Cairngorms National Park
Take in The Fresh Air of Scotland with a Mountaintop View
It is easy to see why so many visitors are drawn to Scotland each year, but one area of the country that can sometimes go unnoticed is one of the best places to visit any time of the year. Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the British Isles and its 1,748 square miles of countryside has become a huge draw for outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe since its establishment in 2003. You should definitely make Cairngorms National Park a part of your national park itinerary. There is so much to see and do, you will want to come back again and again. Cycling is a great way to stay fit and apart from the fitness aspect of it all, it is quite enjoyable to see the world pass you by from the open air of a bicycle. Cairngorms National Park is a cyclist’s dream. You are able to ride along some of the most breathtaking flat lands and for a true challenge of your cycling skills, head into the mountains. Cyclists have well-defined paths to ride along throughout the entire park and depending on your abilities, you can choose a very challenging path or a slower paced leisure path for your ride.
Natural and Rare Animals
It can be great fun to go to the local zoos to see animals, but you often do not get the chance to see the rarest of creatures and certainly none of them are in their natural habitat. If you are a true animal lover, you enjoy seeing how and why animals behave the way they do and that cannot always be done in the confined atmosphere of a zoo. Branching out into the wilderness of Cairngorms National Park offers guests the chance to see some of the rarest animals around without them being locked in a cage. If you take your time and are quiet while walking through the wilderness at this park, you may get the chance to see the illusive and rare Scottish Wildcat, or the truly remarkable Golden Eagle. A shot of one of these animals in their natural habitat is truly a prize to be had and while perched at the right place at the right time, you could take home the perfect picture to cherish forever.
Some national parks close down in the dead of winter for lack of guests or the winters are simply too harsh to maintain the roads throughout the park for safe travel. Cairngorms National Park is alive and well throughout the year and although summer, spring, and autumn may be the times that most people visit the area, it is certainly not the only chance you have to enjoy the park. Skiing has become one of the best things to do in the park during the frigid winter months and rightfully so. Cairngorms National Park is situated in the Cairngorm Mountain Range and therefore snow fall is quite frequent during the colder months. Skiing the slopes will offer some challenges and they are not to be taken on by novice skiers, but if you have the skills and the expertise, you can get a spectacular skiing experience during your visit. Be sure to bring in all the equipment you will need along with some form of communication device should you get hurt while skiing. Always practice safety first.
Things to Know
Like all national parks, Cairngorms National Park has to maintain operating costs to pay for the upkeep of this quite large park as well as pay for the staff throughout the year. They do not charge an entrance fee to do this, but rather a car parking fee. The fee is quite low and will only cost you a few dollars to park, but if you know where to look, you can park for free. There are a number of free parking areas and the trick to finding one of them is to arrive at the park very early. These are the first parking areas to fill up during the day and locating them is easy if you stop by the visitor’s center on the way in. There they have maps of the park with all parking locations along with locations of food and supply shops throughout. Knowing where these things are will make your trip far easier especially if you happen to be traveling with small children that can get tired and hungry quite quickly.
Cairngorms National Park is a beautiful park full of fun and entertainment for all, but you have to respect the area as well as the creatures that inhabit it. Never approach an animal or infringe on its natural habitat to get a close up view of it. They may act erratically and can attack if provoked. Always stay safe and enjoy the park for all its majestic natural beauty.
Britain’s largest National Park containing its highest mountain range and its biggest native forests; spectacularly clean rivers and lochs; moorland and farmland and a stronghold for Britain’s wildlife.
Key areas of interest
- Dramatic mountain landscapes
- Ancient Caledonian pine forests
- Home to many of the UK’s unique wildlife
- Great for hillwalking, climbing and cycling
- Winter sports including skiing
- Historic castles, towns, whisky and Highland estates