`It's a joy to help care for the Cairngorms herd of reindeer'
Country Homes & Interiors|December 2020
Longtime hill walker Carol Parsons volunteers with the UK’s only free-roaming herd
SOPHIE GALE

My first close encounter with the reindeer of the Scottish Highlands was 30 years ago. I used to go hill walking regularly in the Cairngorms National Park, where they roam freely, whenever my work allowed. I had seen herds many times but on this occasion, one spring, I was in the car park at the Reindeer Company’s main base, near the village of Glenmore, in Aviemore. Suddenly three reindeer heads popped up right alongside me!

I was immediately captivated by these enchanting animals, at once so wild and yet so inquisitive and gentle. From then on, at every visit I would glean all I could about their habits from the knowledgeable herders who look after them. I started to take on a supporting role as a volunteer and now that I am retired I make the one hour’s drive from where I live in Elgin, Moray, several times a year to help the herders.

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