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On the bonny banks of Loch an Eilein - Patrick Barkham

Travel | By Patrick Barkham

Patrick Barkham booked into the only hotel open near Aviemore in the Cairngorms with an unadvertised footpath into the woods.

Each lungful of Highland air was unfathomably pure, as if it was richer in oxygen than the ordinary stuff. If it were bottled and sold, it would be marketed with pseudo-scientific claims that it boosted energy, alertness and vitality. Then again, I concluded, any air would appear bounteously life-giving after ten hours of wearing a mask on a train. This, hopefully my last stroll under lockdown, was one of those necessary walks, urgently required to unwind after a day of travelling for work. ...

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