I have spent a lot of time in the Cairngorms over the years much training new RAF Mountain Rescue Team Members, wild days on this special place. To make it interesting on a long day I would visit some of the secret places that had been passed down to me by the “old and bold”. Sometimes we missed these places due to weather or a navigation hitch but over the years I got to know where they were in any weather. These mountains like all mountains are full of tales and folklore and I remember my Dad telling me about the Old Grey Man of Mac Dui and on my many snow holes or camps on the plateau or Corries passing the tale on. After a few drams there were few disbelievers on a wild night. Places like the El Alamein bothy and where the old bothies were after the Cairngorm Disaster in 1971 and the signs of their passing all over the Cairngorms, The memorial to the Anson aircraft on MacDui, The Wellington Crash on An Lurg, The Oxford on Braeraich and the others on Ben A Bhuird all with tragic tales of what happened many of these are in my blogs over the years. There was also the effect by the military in the Cairngorms during the wartime and the places they trained. The effect of man over the centuries and a few tales that make this place so wild and special. Add to that the mountaineering exploration and the flora this is a wonderful place that many have written about and I love these books on the Cairngorms.
Over the Christmas period I re read this book. It was a series of journeys exploring the Cairngorms many are well-known to the Cairngorm mountaineer but few outside will know some of these tales of the Cairngorm Mountains. Patrick Baker the author puts them in a collection he traces elusive wildlife and relive that famous tale of ghostly sightings on the summit of Ben Macdui. From the search for a long-forgotten climbing shelter and the locating of ancient gem mines, to the discovery of skeletal aircraft remains and the hunt for a mysterious nineteenth-century aristocratic settlement, he seeks out the unlikeliest and most interesting of features in places far off the beaten track. My blog has covered most of these tales through the years and it makes me feel part of the stories. It also opens up the Cairngorms for more than summit ticking or Munro bagging. The cultural and human impact of this stunning landscape and reflections on the history of mountaineering are the threads which bind this compelling narrative together. I enjoyed reading it again and it is a grand companion for the bothy or to savour with a dram after a day in the Cairngorms. Or to impress your instructor on your Mountain Leadership Training/Assessment, even they may not know all these tales.
This book is well worth a read in my view.