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Cairngorms National Park Key Facts

The Cairngorms National Park is Britain's largest national park. It contains within it a unique range of landscapes, wildlife, habitats, and people.

LANDSCAPES

A very large area. The Park is 4528 sq kilometres in area, 40% larger than the Lake District and twice the size of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
A mountainous area. Five of Scotland's six highest mountains lie within the Park, there are 52 summits over 900 metres. 10% of the land area is over 800 metres and 68% is over 400 metres above sea level.
An arctic wilderness. The land above 600 metres - known as the 'montane zone' - is the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the British isles.
The Cairngorms contains the finest collection of different landforms outside arctic Canada - from granite tors to heavings and leavings from Ice Age glaciers. The Spey, Dee and Don valleys are major features of the lower ground.

HABITATS

39% of the park area is designated as important for nature heritage; 25% is of European importance.
The central mountain area provides a harsh habitat for a unique assemblage of vegetation, insects and animals.
The forests of the Cairngorms contain remnants of the original Caledonian pine forest and includes a rare kind of pinewood found only in Scotland and Norway.
Heather moorland covers much of the national park. A product of centuries of interaction between man and nature, it fosters enormous ecological diversity.
The rivers, loch and marshes are among the cleanest in Scotland.

WILDLIFE

The National Park is home to 25% of the UK's threatened bird, animal and plant species.
The Cairngorms is the best place in the UK for the Scottish Crossbill, the only bird unique to Britain. Golden Eagle, Osprey, Dotterell, Capercaillie, and Crested Tit are just a few of the bird species also found here.
The National Park is home to a wide variety of animals - including pine marten, red squirrels, badgers, wildcats, water vole, and otters.
The rivers are home to a rising population of the globally endangered freshwater pearl mussel, as well as salmon, trout, and rare lampreys.

PEOPLE

The National Park is home to around 16,000 people, living in substantial towns, villages, hamlets, and houses in the countryside. At 4.2 people per square kilometre, the population density is very low.
Major centres of population are Aviemore, Ballater, Braemar, Grantown-on-Spey, Kingussie, Newtonmore, and Tomintoul.
Tourism-related businesses account for about 80% of the economy, including activities such as ski-ing, walking, fishing, shooting and stalking.
It is thought that at least 1.4m people visit the Cairngorms each year.

 

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