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Issue 74 - Ten Years Gone

Scotland Magazine Issue 74
April 2014

 

This article is 3 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Ten Years Gone

A brief history of the Cairngorms

In 2003 the Cairngorms was designated Scotland’s second (and so far most recent) National Park – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs had the distinction of being the first in 2002.

As the Cairngorm National Park now enters its second decade its popularity remains undiminished, an understandable fact as the Park, which stretches from the Angus Glens and Blair Athol in the south to its northern extremity at Grantown-on-Spey and includes areas such as Laggan, Drumochter and Glenlivet, can boast possibly Britain’s most spectacular and diverse landscape and wildlife.

The best way to experience all the Cairngorms National Park has to offer is to simply get out there and explore.

And there is plenty of room to do so. The UK’s largest National Park covers an enormous 4528 square kilometres, twice the size of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Lake District National Parks and contains five of the highest mountains in Britain as well as another 55 peaks over 900 metres in height.

The UK’s largest extent of semi-natural pine forest and expansive remnants of the Great Wood of Caledon
that used to cover swathes of Scotland, also lie within the confines of the Park, as do
vast tracts of moorland and numerous lochs and rivers.

And this diversity of landscape means that nowhere else in the UK will you find such a wide-ranging variety of flora and fauna. The list is exhaustive but red deer, red squirrel, otter, pine marten, golden eagle, osprey, ptarmigan, snow bunting, dark bordered beauty moth, oak, Scots pine, birch, juniper and blueberry are just a very small selection of what can be seen.

The first decade of the Cairngorm National Park’s existence saw some controversy, including the demarcation of its boundaries (which have been extended recently), the Cairn Gorm Funicular Railway, and windfarm developments on the fringes of the Park.
But the future of Cairngorm National Park seems bright.

It continues to draw millions of visitors every year who witness, relish and are in awe of this incredible and unique landscape.