This week Scotland was voted the worlds most wonderful country by Rough Guides. It was no surprise to Christopher Nicholson, whos been enchanted by the Cairngorms since childhood. Plus 10 targets to dine and is necessary to stay in the region
You don’t need to visit a residence to fall in love with it. As a small son, growing up on the edge of London, I was fascinated by the romance of the Highlands. The wild beauty of the glens and mountains offered a stimulating alternative to the straighten world-wide of suburbia. That the Nicholsons had Scottish ancestors, and that I was half-Scottish by blood, persuasion me into the faith that I had a deep connection to the mountains. I toyed with the possibility that some enormous mistake had appeared: I should have been living in Scotland.
When I was seven or eight, we started going there on summer vacations. We parked our caravan somewhere- generally somewhere been hit by midges- and start out for the hills. To say that those steps were exhilarating would be an understatement; the capability implicit in the landscape changed me in a profound lane. I was quickly frightened. I still remember the utter fright that devastated me as we clambered through darknes cloud up the vertiginous, scree-laden side of one mountain, unable to see the cliff ahead.
On another summer’s period, we visited Glen Feshie, which skirts the western boundary of the Cairngorms. Part of Scotland’s magic lay in its place name- Killiecrankie, Rannoch, Crianlarich, Ardnamurchan- and I adored the musical racket of Feshie- like fishy; the river Feshie full of elegant silver fishes.