The Cairngorms Nature Festival is back - and it's bigger and better than before

Get ready for a 10-day celebration of the amazing wildlife and landscapes of the Cairngorms National Park with the Cairngorms Nature Festival from 12-21 May. Previous years saw Cairngorms Nature celebrating the ‘Big Weekend’, but this year it’s even bigger, spanning 10 days.
The festival offers a packed programme of varied activities to suit everyone.The festival offers a packed programme of varied activities to suit everyone.
The festival offers a packed programme of varied activities to suit everyone.

The programme, which starts this weekend, is live online, and there are events for everyone, whether that’s a young family starting out on their nature adventures or the more seasoned nature watcher. You can take your family to Boat of Garten for a day of activities or join a guided walk to hear the secrets of Dava Moor.

Learn about skulls, bones and feathers in Tomintoul or wildlife tracks in Anagach Wood. Find out what it takes to look after a Highland estate or to run a rewilding project on the River Feshie. Dance the night away at our festival ceilidh, celebrate author Nan Shepherd with an evening of culture, or join the Head Ranger of the Balmoral Estate for an unforgettable dawn trip to see a black grouse lek.

Andy Ford, Director of Nature & Climate Change at the Park Authority, explains that the decision to move this year’s festival to 10 days is the result of the success of previous years’ event.

He said: “The Cairngorms National Park is an outstanding place for nature, and we want to offer people unique opportunities to experience the wildlife and landscapes here, whether that is at a ‘behind the scenes’ event, through the eyes of those who work to conserve it, or by creating memories with their families as they try out a nature activity.

“The ‘Big Weekend’ has been so successful for the past few years that we needed to expand it. There was just too much happening in one weekend for people to attend all the events they wanted to, so this year we have two full weekends of activities to choose from.

It’s also important to us that everybody has a chance to experience the Festival, whatever their circumstances, running it over ten days means that we can put on bespoke activities for groups who may not otherwise have the opportunity to come and explore the National Park.”

This year sees a very special addition to the programme as the Festival will also play host to the Cairngorms Mountain Bothy Film Festival - a unique opportunity to experience our precious bothies like never before.

Five bothies across the National Park have been chosen to show a selection of mountain and adventure films using portable projectors and screens. There will also be two accessible screenings taking place in community locations.

With more than 80 events taking place across the ten days, there will be something for everyone, including walks with conservation experts, self-led and guided activities, special accessible events, and volunteering opportunities where you can get your hands dirty.

Many of the festival’s events are free, so please book your place early to avoid disappointment. Find out more and plan your unique nature experience at