from Aviemore says he has been constructing a hill fort at the top of Cairn Gorm, one of the UK's tallest mountains.

He explains: "It doesn't get the temperature across very well but it gets the landscape.

"We've been up the Cairngorms and seen the corries. The Lairig Ghru's quite recognisable.

"It's as realistic as it can be. You know what area you're in by the different types of trees and if there are trees or not."

image copyrightMinecraft
image captionLoch Kinord has been recreated in the video game
image copyrightMinecraft
image captionThe Cairngorms' Lairig Ghru and a Minecraft llama

Fellow player Ellie Moore said: "While we're trying to build things and farm there's this constant barrage of monsters and enemies that come out at night

"So, it's been quite hard to venture out into the world because you're constantly trying to survive but I'd say where we've been so far has been relatively accurate."

image captionThe game involves building virtual worlds
image captionThe Cairngorms are in Britain's largest national park

Recreating the park was a lockdown project which Dan Harris carried out in his spare time.

During the day he's planning manager for the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

He said: "They're basically dropped onto the map at the place where Aviemore should be and they've been asked to create a community or neighbourhood that meets the aims of the national park.

"So, things they have to start thinking about are how they protect and enhance the natural environment and how they make sustainable use of resources."

image copyrightMinecraft
image captionThe landscape around Ballater in Minecraft

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