Cairngorms National Park, Blair Atholl, Calvine and Killiecrankie
The Cairngorms National Park was officially opened in September 2003, despite recommendations by the Scottish National Heritage to include the Perthshire region of the Cairngorms in the park boundary, it was omitted by the Scottish Government of the day.
Local tourist representatives along with Perth Kinross Council campaigned for the boundary of the Cairngorm National Park to include the Perthshire region in the park boundary.
After 7 years and a change of government, Blair Atholl, Calvine and Killiecrankie are now included in the Cairngorm National Park. The official opening taking place on Monday 4th October 2010 by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth and constituency MSP for North Tayside.
Blair Atholl 'Gateway to the Cairngorms Centre'
When locals learnt the Perthshire region of the Cairngorms was NOT to be in the Park boundary, on the 9th December 2003 the 'Blair Atholl Gateway to the Cairngorms' groupwas set up.(The group was made up by representatives of the Blair Atholl Community Council, The Blair Atholl and Struan Initiative, Blair Castle and Atholl Estates, Perth and Kinross Council, The Blair Atholl Tourist Association).
The purpose of the group was to "explore the possibility of a gateway to the Cairngorms in Blair Atholl".
After four years of work, in December 2007 the Blair Atholl Gateway Group presented their plans to local residents of Blair Atholl, Struan and Calvine who gave an 85% YES vote in favour of plans for the new Blair Atholl Gateway Centre (click on image to left to down load the local presentation). The Cairngorms Gateway Centre is to be built around the existing Atholl Country Life Museum, Rangers Information hut and chip shop/restaurant. The Blair Charitable Trust have agreed to take this development forward in the absence of an outside developer being found or another body within the community.
To get an overview of what has been agreed, read the 'Blair Atholl Gateway Report presented to the community on the 18th September 2007.
The Gateway Centre is unfortunately still awaiting funding for its development. It is locally hoped that with the inclusion of Blair Atholl in the Cairngorm National Park funding will become available to get this important project for the local community off the ground.
Some facts about the Cairngorm National Park
Landscapes of the Cairgorm National Park
- A very large area. The Park is 4528 sq kilometres in area, over twice the size the Lake District and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
- A mountainous area. 4 of Scotland's 5 highest mountains are within the Park, there are 55 summits over 900 metres. 36% of the land area is over 800 metres and 2% is over 1000 metres.
- An arctic wilderness. The land above 600 metres - known as the 'montane zone' - is the largest area of arctic mountain landscape in the British isles.
- The Cairngorms contains the finest collection of different landforms outside arctic Canada - from granite tors to heavings and leavings from Ice Age glaciers.
- The Spey, Dee and Don valleys are major features of the lower ground.
Habitats of the Cairgorm National Park
- 39% of the Park area is designated as important for nature heritage; 25% is of European importance.
- The central mountain area provides a harsh habitat for a unique assemblage of vegetation, insects and animals.
- The forests of the Cairngorms contain remnants of the original Caledonian pine forest and includes a rare kind of pinewood found only in Scotland and Norway.
- Heather moorland covers much of the National Park. A product of centuries of interaction between man and nature, it fosters enormous ecological diversity.
The rivers, loch and marshes are among the cleanest in Scotland.
Wildlife of the Cairgorm National Park
- The National Park is home to 25% of the UK's threatened bird, animal and plant species.
- The Cairngorms is the best place in for the Scottish Crossbill, the only bird unique to Britain. Golden Eagle, Osprey, Dotterell, Capercaillie, and Crested Tit are just a few of the bird species found here.
- The National Park is home to a wide variety of animals - including pine martens, red squirrels, badgers, wildcats, water vole, and otters.
- The rivers are home to a rising population of the globally endangered freshwater pearl mussel, as well as salmon, trout, and rare lampreys.
People of the Cairgorm National Park
- The National Park is home to over 17,000 people, living in substantial towns, villages, hamlets, and houses in the countryside.
- Major centres of population are Aviemore, Ballater, Blair Atholl, Braemar, Grantown-on-Spey, Kingussie, Newtonmore, and Tomintoul.
- Tourism-related businesses account for about 30% of the economy, including activities such as ski-ing, walking, fishing, shooting and stalking.
- It is thought that at least 1.4m people visited the Park in 2007 - 1.1m to Badenoch and Strathspey alone.
The Communities of Blair Atholl, Calvine and Killiecrankie are hopefull that being members of the Cairngorm National Park will make a difference.