AND so -- it is Summer
again; and the bracken has clothed all the hills in a mantle of gallant
green. The young fir-trees stretch out yellow fronds to greet the sun. The
bell-heather is in bloom along the moorland ways.
Proudly, the trees bear the green weight of their leaves, and the broom
tosses her long golden hair in the warm wind.
And I am back in Rothiemurchus, among hills that I love and memories that
will not die. The same slanting shadows blur on the loch. The same
fragrance of sun-warmed resin haunts the mountain air. The old paths and
byways stretch before me, running away between fern and heather to Carn
Eilrig and the high hills.
I do all the things I have longed to do for the last year. I stand by
Barrie's Grave, looking out over the wonderful panorama of the Cairngorms.
I cycle up Glen Einich, where the shy deer take silent flight at my clumsy
approach. I brave the tempests of the Lairig Ghru, counting the world well
lost for the sake of a climb. I tramp to Loch an Eilean, and look with awe
upon the ruined stronghold of the Wolf of Badenoch. And, by the shores of
blue Loch Morlich, I lie for hours on the golden sand, consciously
absorbing the strength of the earth.
In the evenings (for the evenings are cool), I laze before a pine-log fire
and talk of climbing and climbers. The room is full of smoke and a smell
of wet boots. We eat scones and oatcakes, and, between us, remodel the
And I learn many things -- the chief of them being that, to those who love
hills, there is no escape and no forgetting....
Carn Eilrig. View from the Lairig path through
Rothiemurchus Pine Forest