We have flown from London to Inverness, Scotland, for some practise hiking. I say Practise, because we are planning on summiting the highest peak in Northern Africa; Mt Toubkal.

Let me begin with my gear. I chose my Sony a7 body paired with a 28-70mm Lens. This way I could keep it light, but still get a variety of focal lengths, especially being able to use an APS-C crop factor if needed. I also purchased a Peak Design back pack strap, which allowed me to quickly access my camera, without wearing it around my neck.
We made our way to the beginning of the Cairngorms, with packs full, ready for our two day adventure into the middle of the mountains, we were planning to stay in a bothy and then heading out the next day. Although snow covered, we were optimistic in our challenge, having completed it many times before via different routes.

Getting used to walking on the snow took a bit of time. Not doing it for over two years, due to Covid I believe was the main reason for this;  But we pushed on, slowly losing sight of the ski resort that we had started from, but still seeing the occasional off-piste skier, and mountaineers' conducting avalanche safety reports.

Before we knew it, we saw no ski resort, no more skier's, no more people. All of a sudden, you're own your own, just your feet, mind and for me... my camera. By this point we've gotten used to the snow and the cold and have almost forgotten the weight that we have on our backs.
Heading further into the wilderness, walking through scattered boulder fields, barely seeing the  mountain ranges around us, which we know are there, just hiding... in plain sight. At this point, gloves and hats are off, your coat is open. Turns out that your body hasn't quite worked out what temperature to keep itself at.
The Cairngorms blog, (a blog that is written daily to describe the conditions up here) perfectly explains our conditions. A white room, simply just a white. Room. There really is no other way to explain it. If you felt like you were by yourself before, you definitely do now. 
There was no telling where you were. It is a very weird feeling, despite being completely free, you also felt indescribably claustrophobic. With no where to place a bearing, no mountain ranges, or even a horizon to keep you balanced; you became very disorientated and would even lose your balance. 
Still determined to reach our destination, we had some lunch, hoping the white room would disappear, or at least become bigger. We had a glimmer of hope, for a second, we saw some white cliff's. Once our awe had dropped off,  we realised another danger. 
Let me put this simply, we are walking, on snow, with steep slopes, surrounded by cliffs that we can't  see. Oh yeah, that white room just became 10 times scarier when you remember that you're not in a small safe room, but a large open space with things you can fall off.
With my new found fear of falling off the side of a mountain, we pushed even higher. With the sky appearing to brighten up even further, we were hoping that we could make it. The white room had made it tough to reach this point, slowing us down drastically. 

At least we could see blue sky and a horizon, which was rare on a day like this. This weather made for some really amazing photographs. One's that really demonstrate how isolated we were. I feel like they also accurately portray our feelings to you... the viewer and that was my aim. 

I love taking photo's like this, that aren't staged, or prepped, but that document the experience.

The other thing I liked about taking these photo's was that I doubt many have taken captured these before. The idea that this not an everyday photo, and that I've had to work to get this photo adds to the impressiveness.
The clarity was short lived. We thought we were on the home run, but after careful consideration and a group decision, we chose the wise decision to turn back and begin our journey back to the ski resort. 
The weather was on the turn again, and with daylight hours starting to disappear we began heading in the opposite direction. At the end of the day, this was only a practise walk... for the next adventure.
After this photo,  I actually decided to put my camera away. I wanted to keep documenting our experience, but on our way home the white room returned... and brought snow with it. It was drenching my camera and lens. We were also losing light, and fast, we needed to get home with no casualties. 
It probably took twice as long to get back as it did to get to the point that we turned around. So it is important to remember, when you do something like this, that you leave enough time and make good decisions, even if it means not getting where you wanted.
We had to be really really careful, our path headed straight towards a cliff, and then along it. We had to try and cut corners to stay away from it. After a couple of hours, we started to descend below the cloud line, and out of the white room.
We were out, we were now on our second home run of the day. In the bottom of this picture you can see the car park of the ski resort and a bit further in the distance, you can see loch Morlich.

If you look even closer on the right hand side of the loch, you can see a beach. Yes, that's the highest beach in the  UK at about 300m above sea level.

It looked like we were about to make it down just in time for the sun set. My Moral was definitely low. But seeing the lake and the other mountains raised them just a little. I also decided that I was going to take photo's at the lake, despite being tired.
And there we go. My prized photo from the trip. Cairngorm, perfectly caught in the evening light, from the UK's highest beach. Perfectly lined up between two trees. If you look at the sky, you can see the white room still, just disappearing.

Below I'll now put all of my photo's in a small collage, so you can scroll through them all in one go.

Thanks  for reading this far.
'Till next time.

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