LEJOG Virtual Challenge: Mile 886.8, outskirts of Cairngorms National Park

If only I could magically transport myself there! Again, most of my real world mileage is via biking to work, though this time I did get some good short hikes in while on vacation in Washington state. Even put some nautical miles in on a kayak.

Below is my virtual location.

When I travelled to Scotland with Robin in October 2003, we passed through this same area on the train to Thurso (just east of where this virtual trip ends and another jumping off point if going to the Orkney Islands) and I think it may have been snowing a little bit.

Cairngorms National Park

First let’s tackle the pronunciation. Google gave me two different versions that my ear picked up. Care-In-Germs (with a hard G) or softer sounding Karn-GORum.

Cairngorm is the largest national park in the UK. If you are a devout Royalist, you can visit Balmoral Castle (when the Queens away, of course.) If you are the revolutionary uprising type (or an avid Outlander fan) former clan castles dot the landscape. For walkers, so much to choose from and one should visit the Walk Highlands website for the best information. The East Highland Way is a long distance walk totaling 82 miles. And, without saying, for the whisky lover, there are the distilleries, Speyside, Glenlivet, Royal Lochnagar, Dalwhinnie, and Tomatin.

Nan Shephard

One of my reading pleasures is nature/travel writing and Nan Shephard was one of the best when it came to writing about her beloved Cairngorms. She wrote The Living Mountain in the 1940s but it wasn’t published until 1977. After almost going out of print, it was reprinted and is now considered one of the best of it’s genre. I leave then with this quote.

Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.”

The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

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