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Hillwalkers Guide to the Cairngorms

Scotland attracts tourists from the world over to experience countryside scenery. The highland beauty is in part why the country was recently voted the most beautiful in the world, and it’s easy to see why. While the landscape may be comparable to the likes of Canada and even Norway, what helps Scotland stand out (apart from the lovely people) is the accessibility of its beauty.


The length of the whole mainland can be driven in hours, rather than days, and its mountainous areas are well mapped throughout the entire Cairngorm National Park. For anyone wanting to truly experience the Scottish Highlands, the Cairngorms is a good place to start. Offering hills, wildlife, and even a royal connection, tourists to this area will not be disappointed.




Towards the centre of the park, that covers over 1,700 square miles of countryside, lies the small town of Braemar. It can be found on the banks of the River Dee, which flows all the wat to Aberdeen, and eventually into the North Sea. Due to its central location and local hotels, the town is the perfect base for hillwalkers who want to bag Munros in the local area.


Local information shows the town to be frequented by tourists, particularly for the highland games, which dates back to the time of Malcolm III. The British royal family traditionally attend the games to this day as the town is close to the royal highland estate of Balmoral.


Ben Macdhui


The highest mountain in the area is Ben Macdhui; a must see for any budding hillwalkers. Standing at 1,309m tall, it is second tallest peak in the UK, second only to Ben Nevis. Though Ben Nevis is just 30m taller, Ben Macdhui is considered to be a much wilder climb as the area is more remote. On a clear day, though the views at the top are stunning.


Legend has it that the summit of the hill is haunted by a creature or spirt known as the grey man. The stories go that unwitting hillwalkers are often stalked by some kind of unseen presence that inhabits the top of the mountain. A number of different accounts have been written about hikers feeling uneasy at the hill’s summit, so this climb is not for the faint hearted!




As the park is protected land, rare and diverse wildlife can be seen here in its natural habitat. This abundance of nature is another reason that tourists travel so far to this part of Scotland. Depending on what time of year you can hope to see a quarter of species that are considered to be endangered in the UK.


This includes birds like capercaillie, pine martens, ospreys and even golden eagles. As well as this visitors to the park might be lucky enough to see red squirrels, Scottish wildcats and otters in areas with fresh water. Wildlife enthusiasts can investigate guided tours if they want to get up and personal with the wildlife that inhabits this area.


Scotland is world renowned as being a wild country, and though many urban areas have expanded in recent decades, the highlands and Cairngorms are protected to offer visitors a look at the true beauty that lives here.

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