walkhighlands

Stay at home

Scotland is under national lockdown. People are asked to stay at home except for essential purposes.
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Brain Games

The mountains in winter are both exciting and dangerous. David Lintern takes a look at what happens in our heads when we’re lost in the moment outdoors – whether we are ‘beginners’ or ‘experts’. A couple of months ago I had an accident in my boat on the River Findhorn. My friend Debra and I had enjoyed a glorious afternoon paddling under a bluebird sky flanked by broadleaf trees in full autumn psychedelia. We’d paddled all the rapids we’d set out to, bathed in the blissful tranquillity of the flat stretches in-between and finished earlier than planned. It was just

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Langholm – a landscape of hope

David Lintern visits Dumfries and Galloway to find out about plans for the Langholm community buyout. There’s something astonishing happening in the Scottish Borders. In mid-September 2020, the Newcastleton community bought an area known as Holm Hill. Over the hills at Wanlockhead – reputably Scotland’s highest village – plans for another buyout are also underway, with the land valued at 1.4M and the community now submitting a grant application to the Scottish Land Fund. But the new land reform charge is being led by the people of Langholm. At around 10,000 acres (that’s 7,562 football fields to you and I)

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature

Outdoors for all – Nathan Francis

David Lintern speaks to Scottish hillgoer and microbiologist Nathan Francis Please introduce yourself I am Nathan, a microbiologist by day, and struggling to admit I’ve now entered my forties. I was born and raised in Fife but now living on the outskirts of Edinburgh at the foot of the Pentland hills. I was initially just a hillwalker but camping, bothying and mountain biking have been added to my outdoor activities along the way. I mostly keep to Scotland, but I’ve also branched out to England, Wales, Iceland and a few Alpine trips. What’s your favourite Scottish hill/place and why? My

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Outdoors for all – Zahrah Mahmood

David Lintern speaks to Scottish hillgoer and accountant Zahrah Mahmood, aka the Hillwalking Hijabi Please introduce yourself Hello, my name is Zahrah Mahmood, I’m a Scottish Pakistani Muslim from Glasgow. During the week I work as a Chartered Accountant and most of my adventures are saved for the weekends or annual leave! What’s your favourite Scottish hill/place and why? Oh that’s so hard to choose! I absolutely love Glencoe, but how can you not? The Lawers range is also one of my favourite places to hike. The views are just awe inspiring, especially as you’re driving in. It fills you

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Outdoors for all – Nav Bakhsh

In the first of a short series of interviews covering race in the outdoors, David Lintern speaks to Scottish hillgoer Nav Bakhsh, founder member of Boots and Beards hillwalking group. Please introduce yourself My name is Nav Bakhsh, I am a father of 4 boys from Glasgow and one of the founders of Boots & Beards. What’s your favourite Scottish hill/place and why? There are so many favourites ones to choose from, but would have to say Conic Hill, as that was my first ever hill walk and that’s when I fell in love with my new hobby. How did

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Quarandreaming the Cairngorms

David Lintern returns to the centre for his first post lockdown overnighter. After dark confinement, air and space and the colours of summer. Down in the glen, the first blaeberries, voluptuous purple bell heather and the vivid yokes of bog asphodel line the path. Further up, fresh juniper, birch and pine shoots wave skinny young arms in praise of a warm breeze. Topping out, there are fluorescent green flushes with rust oxide hearts, sharp edged newly bolted deer grass, fluffy head-nodding cotton grass, clusters of dusky white, purple and pink Orchids. It’s an outdoor festival, a landscape in motion. The

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Posted in Features, Magazine

In praise of Wild Camping

David Lintern is asleep on his favourite job Wild camping is quietly embedded in most of the things I love to do outdoors, the silent partner to hilltop wanderings, bike rides and paddles, so it’s been no surprise that under lockdown I’ve pined for it every bit as much as the journeying itself. If moving through landscape is the story, then staying over in the mountains provides the punctuation, a resting place to take stock before the next chapter begins. Without a regular outdoor sleep over I don’t really function properly, and like many of us, my mental health has

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Listening, noticing, knowing

Words, sounds and pictures from lockdown in a rural place. I am sitting by a river near to my house. I sit by that river and the longer I sit, the more I notice. Just the white rush of small rapids upstream to my right at first, but after some minutes, more layers creep in. A slosh of waves on boulders to my left. A bass drone of the main flow ahead, submerged. A small slapping at my feet, where long tendrilled mosses sway in the backwash. A dipper zips past, busy making springtime plans, a robin tries in vain to

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Infected – a call for love in the time of Corona

In the few days before Lockdown was announced, a friend and I went into the mountains northwest of Inverness for the last of winter. It was remote, miles from the nearest road, but we were mindful of the (then) most recent advice to minimise our risk. We’ve both been off the hill more than on recently, but the weather was tempting and for my friend, a keyworker, this was his last leave for what might be some time. On balance, we were cautious: We allowed an extra day and talked down our expectations for a fairly long and quite isolated,

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Posted in Features, Magazine

Dear oh Deer: Scotland’s land use saga continues

Deer are our largest and most populous wild mammal – Are they also an icon of our feudal past, or a conservation whipping boy? David Lintern exhumes the bones of an ongoing debate.

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Posted in Features, Magazine, Nature


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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.