The Cairngorms National Park Authority aims to provide you with the most important and up to date information, however as we work with many partners across the Park we recommend that you always plan ahead by visiting the relevant websites and social media of the places and locations you wish to visit beforehand to make sure that they are open and able to welcome you back.
Can I travel to the Cairngorms National Park?
As of the 3rd of July, the Scottish Government removed the 5-mile travel restriction for outdoor leisure, recreation, and exercise. This means that you can travel to visit the National Park, but please plan ahead, understand guidelines to stay safe, be prepared to be flexible and change your plans, especially if you find your destination crowded and busy, and please be kind when visiting our communities.
Overnight stays are permitted in self-contained accommodation only – where you do not have to share facilities. Please book ahead.
Please refrain from wild camping in the National Park at this time.
You can stay in a campervan or caravan on a formal site (if they are open) we ask that you do not park overnight in existing car parks and follow advice from CAMPA.
Second home owners (without shared facilities) are now able to visit their residences in the Park.
Visitors are now allowed to travel to the National Park – please plan ahead by checking with specific providers and estates which facilities they have opened to the general public.
Most car parks across the Park are now open, however, we recommend you check ahead before you set off with the relevant estate or organisation to check on capacity and availability of parking spaces. You can also visit our web page on the general status of key car parks across the National Park.
Most public toilets are now open across the National Park, some are planning to open in the coming weeks. Please visit our web page on the status of public toilets in the National Park.
Follow Cairngorms News on Twitter and Facebook to be kept up to date of the latest developments in the Park – click below:
Current Government Guidelines
The Scottish Government has implemented Phase 2 of the transition out of lockdown.
- You can see family and friends in groups in outdoor spaces for recreational purposes. Households are allowed to meet up with another household outdoors once a day, in small numbers including in gardens, but maintaining physical distancing.
- Travel restrictions have been lifted for leisure, recreation and exercise. Travel by walk, wheel and cycle where possible.
- Where people can stay in self-contained accommodation overnight stays are also permitted.
- Drive-through food outlets, garden centres and plant nurseries and associated cafes are likely to be open for takeaway only with physical distancing in place.
- Unrestricted outdoor exercise is allowed, but adhere to physical distancing and non-contact activities such as golf, hiking, canoeing, outdoor swimming, angling – and please continue to adhere to national and local guidance and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
- Public gatherings are not permitted.
- Please continue to wash your hands regularly, maintain physical distancing, be aware of the symptoms of the virus, engage with the Test and Protect system and isolate if you have the virus or someone you have been in contact with has had it.
- Visit the Scottish Government website for more detailed information.
Cairngorms National Park Information & Advice
Restriction easing by the Scottish Government has now entered the final stage of Phase Two in the transition to exiting lockdown. Safety is our first priority for the people who live and work in the National Park, COVID-19 has not gone away. You will now find that some car parks, toilets, facilities and businesses are open. Please plan ahead if you intend to visit areas within the Park, check websites in advance and take care when you travel.
Visit our Frequently Asked Questions section for more information on visiting the National Park.
Check relevant websites for the areas or places you intend to visit for latest information. Check your travel route for any disruptions. Takeaways and some food outlets are now open but check ahead to be sure. Take your rubbish home with you. ‘Go before you go’ – some public toilet facilities are opening but always be prepared for closures. Don’t add to the busyness, if an area feels too busy then it is too busy, have a backup plan if you need to move on. Please do not light fires or BBQs in public outdoor areas at the present time. Be mindful of local residents and communities who live and work in the areas you are visiting, please be kind.
If you choose to travel, please consider the advice issued by Transport Scotland. please consider the advice issued by Transport Scotland – only travel if your journey is essential – for work or shopping. Consider walking or cycling, if you can. Plan your journey and leave additional time due to temporary restrictions or changes to timetables. Pay for your journey in advance online if you can to reduce cash handling.
For road and travel updates we recommend you follow Transport Scotland on Twitter, Facebook or visit their website for traffic management updates.
Status of Car Parks
Car parks across the Park are now starting to open. Please check with relevant websites before setting off or visit our web page on the general status of key car parks across the National Park here. We also advise you to check ahead with relevant websites as to the status of local car parks – there will be road signage indicating the capacities of car parks however ensure you have a backup plan if you cannot park safely.
Tread Lightly in the Park
Please ensure you enjoy the outdoors responsibly and follow any on-site advice and adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. For more information please visit our Outdoor Access Advice page here.
What you can do in the Cairngorms National Park
There will be many places you will want to revisit in the Park now that restrictions have been eased. However, we would advise you that if you feel a location is too busy, it is too busy. Please be flexible and be prepared to move on and save that experience for another day.
Areas at and around Glenmore and Deeside have been popular. If you are considering visiting these places please plan ahead, be prepared to be flexible, and remember to keep your safety, that of your families, and our communities as a first priority.
There are many local community paths and trails to explore in the communities across the Cairngorms National Park – visit our Community Paths and Trails page to download maps.
Check out the VISIT CAIRNGORMS official website for more information on local businesses and activities.
National Park Facilities & Operations
With the additional easing of restrictions we recommend you check ahead with the specific businesses, areas, or places you plan to visit to ensure they are open and ready to receive visitors. Please visit;
Visitor Management Plans
The Visitor Management Plans for the Cairngorms National Park have been developed by the CNPA in partnership with Local Authorities, Police Scotland, Estates, CBP, VisitAberdeenshire, Angus Alive, SNH, FLS, CSML, RSPB and HIE. They have been shared with Community Councils and with other organisations as required for input and feedback. Communications, toilets, litter, car parking and ‘boots on the ground’ are all key issues the group is addressing to try and keep residents, employees and eventually visitors safe and able to have an enjoyable experience.
The Visitor Management Group meets weekly on a Wednesday to wash-up from the previous weekend and plan for the next weekend. The plans are changing every week, are still evolving and information is still being collated. They will be updated as we move through the lifting of COVID 19 restrictions phases and actions change.
Connect with nature virtually
If you cannot leave your home or travel to the Cairngorms National Park you can still connect to the Nature of the Park through our social media channels, eNewsletters, our Nature from your Home campaign and all the 10 BIG Days of Nature (at home) virtual events.
Like Cairngorms Nature on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Due to current concerns regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 we have temporarily suspended the advertisement of opportunities to volunteer with Volunteer Cairngorms. We will continue to review this situation as restrictions ease. Please sign up to the Volunteer Cairngorms newsletter to be kept updated of the latest news.
If you would like to contribute to volunteering efforts please visit Ready Scotland. Local community groups have organised COVID response groups to meet local requirements, please keep an eye on local social media channels and community websites for further details to volunteer or to obtain assistance.
Local information about how to help can be found at:
For the latest information on emergency funding and resources to help you, your organisation and your communities stay safe and healthy visit the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations Third Sector Information Hub.
Due to current concerns regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19 we have temporarily suspended Health Walks in our area. We will continue to review this situation and will update information as soon as there is a change. You can also visit Paths for All for information about Health Walks across Scotland, and how the current Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation is being managed: www.pathsforall.org.uk.
For the latest government advice for businesses during this time please visit the Business Support page on the Scottish Government website. For guidance and advice for the tourism industry please go to Visit Scotland here. For updates from Highlands and Islands Enterprise on support for businesses and communities visit their Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page. Scottish Enterprise is also providing information on business support on their website here.
Cairngorms Tourism Emergency Response Group (CTERG)
The group has been set up to provide consistent and comprehensive analysis of the implications of Covid-19 for tourism, to coordinate communications with the tourism industry, ensure close working between key agencies and the private sector, to gather, share, facilitate, interpret and disseminate information and agree relevant actions and delivery plans.
Membership consists of; Cairngorms Business Partnership, VisitAberdeenshire, MoraySpeyside, VisitScotland, Aberdeenshire Council, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and CNPA (Chair).
View details of CTERG meetings here
Safe working guidance and a restart plan have been published (29th May 2020) for those involved in forestry and other outdoor work such as peatland restoration, wildlife and nature reserve management, ecological surveys and research. The document is available at https://forestry.gov.scot/covid-19. The guidance has been welcomed by the Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing – https://blogs.gov.scot/scotlands-economy/2020/05/30/covid-19-safe-working-guidance-and-restart-plan-for-forestry-industry/ . Links to related key documents are below:
The clear and underlying message from the Scottish Government and health professionals remains to stay at home and maintain social distancing unless you are involved in an essential activity.
Scottish Natural Heritage has published new guidance for the deer management sector:
In line with the Scottish Government’s route map, there is a staged approach to the restart of deer management activity. As such, unaccompanied stalking (or only in the presence of people from the same household) for recreation can restart as of Friday 29 May 2020.
People are only permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise and are advised to stay within a short distance of their local community (broadly within 5 miles). It is essential that those undertaking this activity follow the Scottish Government and Public Health guidance and manage risks by maintaining social distancing, hand washing and sanitisation as this is one of the most effective ways to suppress the spread of the virus.
Deer Carcase collection from larders will be affected as game dealers and processors continue to respond to the current situation.
The Scottish Government has said that businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements safe social distancing practice and normal health and safety requirements. Further updates will be available on the Scotland Food & Drink Coronavirus Information Hub.
Scottish Forestry have issued a statement explaining their current priorities during the COVID 19 outbreak.
Forest and Land Scotland have issued guidance on visiting our publically managed forests and updated ‘frequently asked questions’ documents for companies who hold commercial leases or provide goods, services or works to Forestry and Land Scotland. Confor is maintaining a useful COVID-19 information hub
Farming & crofting
Guidance for farmers and crofters to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been published.
The Scottish Government guidance provides a summary of information, including:
- How to support safe working on farms and crofts COVID-19
- Hygiene measures
- Farm and croft inspections
- Keeping employees safe
- Operating farm shops
Click here for the guidance.
Any activity that might, through accident or error, place additional pressure on any of the emergency services must be avoided.
It is our understanding that, provided social distancing is maintained and any potential risks of harm can be managed, field-work such as habitat monitoring, bird surveys, Habitat Impact Assessments etc. can now take place.
CNPA Planning Service
The CNPA planning service has continued to operate during the Covid-19 lock down. Our website is operating as normal with access to Planning Committee agendas, papers and minutes as well as normal public access to the detail on planning applications.The CNPA offices reamain closed and staff will not meet applicants or members of the public. CNPA planning staff can be contacted by phone and email. Planning Committee meetings will continue to be by video and teleconference between members. The meetings can be viewed on a live video stream with details of how to watch on the CNPA website.
The Planning Committee will continue to consider requests from applicants, supporters and objectors to present to the Planning Committee meeting. For Planning Committee meetings in June, that can be done either by video call to the meeting with details provided by the CNPA planning service, or by providing a statement to be read to the Planning Committee by a CNPA officer.
The Planning Committee will not undertake site visits while the Covid-19 restrictions are in place. Decisions by the committee will be based on the information supplied with an application and presented to them in reports, representations and other presentations.
CNPA Staff Contact
The offices of the CNPA will remain closed to the general public. During this time, please do not phone the main office switchboard number (01479 873535) as this will not be answered.
Planning & Development Management and Outdoor Access are statutory functions for the CNPA and these teams can be contacted by email in the first instance:
Download COVID Graphics
We want to ensure we all communicate the same messages and ensure that our communities and landscapes stay safe and protected. Below are links to downloads you can use in your social media, website or print off and use around your community or at your business premises.