At 3800 square kilometers, the Cairngorms National Park, founded in 2003, is the largest of the 15 British national parks. The Caingorms mountain range in the Grampian Mountains was formed more than 40 million years ago before the last ice age and unites four of the five highest mountains in Great Britain, including the 1,309-meter-high Ben Macdhui. The park is named after the summit Cairn Gorm with a height of 1244 meters. The sanctuary in the Scottish Highlands is about 50 km west of Aberdeen.
Plants and wildlife of the Cairngorms
Mountains overgrown with heather, wild waterfalls and calm mountain lakes, high plateaus, impenetrable moors and huge pine forests characterize the Cairngorm National Park. Geologists are enthusiastic about the unique rock formations and remains of Ice Age glaciers. The coldest plateau in the country stretches between two valleys and is often covered with snow until autumn. Many rare animal species can be observed in the harsh landscape in the subarctic climate, such as ptarmigan, golden eagle, merline, pine marten, squirrels and wild cats live in the Cairngorms. Over 25,000 red deer populate the forests, and even a herd of reindeer from Lapland that was settled in the 1950s has now become home.
Activities in Scotland: hill walking, winter sports and whiskey tasting
In the seemingly endless wilderness there are many ways to actively leave everyday life behind. Large areas in the center of the national park are still untouched today and can only be explored on foot. The cozy little town of Aviemore in the west is the ideal starting point for study trips or active holidays for the whole family, while Kingussie and Ballaster are located on the eastern edge of the area. Hikers and climbers get their money’s worth in Caingorms National Park as well as winter sports enthusiasts. Those who do not want to climb the peaks on foot can take the Cairngorm Railway funicular to take them to the top. In the ski area east of Aviemore there are 38 slopes for all levels of difficulty at altitudes between 650 and 1068 meters. A popular attraction on the southeastern edge is the Balmoral Castle, the royal summer residence. When traveling to Scotland, whiskey lovers must definitely visit one of the traditional distilleries and enjoy a tasting of the famous Highland single malt whiskey.
Scotland’s rolling hills
The Scottish Borders are located in the south-east of Scotland and are characterized by green ridges that stretch to the horizon. With its breathtaking landscape and moderate climate, the region is worth a visit at any time of the year.
The special thing about the Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders are arguably one of the most beautiful regions in Scotland. They are an hour’s drive from Edinburgh. Green forests and ranges of hills, ruins of old monasteries and castles, picturesque little towns and stately country estates make the border region to England particularly worth seeing.
Sights and activities
Old fortifications are reminiscent of a troubled past. From the 13th century, the English kings wanted to conquer Scotland, so that armed conflicts were repeatedly fought here. Popular excursion destinations are the ruins of Hermitage Castle or the four Border Abbeys. Each one tells its own exciting story. But not only old walls, but also interesting towns are scattered in the hilly landscape. The Scottish Borders has a variety of trails and hiking routes that make it possible to explore the region on foot, by bike or by car.
The best travel time
The summer months are still considered the best time to travel to Scotland. Then the country is anything but lonely. In the off-season you can enjoy the Scottish Borders in peace. In autumn the hilly landscape unfolds a very special magic. Forests tinged with rose gold and wafts of mist create a mystical atmosphere.
Modern boat lift as a sight in Scotland
The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in central Scotland that connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The lift is named after Falkirk, the closest town. The elevator reconnects the two canals for the first time since the 1930s. At that time the use of the canals became economically less interesting and the locks of the canals were left to decay. The canals were revitalized as part of the Millennium Link project and Falkirk Wheel was opened in 2002. A great mechanical marvel, the Falkirk Wheel is already recognized as an iconic landmark worthy of traditional Scottish engineering.
Construction similar to a ferris wheel
Designed to replace a number of long-demolished lock gates built in the 19th century, the Falkirk Wheel is the showpiece of the Millennium Link project, which restored coastal navigation to the canals for the first time in over 40 years.
Places of interest and activities
The educational place is ideal for a family outing. With a children’s activity zone, a mini canal and water play park and a wide range of water sports, a visit to the Falkirk Wheel should not be missing on any trip to Scotland.
The Wheel runs a number of family-friendly events throughout the year, which can be found on the town’s website. Special group rates are also available and the visitor center is also open during maintenance to enjoy a delicious coffee and a wide variety of quality snacks. The Falkirk Wheel is just a ten-minute drive from Falkirk’s historic city center, where vacationers will find a good selection of lovely cafes and restaurants.