Finding happiness in monochromatic inhospitable landscapes and no visibility.
Sharp winds blow snow back and forth over endless fields of rocks and ice while thick grey clouds obscure anything further than 100 ft. Nightmare conditions, some could say.
The home of some of the UK's tallest mountains, the Cairngorm Plateau, is known for these harsh conditions, and so when I went there last Sunday, it happened that I got to experience them. However, I found hiking in such an environment a blast.
The settings offer three significant factors to appreciate: First, it's calming.
The lack of colourful (or any) scenery means no distracting elements. Not just visually, any paved road is far away, and the cellphones reception is next to none. Sometimes, taking a break from the oversaturated, fast-paced life is the best to relax.
Second, one gets rid of silly thoughts. There are no landmarks, no footpaths to follow.
Similar shapes, shades, and sizes in each direction make navigation require discipline: staying on track benefits from attention to details, and the rough terrain requires focusing on foot placement. The brain is occupied enough to prevent thinking about nonsense.
While sometimes it can be nice to reach the destination by a paved, well-signed road, it feels more deserved when you have to fight obstacles on your way to the goal. Bigger responsibility equals greater satisfaction.
And third, when the clouds eventually rise and reveal a few outlooks here and there...
...the excitement runs high.
If you liked this article, you might also like my previous stories from the Highlands, such as:
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Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Stories