Highlands Cryotherapy

Freezing worries and misery in the UK’s largest national park.

The Dundee Uni is located at the calm and (relatively) warm east coast of Scotland, which is neat for daily life. At the same time, it is only an hour or so to the famous Highlands, which offer stunning, rugged mountains. Perfect for a weekend trip.

Last weekend I went to the Cairngorms, a NP in the Highlands’ southeast corner, with the university’s hiking society. When we got off the bus at a local parking spot, we found ourselves encircled with snow and cold. A big difference to cosy Dundee.

Checking the map before setting off.

We made a loop around the Cairngorm ridge, which was obscured by a great cloud. Sharp winds were blowing snow back and forth, and thick grey skies were hiding anything further than 100 ft.

This could be a disappointment for some, but I had a blast! The monochromatic landscapes of rocks and ice were calming, there were no flashing distractions around.

Being in charge of directions brought another joy: navigating through this environment of no landmarks and no footpaths to follow, is a task that benefits from attention to details. I like that. It might be 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 your steps, and the mind is occupied enough to not allow thinking about some nonsense. It is like a meditation.

And then, the clouds lifted.

A bit. Enough to reveal some amazing shapes.

Yey! Once we started out descent, the wind softened while the good mood was gaining.

There was even a bit of sunshine sneaking on us.

And conveniently, down at the parking lot is a cafe. Ending a day with a cake, the dream!


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

Steall

Exploring Glen Nevis and the mountains around

loch

Road trip to the Northern Coastline

For more photos taken on these adventures, see my Instagram. Thanks for reading!

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