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Cairngorm Reindeer Centre Celebrates 60 Years

Mikel Utsi and Nuolja in 1955. Credit: Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

Mikel Utsi, who founded the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre in 1955

This year sees Wild Scotland member, the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre celebrating its 60th anniversary, a very special year!

The first reindeer were first re-introduced by Swedish Sami reindeer herder Mikel Utsi (pictured) and his wife Dr Lindgren. They were brought over from Sweden by boat, and first set foot in Aviemore in May 1952. Starting off at Moormore Cottage near Aviemore where the sled-dog centre now stands, by 1954 the reindeer company was granted grazing on the northern corries of the Cairngorm Mountains where the herd still roams to this day.

As well as grazing the Cairngorms, since 1990 part of the herd has grazed on the Cromdale hills for the winter months, after the reindeer company secured the tenancy of two hill farms on the Glenlivet  Estate. The herd now stands at around 130 and is a permanent part of the landscape, meaning Mikel Utsi’s dream of seeing reindeer roam the Scottish Mountains remains a reality.

The month of May also sees the Centre busy with calving season. All reindeer are born in the first few weeks in May with their winter coats on, which is just as well as we had snow in the Cairngorms this week!

Reindeer calf born in 2012. Credit: Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

Reindeer calf born in 2012. Credit: Cairngorm Reindeer Centre

At the time of posting, the Centre had  just reached calf number 10 and they have an assortment of colours, from white through brown and black and all are doing well.

If you would like to visit them you’ll have to be quick, as once they are a week or two old they will leave the enclosure and roam the mountain tops where the best grazing can be found for the rest of summer.

For more information, visit the Cairngorm Reindeer Centre website.

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