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In the Footsteps of Nan Shepherd

June 25 @ 10:00 am 5:00 pm

£80 per person

‘The thing to be known grows with the knowing.’

Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain

A guided hike on The Living Mountain to explore the words of Scotland’s most beloved nature writer – Nan Shepherd

Nan Shepherd’s famous book about the Cairngorms – The Living Mountain – has been called ‘the finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain’. In beautiful poetic prose Shepherd starts her book by saying that she seeks to know the mountain’s ‘essential nature‘; ‘To know, that is, with the knowledge that is a process of living.’

On this day of guided hiking we will venture up to and across the Cairngorm plateau, following in Nan Shepherd’s footsteps. As we walk we will discuss key passages of her book to discover new insight into her words and a deeper understanding of the Cairngorm’s essential nature.


We will meet at the Ski Centre carpark on Cairngorm. After introductions etc your guide David will go over the weather conditions for the day and discuss the planned route.

Depending on the weather our likely course for the day will be as follows:

Starting from the carpark we will start uphill, ascending the long ridge of Fiacaill a Choire Cas to Point 1141. With 500m of ascent this is the longest uphill push of the day, so it’s great to get it out of the way early!

From Point 1141 we will traverse the rim of Coire an-t Sneachda before heading south into the heart of the Cairngorm Plateau. Here we will aim for the waters of the Feith Buidhe – an inspirational place to delve into the words of The Living Mountain.

From this point we can traverse the plateau, taking in the summit of Cairn Lochan. If our energy levels are still good we can then descend to the summit of Creag an Leth Choin before returning to the ski centre.

Along the way we will have plenty of breaks and opportune moments to read and discuss passages of the book.

Distance Walked: Approx 14km

Ascent/Descent: Approx 900m over the course of the day

Terrain: Mountainous – rough ground, boulder fields, steep slopes in places

Please note the plan for the day may be subject to change at the discretion of your guide due to considerations such as weather.

About Your Guide:

David Russell
David Russell

Most of my professional career since the age of 21 has been in outdoor instruction and adventure travel. I’ve worked at a number of outdoor centres and adventure businesses in Scotland, delivering a wide variety of activities such as hillwalking, kayaking & canoeing, Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions, and many others besides. Now through my own business I offer courses in essential outdoor skills, landscape photography workshops and guided adventures.

My greatest pleasure when teaching outdoors is passing on invaluable skills to other people, seeing the ‘aha!’ moments when their eyes light up, and watching them grow in confidence and ability.

Due to the physically challenging nature of the day a reasonable level of fitness is required. Previous hillwalking experience is useful but not essential. It is essential to be properly equipped:

What You Need:


  • Outdoor clothing – warm layers, waterproofs, insulated warm jacket
  • Small rucksack
  • Walking boots
  • Lunch, snacks and drink
  • Hat and Gloves
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen for good weather


  • Gaiters
  • Flask + Hot drink
  • Camera
  • OS Map


If you have any questions about the day please drop me a line through my website or leave a comment below.


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In the Footsteps of Nan Shepherd – June 25th
£ 80.00
6 available

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