Scotland's magnificent Cairngorm Mountains region
Today, I am focusing on the Cairngorms which is the highest massif in Britain and located in north central Scotland. The Cairngorm Mountains consist of a series of peaks and ridges which reach altitudes of up to 4,300 feet (1290 m). The rock is granite. The mountains comprise two contrasting landscapes: smooth, rounded summit areas and deep troughs and corries. The massif constitutes the most extensive area over 3000 feet in Scotland.
Video clip taken from the Mountain Railway
The coincidence of landform and climate has given rise to ideal skiing conditions.The high elevation results in extensive snowfall which stays in situ for long periods thus allowing skiing to continue well into the Spring.
Remoteness of the mountains has fostered a diverse wildlife which includes golden eagles, ptarmigan, capercaillie and other species coupled with unusual alpine flora.
The four key peaks which dominate the Cairngorms are: Ben Macdhui (4295 ft.), Braeriach (4294 ft.), Cairn Toul (4242 ft) and Cairn Gorm (4085 ft.).
The key visitor sites in the area are:
- The town of Aviemore which is focused on skiing and other outdoor activities.
- The Rothiemurchus Estate which offers a diverse range of outdoor pursuits set in a landscape of mountains, lochs and pine forest.
- The Strathspey Steam Railway which operates (April-October) from Aviemore to Boat of Garten.
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Visitor Centre at Aviemore.
- A furnicular railway up the flank of Cairn Gorm to the ski area.
- Ospreys on Loch Garten.
- Loch Morlich which is surrounded by pine and spruce forest and benefits from a sandy beach and watersports centre.