Hiking in the Highlands

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“It’ll be a pretty severe consequence if you fall off here. A wee bit more than a headache.” So says Keith Melton, the proprietor of Go Glencoe Guiding, who led me up a couple of Munros — a summit above 3,000 feet — during my time on assignment in Scotland last week. The two peaks we did are called Stob Coire Raineach and Stob Dubh, about 700 metres in elevation gain from the car park, and despite the stunning weather, there were far fewer people on the trail than we would have encountered at nearby Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the U.K. The climb, and the view from the top, were exhilarating. It was wonderful, as well, to spend an afternoon with Melton; if you’re looking for a guide, or budget accommodation in the Glencoe area, he’s your man. “For me, walking up a mountain is a way to reconnect with the world and with yourself,” he told me during our ascent. “We’ve become so divorced from the planet. This gives you a wee bit of perspective. And it’s a challenge — you get a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top.” Amen.

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