The Cairngorms National Park (Scottish Gaelic Pàirc Nàiseanta a' Mhonaidh Ruaidh) is a national park in north east Scotland, established in 2003. It was the second of two national parks established by the Scottish Parliament, after Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, set up in 2002. The park covers the Cairngorms range of mountains, and surrounding hills. Already the largest national park in the British Isles, in 2010 it expanded into Highland and Perth and Kinross.

The area

Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park covers an area of 4,528 km2 (1,748 sq mi) in Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Angus and Perth and Kinross Regions. The Cairngorm Mountains are a spectacular landscape, similar in appearance to the Hardangervidda National Park of Norway in having a large upland plateau. While the Hardengervidda National Park is recognised as a category 2 national park under the IUCN categories (no activity that has a lasting impact on the natural environment is permitted) the Cairngorm National Park is a category 5 protected landscape (sustainable development area) that has farmed and managed landscapes in which tourism is encouraged. Aviemore is a busy and popular holiday destination. The Highland Wildlife Park and Dalwhinnie distillery also lie within the National Park.

National park boundary

Before the National Park was established in 2003, Scottish Natural Heritage conducted a consultation exercise, considering the boundary and the powers and structure of the new park authority. One option presented for the area included Tomatin, Blair Atholl, Aboyne and Glen Shee, making the park twice as big as the Lake District National Park. The area finally chosen was smaller than expected, but still the largest in Britain. It involved the boundary areas of Carrbridge, Laggan, Dalwhinnie, Grantown-on-Spey and Ballater. Many groups and local communities felt that a large area of highland Perth and Kinross should form part of the park and carried out a sustained campaign.

On 13 March 2008 Michael Russell announced that the National Park would be extended to take in Blair Atholl and Spittal of Glenshee. There was also controversy surrounding the construction of the funicular Cairngorm Mountain Railway on Cairn Gorm, a scheme supported by the new National Park Authority. Supporters of the scheme claimed that it would bring in valuable tourist income, whilst opponents argued that such a development was unsuitable for a protected area. To reduce erosion, the railway operates a "closed scheme" and only allows skiers (in season) out of the upper Ptarmigan station.

On 4 October 2010 the Park extended into Highland Perthshire and Glenshee.

Settlements within the national park

Cairngorms National Park

The National Park Authority shares statutory planning functions with the five local authorities within the national park boundary.


(All in the Marr committee area.)

  • Ballater
  • Braemar
  • Corgarff
  • Crathie
  • Dinnet
  • Strathdon
  • Lumsden


Only the heads of the Angus Glens are within the park: they only contain one village.

  • Clova


(All in the Badenoch and Strathspey committee area, nearly the entire area of which is in the national park.)

  • Aviemore
  • Boat of Garten
  • Carrbridge
  • Dalwhinnie
  • Dulnain Bridge (Moray and Highland are separated by the bridge, so falls into both categories.)
  • Drumochter
  • Grantown on Spey
  • Kingussie
  • Laggan
  • Nethy Bridge
  • Newtonmore


  • Glenlivet
  • Tomintoul

Perth and Kinross

  • Blair Atholl
  • Killiecrankie
  • Spittal of Glenshee

See also

Cairngorms National Park
  • Blair Castle
  • Caledonian Forest
  • National parks of Scotland
  • Scottish Highlands
  • SEARS (Scotland's Environmental and Rural Services)
  • Tourism in Scotland
  • World Heritage Sites in Scotland


External links

Cairngorms National Park
  • Cairngorms National Park website
  • Cairngorms Park Holiday Information Portal
  • Cairngorms National Park website for accommodation and activities
  • Map with boundaries before and after 4/10/10 extension
  • Cairngorms Climate How will climate change affect the park?

Cairngorms National Park

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