January 21, 2019

Beautiful Nothing

Finding happiness in monochromatic inhospitable landscapes and no visibility.

Home of some of the UK's tallest mountains, the Cairngorm Plateau is known for its harsh conditions. When I went there last Sunday, I got to experience sharp winds blowing snow back and forth over endless fields of rocks and ice while thick grey clouds obscured anything further than 100 ft. Nightmare conditions, some could say.

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 detail, 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 super 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. 

Alternatively, visit my Blog Archives for more categories and topics. Thanks for reading!

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Stories