Farm cabins in Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve

In the Cairngorms, this nature reserve is home to one of Scotland’s finest native forests.

Popular camping styles for Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve

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Farm cabins in Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve guide


Located on the eastern edge of Cairngorms National Park, Glen Tanar National Nature Reserve is home to towering Caledonian pine forest and rugged heather-covered moorland. Outdoor adventurers can follow a network of marked paths by foot, mountain bike, ski or horseback while wildlife watchers can keep an eye out for capercaillie, hen harrier, merlin, osprey and, perhaps, the occasional golden eagle. While there are no organized campgrounds within the reserve, wild camping is an option for respectful visitors following the Outdoor Access Code, and the Tarland Camping and Caravanning Site is a 20-minute drive away.

When to go

The reserve is open to visitors all year round and there’s always something special to see. Visit in spring for abundant birdlife; summer to see butterflies and bees fluttering between wildflowers; fall for a landscape draped in rich bold colors and rutting red deer, and winter for a snow-blanketed winter wonderland. Summer is peak season in Cairngorms National Park, which can bring crowded trails and booked up campsites.

Know before you go

  • The Braeloine Visitor Centre has a permanent exhibition with information about the reserve and rangers on hand to answer questions.
  • Small biting midges are a common summertime nuisance in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a good idea to bring insect repellent.
  • Getting to Glen Tanar, and around, is difficult without your own transport.
  • Even in summer, the weather can quickly change. Warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy walking boots are essential.

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