Before all the big adventures like the Camino de Santiago, or walking across Dartmoor, I started smaller.

Much smaller.

I walked through a popular Scottish pass called the Lairig Ghru.

Head of the Lairig Ghru, the pass through the Cairngorm mountains between Aviemore and Braemar

It doesn’t have an incredibly steep climb, and it’s possible to do with only one night’s camping. Courtesy of the mountains around it, it would be difficult to get lost…

WTF is the trail?! Guess it doesn’t matter. You can only go forward or backwards…

…though it is possible to become slightly bewildered. The trail crosses a burn that involves a bit of hopscotch and the prayer that you don’t get a dunking.

There was a river crossing around here. No bridge. I had to hop from rock to rock, and hope I didn’t fall into the water

There are incredible, if lonely, views…

The Devil’s Peak

Looking back towards Aviemore

…and you spend a lot of time by yourself. You have the freedom to breathe, think and be. You walk for hours without seeing another person, and feel like you’re the only one for miles. It seems a bit intimidating at first, but after a while you get used to it. If you’re alone long enough, you may even like it.

Where I’m going

After a night spent camping in the prettiest spot ever,

See that little spit of land where the two rivers meet? That was my campsite

you go on to see ever more amazing views.

The Linn of Dee. Aka Dee River Gorge

Until finally, there’s a lookout point that shows you the whole valley at the end of the pass.

Overlook of the valley and the Mar Lodge Estates, which the last section of the trail crosses.

Shortly after that I hitched a ride with some lovely German travellers, who gave me a lift into Braemar. From there, you have the adventure of getting back to Aviemore. The only direct route between the two is the pass just walked, about 20 miles. Now, its a bus to Aberdeen, a quick chat with some chance met acquaintances, a train to Inverness and another bus back to Aviemore.

As suddenly as that, it’s turned into a two day exercise in walking, solitude, and scrambling to make the public transport! So with that under my belt, it was possible to contemplate bigger and better, like Cornwall’s South-West Coastal Path…

The thing to remember is that solitude takes a measure of practice. We introverts have one over on the extroverts already in that respect. So go get a coffee, or sit in the park, or catch a movie, but this time, go alone, and get used to you.  Trust me, you’re a person worth knowing, whether you realise this yet or not…


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