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  • Writer's pictureSpeyside Wildlife

Heather Moorland of the Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms National Park is full of a variety of environments making it very varied and desirable to a lot of visitors for different reasons. These different environments, including river, woodland and remote glens also include a large variety of wildlife that live there. In the remotest areas of the national park are areas of moorland, that extend for miles often surrounded by mountains and wild views.

Vibrant colours of a heather moorland in August

Red Deer stags

Now that we are in August, these moorlands take on a different look from all other months of the year as they burst with colours of green and purple that extend for miles. The most common heather in Scotland, ling, grows in the peaty lands of moor and is a hardy plant to withstand the worst of Scotland’s weather. In August though, the heather blooms to create a blanket of lilac as far as the eye can see. Driving the mountain roads through Tomintoul to reach Braemar and Glenshee, remote highland glens and the Dava moor, are all fantastic roads to drive to enjoy the colour just now.

Mountain Hare hiding

Common Buzzard (Left) Kestrel (Right)

These remote and wild areas of moorland are also important for a lot of wildlife. Often hidden out of sight, visiting these environments you may be lucky to spot some of the species that call the heather moors home. The camouflaged Red Grouse can often be found with only the red eyebrows to give away their location. Mountain Hare in their burrows, Red Deer parading over the land and keep a look over the high ridges for soaring raptors like Buzzard, Golden Eagle, or White-tailed Eagle.

Golden Eagle (top) White-tailed Eagle (bottom) Not photoshopped!

Northern Wheatear

In the summer months, returning visitors to these areas include Meadow Pipit, Northern Wheatear and breeding Golden Plover and Curlew. Moorland areas of the national park can be wild and windy places to explore, but the blooming purple heather of August and variety of wildlife can be a delight to witness.

If you would like to visit an area of wilderness in the Cairngorms, especially with the ling heather blooming, visit Speyside Wildlife to find out about day guiding in the area.

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