Wildlife watching by camper van in the Cairngorms National Park
If you were captivated by the stunning scenery surrounding the wildlife and the presenters on the BBC’s WinterWatch this season then you may have found yourself daydreaming about a highland escape of your own.
Photo copyright: Visit Scotland / Jakub Iwanicki
The wildlife extravaganza was based in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s largest National Park in the Eastern Highlands of Scotland. A breathtaking area of high mountains, ancient forests, moorland paths, rivers, lochs and friendly villages, early spring is a wonderful time to visit. Scenic frozen landscapes, fresh air and bright sunlight, the area has a truly wild feel and the unique, remote habitat makes it the perfect place for nature lovers and photography fanatics… as well as keen hikers, ramblers and mountain bikers. It’s also a great destination for a wildlife-watching camper van adventure, particularly if you stop off overnight en-route to break up the journey and make it a road trip to remember.
It’s around 400 miles from the Kamper Hire HQ in Winchester to the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland but that’s easily drivable in the comfort of one of our seriously reliable and robust VW California Ocean camper vans. With plenty of space for all your luggage, wildlife watching books, cameras, binoculars and warm clothes, you can pull up along the way for a tea break and either find a convenient campsite for an overnight stay, or park up a at a cosy pub, enjoying a hearty evening meal whilst you’re at it.
Once you’ve made it to the Cairngorms National Park you can opt for staying in your VW California at one of the many campsites or head off the beaten track and choose wild camping.
Not only is the scenery spectacular, it’s also home to some extremely rare and fascinating wildlife. In fact, the Cairngorms provides a home to 25% of the UK’s threatened wildlife species.
Photo copyright: Steward Grant / CNPA
With your trusty VW California as your base you can park up and take a wild walk, or just drive some of the remote routes and keep your eyes peeled as you reach viewpoint after viewpoint. Pull up at sunset and watch the stars come out, wake up at daybreak for the sunrise and spend the days seeking out the must see wildlife, taking plenty of photos along the way.
In the skies you might spot the elusive osprey soaring, or the crested tit perched on a branch. There’s a good chance you could spy a wildcat, red squirrel or roe deer and if you’re a fan of insects, the butterflies and moths in Springtime are fabulous.
Photo copyright: Visit Scotland / Damian Shields
The wildlife is wonderful but it’s the Cairngorms views that really capture the imagination.
Changing from hour to hour, the sky stretches forever and the colours are an artist’s dream. The perfect place to camp out under the stars, have a hot drink or chilled beer, cosy up with the on board heater, listen to a fantastic soundtrack via the California’s on board entertainment centre and re-lax.
After you’ve had your fill of the Great Outdoors, why drive your VW California back home at a leisurely pace, stopping off at some other landmarks along the way.
Edinburgh, The Lake District, The National Trust hotspots around Oxfordshire… wind your way home and get back to the Kamper Hire HQ, fully refreshed and relaxed, with a bucketload of brilliant memories (and an album’s worth of wonderful photos.)
Early Spring is an excellent time to experience The Cairngorms by V W California camper van but if you’d rather wait ’til it’s a little warmer, why not get The Cairngorms Nature BIG Weekend in your diary? A celebration of natural heritage, it’s planned for the 10-12th May. Find out all about it (and everything Cairngorms related at the super useful and rather beautiful cairngorms.co.uk and visitcairngorms websites.