Back in my final year of school, a group of friends invited me on an Easter holiday with them. It wasn't expensive; we took the train from central Scotland, where we lived, up to Aviemore, and then stayed in a youth hostel for the week. We cooked ourselves dinner, and entertained ourselves by spending our days walking through the Cairngorms, stunning mountains in the Highlands.
I was 17, and this was my first real holiday with friends, and I loved it. After a small accident, involving ice, gloves, my face and a swinging frame in a children's adventure park, I had a blast. I had experiences that week I have never repeated since:
- being caught in a whiteout, and then finding our way to a nearby bothy to shelter, by holding on to each other's backpacks.
- going from snowy winter to glorious spring simply by heading down from the mountains to the valleys between
- being so tired at the end of the day that sleeping in the communal bunkrooms was easy
It would be four years before I would go away on holiday with friends like that again, but this really felt like the first big step towards independent adulthood that would continue six months later when I left for university in London. Sadly, I'm no longer in contact with the four other people who were on the trip with me – Daniel, Phylida, Claire and Katy – but scanning my way through the transparencies I shot that week reminded me of what a great, life-shaping week that was.
The whole set's below: