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Immerse yourself in Cairngorms National Park with new podcast series

8th June 2022

Explore the nature, culture, history and sports, as well as the food and drink of the Cairngorms National Park, in a truly immersive new podcast series – an ideal listen during the Scotland’s Year of Stories.

‘Cairngorms Characters’ explores the lives of the people who live and work in the Cairngorms National Park and how their lives are interlinked with the local landscape.

Produced by VisitCairngorms and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), this new four-part series is brought to the listener via The Big Light, Scotland’s only dedicated podcasting network and studio service.

Broadcaster Cameron Angus Mackay takes the listener on an enlightened journey across the Cairngorms National Park speaking with various characters about how the Park has influenced their lives and their businesses – and in some cases – how the National Park has been at the heart of some of their biggest decisions in life.

Each episode covers a different theme, with the series kicking off with ‘Nature & Outdoor Activity’ which involves a visit to the Cairngorms Reindeer Herd with Tilly Smith and a safari with a difference – an E-bike tour on the Balmoral Estate! Then onto something more relaxing and restorative with some forest bathing.

Sweet treats, beer and foraging are the tempting items on the menu in episode two, ‘Food & Drink’ with Cameron catching up with the dynamic duo behind Braemar’s Hazelnut Pâtisserie, along with Sam Faircliff of Cairngorm Brewery and food ambassador Ghillie Basan. All three businesses tell their own story about how the Cairngorms National Park has been a significant influence on the products they offer and the inspiration for many recipes.

And story telling is also featured in the Cairngorms Characters podcast series. Telling the story of the Park – and the people in it – is at the heart of the visitor experience and where better to start this episode than the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore. Cameron also joins a guided walk learning about Secret Strathspey, introducing the listener to some hidden gems in the area, as well a Yellow Welly tour with Simon Blackett around Braemar.

To finish the series, the sports that are paramount in the Cairngorms National Park are the focus of the final episode, from shinty to snowsports to the Park’s Olympic connections and of course the Highland Games. With so many human stories featured in the programme, episode four is definitely not just for sports fans!

“I loved meeting all of the Cairngorms characters featured in the series,” said Cameron.

“I can’t wait for listeners to hear the stories of people whose work and interests are deeply connected to the landscape, history and wildlife of the Cairngorms National Park. The Big Light Studio has really enjoyed working with the Park Authority and VisitCairngorms to bring a fascinating and beautiful part of Scotland to life in a four-part podcast series.”

Jason Martin of VisitCairngorms commented: “We’re proud to be able to share the stories from our communities while giving listeners a glimpse into some of the experiences they can enjoy in the UK’s largest National Park.”

Chief Executive of the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Grant Moir said: “We are delighted to be involved in celebrating the human stories on the Park, especially in this new and fresh way. This being the Scotland’s Year of Stories it’s an ideal opportunity for us to highlight the interesting characters of the area and how the role the Park plays in their lives.”

The music to accompany the podcast has been provided by local musician and composer Hamish Napier, who lives in Grantown-on-Spey. You can listen to Cairngorms Characters here: