Sunday, 16 December 2012

The unbearable lightness of being ... outdoors

Plodding through the peat of the path up Stac Pollaidh. Crouching in the cold behind a cairn in the Cairngorms. Murdering midges on a muggy Mull day. Freezing off your Fannichs in February. You might wonder why anybody would actually enjoy being in the Scottish outdoors. The elements in Scotland are certainly wild but, if you are prepared to take on the challenges, the rewards are immense. Imagine throwing your tent up by a high lochan in remote mountains and watching the sun sink below the peaks to reveal a million stars in an inky sky above; or setting the first footprints in fresh snow as you climb through a winter wonderland on a clear, crisp day of endless vistas. Nowhere in the world do the natural elements, the northern light and the landscapes blend as beautifully as they do in Scotland. I love it and I live to be outdoors.

I’ve been exploring Scotland for over twenty years so you’ll just have to put my use of the word “girl” in my blog header down to artistic license! But I’ve been away for two and a half years, cycling around the world and exploring foreign landscapes. Some of you may have followed my blog of that adventure, “the bicycle diaries”.  But now that I’m back, I’m hoping you’ll join me in this new blog as I explore Scotland and fall back in love with this beautiful country … or just fall … often.

Ahead of us lie days of trekking remote mountain ranges, cycling the quiet back roads and hill tracks of the countryside, paddling through the calm waters of a hidden loch and hanging out in rural rail and bus stations wondering if the ride home will turn up. In the evenings we’ll throw the tent up at a gorgeous spot by a babbling burn and while away the dark hours with hot soup and a copy of the Scots Magazine. We might even talk about gear and what to do when your hair’s been matted under a helmet for several hours.  You don’t get that kind of thing from Bear Grylls!

But most of all I want to share with you the passion and simple joy of being outdoors.

There'll be lots of photos coming up but in the meantime click here to see my favourites from the pics I've taken in Scotland over recent years. To view individual pics click on the small images to see them full size with a description below or use the "slideshow" button.


  1. Thanks, Alastair. I've enjoyed your writings also. Pauline