of Mountains, and Circles, and Russian Dolls


Originally posted 2013

Above is a picture taken from the top of the  Cairngorm Mountain, which in no way captures how windy it is up there. Loch Morlich can just be made out in the distance.

Gales aside, the mountain is always grounding. It is so huge and so solid and high. Worries recede. Ridiculous dramas can be seen for the trivial nothings that they are. And I was wearing my new, very cheerful dress:

russian dolls dress

There’s a scene with Russian dolls in my book, so I love this. Admittedly, it wasn’t the most appropriate clothing for hill walking, but I did wear sensible boots and a good coat and felt great solidarity with the man who had teamed shorts and plimsolls with a furry hat. We both attracted what I like to think were admiring looks.

Loch Morlich

Everything was serene down below by the loch, amid the sand and the trees.

loch waters

It was warm enough to paddle before heading to the stone circle at Aviemore:

Aviemore stone circle

This circle is rather unusually situated in the middle of a housing estate, but a peaceful and energising place nonetheless. *enters tour guide mode* There are over 150 stone circles in the Grampian region, more than the rest of Britain put together, but this is the most urban one I’ve encountered. They’re more commonly nestled on the brows of hills, sometimes surrounded by trees, sometimes overlooking open countryside. *reverts to ‘woman wearing a silly dress’ mode* I have a definite ‘thing’ for them; I write about them, I kiss them, I dance round them.

Aviemore stone circle

Yesterday I needed to soak up the calm, to absorb it from the stones and carry it with me into the week to come. However: I’ve already made one critique partner cry; I’ve got myself into a horrible manuscript formatting tangle and I have eaten too much chocolate. And it’s only Monday…

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14 Replies to “of Mountains, and Circles, and Russian Dolls”

  1. Oh, such wonderful pictures, I long to be there NOW! And I can’t see what’s wrong with the dress for hill walking – looks warm and very comfortable 🙂

    I feel for you with the chocolate thing. I had flapjack for breakfast instead of fruit/muesli (yes, it’s got oats in, but also a ton of sugar and big bunches of calories), and I feel like a lump of lethargy already. As for the critique partner, tell him/her to toughen up, or not ask for critiques!!!! (maybe not!)

  2. My daughter, who loves Russian dolls, would love your dress – I must show her your pics. I suspect you’ll have her 9yr old approval on your choice of walking attire 🙂

    And what beautiful surroundings you walked your dress through – breathtaking images!

    I couldn’t help but smile at the image (in my head) of Mr ‘Furry Hat’ man 🙂

  3. Beautiful pictures! The make me miss going hiking in the mountains.
    By the way, I grew up in Poland and I used to have these Russian dolls. I loved how you could keep opening them to find another one inside.

  4. Just found your post via the #SundayBlogShare – such a lovely part of the country and a reminder that I don’t visit it as much as I should!

  5. Gorgeous dress for climbing the cairngorms Ailish. I have a wee story to share with you that’s similar. I climbed up the Cairngorms once too. I found a red kilt made of scratchy wool in a second hand shop in Aviemore and wore it up the mountain with thick socks and boots. It was very scratchy on my skin, but the view more than made up for the attire. I love this part of Scotland. I didn’t see many of these standing stones, oh well…maybe next time 🙂

    1. I love the sound of your outfit! Except for the scratchiness 🙁 That circle is quite well hidden away by the housing estate.

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