Cairngorms Women Contributions


I live 50 minutes away. I go there often as a visitor and also through my work.

All year round.

Walking, but also cross country skiing.

Yes, I am a munro bagger, as such I have walked all the munros of the Cairngorms.

I am part of a Nordic skiing club, which often runs training camps in the Cairngorms.

Recently I started snow shoeing; I went up Ben Macdui in February. It was an awesome experience to be set out to the elements: wind, ice, snow, all in one.

I also run the so-called Walking Institute.

I walked up Lochnagar on a sunny day with my husband Nick.

Scalan Seminary. I discovered it with Simone, dried out after a full day’s walking.

Not really, apart from those of Nan Shepherd.

With Nick, or with the Huntly Hillwalking Club. I have also been with artist Gill Russell. Or with the Huntly Nordic Ski Club.

I stopped climbing once I became a mother.

In particular in wild weather, like snowstorm on Cairngorm plateau.

Looking carefully at details of the landscape (moss, etc) and its subtle colours.

Yes, of course. Its almost a drug. I could not do without it.

I blew over once on Braeriach, and so did all my companions. The wind was so strong. I felt gripped by the elements, not in control over myself anymore.

I was glad to come back alive. Not something one ever take for granted when out there.

Yes, of course, but reading Nan Shepheard made it more obvious, more visible.

I would like to become a mountain leader.

One time with Simone. In a tent. I had a big cough, so did not sleep well.

I did the Mountain leader assessment, which forces you out in the night. It was not an easy experience.

We also got into the night once walking in the Cabrach area of the Cairngorms. Luckily we had a headtorch with us.

It does, but I go out in any weather or season. You always have the best memories of days in good weather, but I kind of like the wind and snow too. I kind of like feeling a bit battered.

It’s like a philosophy, almost a religion.

The other question is why are there so much less women walking in the Cairngorms/mountain area then men? I have now finished the 282 Munros of Scotland. In the almost 20 years it took to do this I only remember one time seeing a woman on her own, and one time seeing 2 women on their own. I never saw a women’s group. All other women I saw either walked with one man, or a group of mainly men. In the Alps for example, you see certainly more women groups (although not that many women walking alone either). This is probably because it is easier to navigate there: more signposts, waymarks, more catered huts, etc. But also in Britain, men have grown up through the Scouts where they learn the use of a compass. This makes them confident to navigate difficult and unwaymarked terrain. Women find that often daunting (although they are often the better map readers).