January 21, 2019

Beautiful Nothing

Finding happiness in monochromatic landscapes of rocks, ice, and no visibility.

The Cairngorm Plateau is the home of some of the UK's tallest mountains, and is known for its harsh conditions. Last Sunday, it lived well up to that attribute. Sharp winds were blowing snow back and forth, and thick grey clouds obscured anything further than 100 ft.
A hikers' nightmare, many would say. I had a blast.

First, the lack of some colorful scenery (or any scenery, at times) is oddly calming. There are no distracting elements. Not just visually, any paved road is far away, the cellphones reception is next to none.. Like a minimalistic room without a TV or radio.

Second, to navigate through this environment of no landmarks, no footpaths to follow, where all you can see are rocks of similar shapes, colors, and sizes in each direction, is a task that benefits from attention to details. I like that. It's nice when you reach the destination by a paved, well-signed road; but when you have to fight obstacles on your way to the goal, it feels more deserved. Bigger responsibility equals bigger freedom. It reminded me navigating across mountains in Colorado. Add the focus on where to place steps, and the mind is occupied enough to not allow thinking about some nonsense.

And third, when the clouds eventually slightly rise, revealing a few shapes here and there...

...excitement runs high.

If you liked this article, you might also like my previous stories from the Highlands, such as:


My first trip up the Cairngorm Plateau...


...or exploring three remote lochs not too far from here. 

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Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Stories

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