I have found solace in the hills my whole life. I was very fortunate to have a Dad who instilled his love of nature and the hills in me at a very young age. Whether it was accompanying him as he worked as a vet in Upper Deeside, attending 'Deer Society' meetings held at a number of estates across the Cairngorms, walking up Ben Macdhui in pea soup fog or celebrating my 10th birthday walking the Lairig Ghru (Lairig an Laoigh for my 11th birthday!) the love and respect of the outdoors was nurtured and developed. I went on to share this with my own children and now delight in watching my grandchildren being introduced to the outdoors and our Scottish hills (one grandson has been up several Munroes and he is only 18 months old!).
There are so many studies now sharing what many of us have known all along, that fresh air, beng closeto nature and exercising in the outdoors brings all sorts of health benefits. It's easy to get caught up in day to day deadlines, worries and routine but what about making getting outside part of that daily routine? Setting aside some 'me' time every day to nurture the most special person in the world. Yes, that's you! Treat yourself as you would treat your very best friend, or the most important person in your life. It isn't easy! In the past, I would find myself in a hole and not know how to get out of it, especially in the winter months. Over time I built up a range of tools for my toolbox (the constant reference to my toolbox in these blog posts is intentional in the hope that it will prompt you to create your own toolbox). So this week when I realised that I had been hijacked by my diary yet again, I made sure that I finished work on time and headed for Bennachie! I am sooooo fortunate to have this beautiful hill right on my doorstep. There are several summits and starting points, leading to an infinite number of routes for walking, running (I met mountain bikers hurtling down when I was there this week!) and exploring. I still find new neuks and crannies every time I go there. A perfect way to nurture and look after myself. You don't have to climb a hill to benefit from the outdoors, you just need to open the door, take that first step and breathe... Enjoy!