As an endurance athlete and adrenaline junkie, London-based outdoor blogger Sophie Radcliffe isn’t one to shy away from a challenge.
Partnering with Caledonian Sleeper, Sophie has taken on the rolling hills and mountain trails of Scotland, making the most of the country’s scenic landscapes and dramatic backdrops.
To celebrate National Walking Month (1-31 May), Sophie took on her second Scottish challenge of Munro bagging in the Cairngorms....
I was really excited to escape the hustle and bustle of London and venture to the peaceful setting of the Scottish Highlands.
I arrived in Aviemore with Caledonian Sleeper and was ready to get my Munro bagging adventure started right away. I was lucky enough to have a guide, Andy, from Scot Mountain Holidays, who joined me and my travel companion, Max, for the trip.
We spent some time discussing our route over a bowl of hot porridge kindly prepared by our accommodation hosts at Avonglen Holiday Home before filling our rucksacks full of food, clothes and hiking gear. It was time to jump on our bikes and head for the mountains.
The sun was shining as we cycled towards the start of the trail. It was a bumpy journey over rocky terrain and through rivers but the path quickly came to an end and we were ready to head uphill on foot.
The weather soon turned and our clothes quickly become soaked. Being dry and warm felt so far away, yet Andy’s passion kept us going. He’s lived in Aviemore for over 17 years and knows all about the local wildlife, plants and history of the area. His stories of previous mountain adventures gave me the encouragement I needed.
We spent ten hours in the mountains and didn’t see a single soul apart from the three of us. There was something spectacular about returning to our bikes knowing what we had achieved as just a small group.
As any seasoned mountain adventurer would be in dreich weather conditions, I was dreaming of the Old Bridge Inn, our chosen dining spot for the night, during the cycle back to the town.
I was ready for the warmth and comfort and local ales that we enjoyed that night whilst discussing our memories of the day. The Scottish weather may have added an additional battle in our adventure but it only made the experience more exciting.
The moments I found miserable at the time are the ones that put a smile on my face when I look back now. That’s what I love about Scotland, its mountains and adventures. Every time I return home, I always feel I’ve enjoyed a sense of freedom, fun and passion.