White reindeer go on Christmas tour

THREE white reindeer are heading out on the road for the first time as part of the Cairngorm herd’s Christmas tour.

The trio of calves, which was born over the summer, was named after ice creams – “Mr Whippy”, “Ninety-Nine”, and “Vanilla”.

The first reindeer were brought to the Cairnforms from Swedish Lapland in 1952 by Mikel Utsi and his wife, Ethel Lindgren, as an experiment.

Tilly Smith, who now owns the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre, said: “The Cairngorms is ideal for the reindeer.

“We’re centrally positioned within the Highlands, which means we have a more continental climate.

“We’re more likely to have cold, snowy, Arctic-like conditions, which provide the best vegetation.

“Our mountains, although vast and impressive, are also gentle, which suits the reindeer as they aren’t the most nimble.”

Mark Tate, chief executive at tourism body VisitCairngorms, added: “The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd [is] a firm favourite among our winter visitors and it’s easy to see why.

“They are beautiful, calming animals and add to the magical winter wonderland feel that really does make winter come to life in the Cairngorms National Park.

“Tilly and her team have done a wonderful job nurturing the herd over the years and it’s thanks to the really special environment we have here in the Cairngorms that they’ve thrived and grown.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss more animal antics in the December issue of Scottish Field magazine.