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The Shaping of the Cairngorms

The scenery of the Cairngorms has a different character to anywhere else in Scotland, says Dr Adrian Hall. 

photo courtesy adrian hall (www.fettes.com/cairngorms)And why? For a start, the granite that they are shaped from is one of the largest formations of its kind in the British Isles. And the Cairngorms display a wide range of classic granite landforms. 

Next there has been the action of ice on the landscape. 

”It is a glaciated terrain that exhibits splendid corries, over-deepened valleys and roches moutonnées,” he says. 

“Equally, it is a fine example of a landscape of selective linear glacial erosion. Glacial erosion has been concentrated in the valleys whilst the adjacent plateau has been left little modified by the passage of ice. Here landforms can be seen whose origins predate the Ice Age.” 

photo courtesy adrian hall (www.fettes.com/cairngorms)And the Cairngorms also include the largest area of high ground in Britain. “The climate of the high tops is as severe as in arctic regions and a range of periglacial landforms are developed,” he says. And the essential element in the formation of these landforms is frost action – both now and in the past. 

Some superb images can be seen on Adrian’s website www.fettes.com/cairngorms.

Adrian spoke on The Shaping of the Cairngorms on the opening day of the Festival. The venue was the Aonach Room at the Cairngorm Railway Base Station, and it was an ideal time to visit, during their Christmas market. There were opportunities for hot gluhwein and mince pies as well as soup and sandwiches, and also for discounts on funicular tickets.

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