ANDREW COTTER, BROADCASTER AND AUTHOR

Where is it?

Braeriach in the Cairngorms.

Why do you go there?

Braeriach is representative of all Scottish mountains for me. But I thought I should probably try to be more specific. I've chosen Braeriach and the mountains around the Lairig Ghru because the area is, in the winter at least, open and wild and above all quiet. A total escape from all man-made things.

How often do you go?

Not nearly often enough. I live in Cheshire and would dearly love to be further north, but practically it makes more sense to be more central with easier access to London or an airport. As soon as the first proper snows come and travel is allowed, I'll be back.

How did you discover it?

My dad was (and still is) a keen hillwalker. Even though I grew up in the least bumpy part of Scotland, in Troon, the mountains were always a favourite destination. And they became that much more important once I had moved down to London because they were a very necessary antidote to big city life.

What's your favourite memory?

One of the reasons I chose Braeriach was that a couple of years ago I experienced one of my most joyful days in the mountains, climbing it along with Sgor an Lochain Uaine and Cairn Toul, in the snow, with my dogs, Olive and Mabel. It was 25 miles, 8,000ft feet of climbing and just me and the fur sherpas for 12 hours. Total bliss.

HeraldScotland: Andrew Cotter's dogs Olive and Mabel on Braeriach in the Cairngorms. Picture: Andrew CotterAndrew Cotter's dogs Olive and Mabel on Braeriach in the Cairngorms. Picture: Andrew Cotter

Who do you take?

Olive and Mabel. My partner Caroline loves long walks but not necessarily ones which involve a gradient. And certainly not snow.

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Quite often I end up climbing with a chap called Iain Cameron, who is a published snow expert. We talk about things like wind slab avalanches while the dogs eat sheep droppings.

What do you take?

More gear than you think possible to carry. But, on serious note, it is not a place to be caught lacking in clothing or equipment. And I'm a sucker for all the gear. The people at Tiso, the outdoor store in Perth, rub their hands when they see me coming.

What do you leave behind?

Nothing. Litter is a national disgrace in Scotland and the UK as a whole. Of all the countries I have visited, I have never seen anywhere else where it seems to be a problem on such a scale.

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I find it infuriating and baffling that people who go to visit the beauty of the countryside will be so selfish as to then spoil it. Leave nothing but footprints. And paw prints.

Sum it up in five words.

Cold. Vast. Wild. Quiet. Beautiful.

What travel spot is on your post-lockdown wish list?

To get back to Australia and visit Caroline's brother Johnny and his family. And get some Vitamin D. But I'll miss the dogs.

Olive, Mabel And Me: Life and Adventures With Two Very Good Dogs by Andrew Cotter is published by Black & White, priced £20