Cairngorms National Park
As the largest and youngest national park in Britain, Cairngorms National Park has a lot to offer. This 3 800 square kilometer area was proclaimed a national park in September 2003 as part of efforts to care for the unique and diverse wildlife and countryside. Unlike other national parks across the world, Cairngorms National Park is home to some 16 000 people who had made their homes in the area before it became a national park. These people work together with local authorities to ensure that the animals, plants and birds that have made Cairngorms their home here are not put in any danger or under any unnecessary stress. Currently some 25% of the country’s threatened plants, birds and animals live in the Cairngorms area, so special care is taken to protect the delicate balances which, if upset, could start the downward plummet towards extinction.
The Cairngorms National Park is a fairly mountainous area and four of the country’s highest mountains are situated within the boundaries of the park. The vast majority of the park has an elevation of 400 meters above sea level while some ten percent exceeds this and reaches to about 800 meters in height. Because of its situation and height, a large portion of the park is classified as arctic wilderness. Thus the park enjoys a large number of arctic landforms and has the privilege of having the second best collection of such landforms in the world. But the park does not only feature mountainous terrain. It includes forest, rivers, lochs, moorlands and glens with the Spey, Don and Dee valleys playing a major role in the lower-lying areas.
Because of the varied terrain, the national park is home to a unique combination of vegetation, insects, birds and animals. The Caledonian pine forest has very rare pinewood which is only found in two places in the world and the various bodies of water in the park are considered to be some of the cleanest in the country. Bird lovers can expect to find the Scottish Crossbill, the Golden Eagle, the Dotterell, the Crested Tit, the Capercaillie, the Osprey, amongst others. Animal lovers will delight in the squirrels, water voles, wildcats, badgers and otters who roam the park while those with a passion for underwater creatures will find salmon, trout, lampreys and the endangered freshwater pearl mussel. The majority of the people who live here live in towns, villages, hamlets and on countryside estates. The area has a low population density and much of the tourism infrastructure for the park is supported by these towns. So visit the Cairngorms National Park and discover this amazing natural treasure for yourself.