At the heart of the UK’s largest National Park, the Cairngorms National Park, is the astonishing Cairngorms plateau. During the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, this landscape was scraped, carved and gouged by ice to create deep high altitude valleys and corries in this vast wilderness. At over 1,000 m high, this is the largest and most extensive range of sub-arctic mountainous landscape anywhere in the British Isles.
The Cairngorms National Park, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013, and visitors can find everything from castles, historic sites, breweries and distilleries and great family attractions and adventure sports including mountain biking and white water rafting.
Remember to bring your binoculars and camera as this striking area is home to 25 percent of the UK’s threatened species. Look out for majestic ospreys, red squirrels, the Scottish wildcat, pine martens, the Scottish crossbill, Cairngorms reindeer and beautiful tundra and arctic plants like twinflowers and the lesser butterfly orchids.
Further south, near Glasgow, lies Scotland’s first National Park, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. It is an ideal destination for all the family. A focal point of this charming area is the stunning Loch Lomond, the largest inland expanse of freshwater in Britain and one of the most popular destinations for windsurfing in Scotland.
The picturesque loch also offers excellent sailing, canoeing, waterskiing and a number of companies offer cruises across the loch and around its many islands. Back on dry land relax amongst the gorgeous flora and fauna of Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Go Ape! or spot red squirrels at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre at Aberfoyle.Take in the amazing scenery from one of 40 summits over 2,500 feet or enjoy gentle forest walks and coastal trails. Keep your eyes and ears open to see if you can catch a glimpse of otters, capercaillie, water vole and red deer.