Sunday 5 January 2014

I'm off on an adventure

The Cairngorms cover a huge area of the Highlands and include no less than eighteen mountains in excess of three thousand feet above sea level, yet until relatively recently I saw this wilderness as a rather poor relative of the grander peaks in the West. The Cairngorms contain few soaring ridges or pinnacled summits; these mountains are vast, sprawling, remote, boggy; to the impatient eye they are dull.

However, the Cairngorm plateau in winter is one of the wildest and least hospitable places in the world, and the remoteness of this landscape has grown on me over the years. Now I see a voyage into these mountains as a more subtle pleasure than climbing in Glencoe or Lochaber. It's no coincidence that my recent fictional projects focus on the Cairngorms.

I'm off to spend a week in the eastern Cairngorms, basing myself around Ballater and Braemar. This is a region I've never been to before and I'm looking forward to conducting some research for my next book. Due to the severe weather warnings I will not be conducting any lengthy backpacking routes (the conditions underfoot are also very dangerous at present) but I hope to stay at some bothies and hopefully climb a few peaks.

I'll see you all in a week!

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