|Cairn Toul, The Cairngorms, May 1, 2012|
The Cairngorms were the first mountains I visited in Scotland and I was over-awed by the wild landscape, which was on a far greater scale than anywhere I had seen before. I’ve lived in the area for over 23 years now and the Cairngorms are my local hills. My feelings haven’t changed with familiarity though. This really is a special place.
The importance of this exceptional landscape was recognised by the Scottish Government when it created the Cairngorms National Park in 2003 (criminally late – it should have been done decades before but until there was a Scottish Parliament the landowners of the House of Lords in London prevented any national parks in Scotland). Now National Geographic magazine has included the Cairngorms in its list of 50 of the World’s Last Great Places, the only British entry. National Geographic says “there are fewer and fewer parts of the earth that remain untrammelled, where beauty reigns … our spirits are refreshed by such pristine locations as the Cairngorms”.
That the Cairngorms are worthy of such praise will not be news to those familiar with the area. Hopefully this international coverage will encourage people to visit the area and to realise that it still needs protecting and that this means the area round the national park as well as the park itself.
This winter I am hoping to make a film about the Cairngorms in winter with Terry Abraham (see box on the right), which will show the magnificent landscape in all its glory.
In the meantime those unfamiliar with the Cairngorms will find various photographs scattered throughout my blog. I also have a photo book, A Year In The Life Of The Cairngorms, that gives a good impression of the area (and which has come second in two competitions this autumn).