I wake up suddenly and slowly realise that I’ve been rubbing my eye. I blink a few times but nothing seems out of the ordinary. I look at the clock: 04:21.
As a busy ranger in the Cairngorms, when you’re working with the public in some of the most spectacular and beautiful landscapes in the country, the memorable moments come thick and fast.
I was at the Scottish Ramblers Gathering in Melrose last week which is an annual three-day celebration of social walking. That is, walking in a group.
Countryside ranger and Press and Journal columnist, Ben Dolphin, has announced he will lead a series of free, scenic and sociable walks to mark his final year as Ramblers Scotland’s president.
Last week, during a long walk back from a particularly heathery Cairngorms lump, I stopped at a well-known pool on the Dee.
One of the nicest things about a Ramblers group walk is the possibility of coffee and cake at the end.
I always put my hat and gloves in the same handy place whenever I get home, on a shelf near the front door.
“Hiya!” Oh it’s such a small word. Such a simple word. So easy to utter.
At 7am the fog was rolling in over the farms, so I rushed up my local hill to watch the sunrise. I spent a sublime two hours up above the fog watching the beautiful lightshow unfold.
“So……what’s your favourite walk in all of Scotland?”
In 2014 I was in the Cairngorms and walking a track near Loch Etchachan, the highest loch of its size and one of the more remote ones in Scotland, when something white caught my eye in the otherwise brown landscape.
I am going to say a word. A very naughty word. It has four letters, begins with an S and is likely to cause a large number of people some degree of distress... so be sure to cover your ears if you don’t want to hear it. Are you ready? Okay, here goes:
Last month I found myself reading two children’s books, pondering which of the two I’d rather read to a group of toddlers who would soon be learning about ‘critters in litter’ (wee beasties in the undergrowth). One was about a badger and one was about a worm.