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Unto The Hills
Rothiemurchus Revisited

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 world.

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

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