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preglacial landscapes

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Sister sites: Shetland  Orkney  Caithness East Lothian Central Park

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Cairngorm Landscapes

The Cairngorms form some of the most cherished scenery of the Scottish Highlands. These are granite hills - the Cairngorm Granite intrusion is one of the largest in the British Isles and displays fine examples of classic granite landforms. The Cairngorms is equally a glacially-shaped terrain that exhibits splendid corries, over-deepened valleys and roches moutonnées. The mountains provide a world-class example of a landscape of selective linear glacial erosion. Here glacial erosion has been concentrated in the glens whilst the adjacent plateau has been left largely untouched by the passage of ice. The magnificent natural sculptures of the summit tors include features over half a million years old. The Cairngorms includes 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 cold-climate landforms are developed, reflecting the central importance of frost action both now and in the past. Much scenery-shaping activity continues today, under the savage impact of avalanches, wind storms and floods and the unseen but relentless onslaught of weathering and erosion.