Another one for the ideas shelf27th February 2009
I don’t know whether I have been bedazzled by the the high country of Argyll, Lochaber, Lochalsh and Skye but their eastern counterparts such as the Cairngorms haven’t played host to my attentions to the same extent at all. Apart from my passing by the aforementioned hills while on various train and coach journeys over the years, the nearest that I have got to them was when I fanned out from Pitlochry while spending a few days based there in late July nearly three years ago. Then, the closest that I came was when exploring the hills near Kingussie on the other side of the A9.
Many of my highland escapades have centred about the A82 but I realise that there’s quality stuff about the A9 too. In fact, on that visit in 2006, I considered venturing into the area about Loch Ericht and the splendid emptiness suggested by the inspection of maps would have drawn me but I was lead away from the idea for some reason, possibly because of a 24 hour railway strike. An out and back journey to Braemar was considered too but the bus timings didn’t look so appealing. My courage never extended to savouring what lay further north but there was an embarrassment of riches where I spent my time anyway and I seem to remember leaving with the feeling that I sample next to nothing of what was on offer, never a bad thing.
To return to the subject of perusing maps, my eye was recently drawn to Aviemore and the countryside that lay within its reach. I can only claim to have passed through it but the impression given by some is that it isn’t all that interesting a place. However, like many a less than stellar conurbation in the Scottish Highlands, the main draw for many like me is what surrounds it and this is also an area that I have left unvisited thus far. Its decent transport links help to make it a workable base too so I think that I’ll leave it for a long weekend when the weather is offering or maybe for that longer stay in Scotland that seems to come to pass every summer. In the meantime, I’ll continue to cast my eye over the tracks fanning out through the likes of the Rothiemurchus Forest and into the hill country beyond, formulating better defined possibilities all the while so as not to end up taken by surprise should wondrous Scottish weather decide to make an unexpected appearance on a whim. Only time will tell what might happen.
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