This week I’ve been up in the highlands, adventuring across mountains, glens, and lochs, to see all the fantastic wildlife which make their home in this vast wilderness. Of-course a visit to the free-roaming Cairngorm reindeer herd is an absolute must-see for anyone exploring this part of highlands…
Once a natural part of this sub-arctic landscape, reindeer died out in the UK following the last ice age around 8000 years ago, likely due to hunting pressure and climate change. However they were re-introduced in 1952 by swede Mikel Utsi after he had honeymooned in the area and noticed the similarity in habitat to the reindeer pastures back home. So what makes them so well suited to this harsh climate?
I also learnt that they are covered literally head to toe in fur – making them the only mammals with completely hairy noses. One square inch of skin is estimated to have around 2000 hairs, each of which has a hollow centre to trap warm air inside it. They really are amazing animals.
There are daily trips to visit the herd from the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre near to Aviemore. Check out their website http://www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk to learn more!