Going Solo

  • May 2022
  • Cairngorms

“Don’t be scared to hike alone.  Don’t be scared to like it”.

My partner in crime was working all weekend and the weather was looking not too shabby.  I was at a loose end.  I could either stay home and possibly get bored, even sulk, hike somewhere local, pass the time doing something idle I guess or I could jump at this opportunity, take advantage of it and just go on an adventure. 

My mind was already made up at the point of, ‘my partner in crime was working all weekend’, so this weekend I was solo adventuring.

I’d say I was quite an independent person.  I like to be able to be self sufficient so this adventure would enable me to meet my needs, take care of myself, deal with problems that may arise without the help of others, whilst navigating my own destination!

Solo adventures can push you outside your comfort zone and funnily enough it can also push you out of the zone of others which I find appealing if I’m being honest.

I do enjoy interacting with people, but I also enjoy my own company, I find contentment in it.  It is a nice feeling to spend time with myself, enjoying a sense of peace and silence, whether it be walking, running or sitting in the middle of nowhere with a flask of coffee.  I simply enjoy the quietness.

The freedom can be amazing too (sorry Andy) – I can do what I want when I want, without having to worry about keeping anyone else happy or sticking to tight time schedules (again sorry Andy but you are a stickler for a regimental tight schedule).  The solace of a solo adventure can give you that opportunity to clear your mind, clarify thoughts, and return back feeling excited and energised.

Most of all sometimes you just need to disconnect and enjoy your own company.

So this weekend I was heading up to base myself in Aviemore and my plan was simply to not have a plan and “fly by the seat of my pants”!

Arriving early Friday evening I rocked up at Loch Morlich. 

Loch Morlich, views to the Cairngorm’s

The evening was warmish and still so I decided to head for a run around the Loch in amongst the beautiful Scots Pine trees.  This forest has to be my favourite forest in the world, so far anyway.  Scots Pines have to be my favourite tree (apart from that one tree, my very favourite tree, in Argentina…remember?). 

The trees go on for miles around, beautifiying the landscape and calming the soul.  I am a tree sort of girl and find them quite theraputic.

It was busy enough down by the loch with people walking on the beach, kayaking or paddle boarding,  some were heading for a cycle.

Loch Morlich

From here I then decided to drive up to the ski centre.  On reaching the car park I then decided to stretch the legs and couldn’t believe how calm the evening was up here or how quiet it was for a Friday evening so I decided to hike on in to the base of the mountains without actually heading up them (on hindsight though I should have as the evening was very beautiful). 

Cairngorms

Since it continued to be so quiet, with no wind, and no-one around, I simply continued walking until I felt it was time to turn around and head back the way. 

Saturday I woke when I woke.  No alarm, no time schedule, I simply woke naturally and decided I’d leave when I was ready to, which I did – around 10am!

Arriving at the ski centre I had no real plan on which route to undertake then finally I decided to do the Cairngorm Circular Route.

This route takes you high onto the edge of the Cairngorm plateau  which would offer amazing views on this fine clear day.  I hiked gradually upwards and with every step forward, the more pleasant it became. 

Once on the plateua the going was pretty easy, with some rocky sections of trail. 

Care would need to be taken here however in poor weather conditions and low visibility, especially the cliff edge section running between Cairn Gorm, Stob Coire an t-Sneachda, and Cairn Lochan. This part has very sudden and steep drops over the edge.

I continued along the plateau to summit Carn Gorm which I have sumitted manys a time, but up here you can never tire of these views or these mountains.

Although it was a nice day it was very windy on the tops with no getting away from it. So after hitting the summit of Carn Gorm I headed over to a bulk of rock known as a Tor to try and find shelter for a spot of lunch, 5 minutes out this wind would be bliss.

Summit of Carn Gorm
Carn Gorm weather station
The Tor

After a brief moment enjoying my surroundings and isolation two guys started to approach my spot, possibly seeing just how good a spot I actually had found to have lunch.  After they wandered around and over the rocks checking out this huge rock formation they decided to sit right by my spot, like right next to me, almost!  My ‘zone away from others’ ruined!

They were pretty chatty, both foreign and both loving the Scottish wilderness asking me about this place, other hills in Scotland particularly Ben Nevis and the Loch Lomand hills and then just generally chatting.  They even offered me lunch, which I declined but they did make me take a chocolate brioche roll, how could I refuse, so I sat for a bit longer talking, eating, finishing off my coffee until it was time to leave.  The guys decided they were leaving also so all three of us headed off the hill together in the same direction…see I can be a social creature also!

Next day I had another low level wander through the Caledonian pine forests in the Cairngorm’s National Park before heading home.

My weekend had been a positive experience and I did enjoy spending time in my own company surrounded by quiet but I must admit I did miss my hiking buddy but let’s just keep that between you and I!

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