The Cairngorm National Park is the UK’s largest National Park and not only contains a large mountain range that offers fantastic hiking, but also some serious variations given that there is over two-thousand square miles of countryside to explore.
The National Park was formed in 2003 and in the past only covered the counties of Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland and Angus, however the Scottish Parliament later extended it into Perth and The Kinross Regions which expanded the park into it's currently form.
The area contains the large mountain range of The Cairngorms which offers both some amazing hiking and if you really want a challenge, some serious climbing.
The key downside to walking in this area is the location and the weather. We must have been to this location twenty times in the last ten years and I have never see the sun to this day. An average day is cold, wet and windy which makes camping and hiking in this area a real challenge.
The National Park includes the remnants of the original Caledonian pine forest within it’s near two-thousand square miles of countryside and is located to the north of Inverness and west of Aberdeen. The area is truly enormous and offers 52 walk able summits with the highest being the second highest peak in the UK, Ben Macdui which is only slightly shorter that Ben Nevis and four of Scotland's five highest peaks.
The area is truly amazing and whilst there are not thousands of miles of walkways and paths as you would expect, the area does offer some fantastic walking and hiking meaning that hikers can choose from a range of different walks from easy flat land to the most severe and challenging pathways possible. On a clear day, the views are amazing as is the wildlife especially if you’re lucky enough to see the amazing Golden Eagle which spends lives and hunts in this area.
Despite the mountainous area, people have lived here for thousands of years. Today over twenty-thousand people call this place home in villages to include Aviemore, Ballater, Braemar, Newtonmore, and Tomintoul. If walking is not your thing, this is a fantastic area to relax into and offers wealth of other things to do to include;
- Rock-Climbing, World-class mountain-bike trails, Cross-country skiing trails, Pony treks and Orienteering courses.
- Take a visit to the UK’s only free-grazing reindeer herd at Glen More.
- Take a ride on the highest railway in the UK to a top station at nearly ,097 m (3,599 ft) above sea level.
- Drink a glass of single malt whisky at the Glenlivet Distillery at Tomintoul, part of the world renowned Malt Whisky Trail.
If the Caledonian National Park in Scotland is not for you and you fancy a trip abroad, then how about visiting The Alps and doing some serious walking, hiking up mountains or even practice your climbing skills.