THREE rare white reindeer are preparing to tour the UK to spread festive cheer in the run-up to Christmas.

The calves are part of the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, described as the UK’s only free ranging reindeer herd, which is around 150 strong.

Born in the summer, the trio named Vanilla, Mr Whippy and 99 are ready to join the rest of the herd as they make Christmas visits around the country.

The first reindeer were brought over from Swedish Lapland in 1952 by Mikel Utsi and his wife Ethel Lindgren as an experiment and have grazed the land ever since.

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Tilly Smith, owner of 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.”

The National: Three rare white reindeer are preparing to tour the UKThree rare white reindeer are preparing to tour the UK (Image: The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd)

Mark Tate, chief executive of VisitCairngorms, said: “The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd are 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 its thanks to the really special environment we have here in the Cairngorms that they’ve thrived and grown.”