Cairngorm Roads…

Last weekend I ditched the usual urban comforts – mattress & duvet to sleep on, kitchen appliances to prepare/store food with, internet coverage, being within walking distance of the nearest Strawberries & Cream Frappuccino (because folks, it is that time of year again) – to head up to the Scottish Highlands to supervise another Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Expedition and camp out in the wilderness for three consecutive nights.

This time around the groups – Silver-level on their Qualifying Expedition – were in the Cairngorms walking a circuit through the Lairig Ghru. The Lairig Ghru (pronounced something close to “Larry Groo”) is a famous, popular valley for hikers to traipse through. Characterised by a tetchy boulder field in the middle, steep scree slopes and general remoteness it is a demanding day of walking to get through. The last time I walked through there was during my own DoE, as a Gold practice expedition. My responsibility was to shadow the groups from a distance was they walked through the pass, and camp with them at Corrour Bothy as the designated “responsible adult”. I had a day in the middle to myself for climbing the nearby mountains whilst I waited for the 3rd and final group to reach me.

The weather for the Bank Holiday weekend was 66.67% great – in that it was fantastic for 2 days but incessantly drizzling on the 1st. Statistically, that’s quite good-going for a DoE weekend.

Anyway, I got to enjoy the rugged fierceness of the Scottish Highlands, unwind from my hectic city-slicker lifestyle (hah!) and climb up a couple of mountains (Cairn Toul and Devils Point) to admire the panorama.

Like I have said before…I like the fact that I’m a product of this beautiful country.


Note: The title is reference to a song I’ve been listening to a lot, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” sung by Olivia Newton-John. I appreciate that the song is about West Virginia, USA…but I think the sentiment can be shared over on this side of the Atlantic.


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