Offsetting the Office with Mountain Views

At MAD Challenges we love to walk, climb and explore. Being based in Scotland with so many incredible trails and mountains on our doorstep means an adventure is never far away! We also love to hear tales from other inspiring places around the world. Today, we share a guest blog from our friend and fellow adventurer Clare Mackie. Norwegian mountains and vistas await you…

For lots of people living in Scotland, a holiday is a chance to visit somewhere warmer and spend your days at the beach, sightseeing or enjoying local cuisine. For most people, hiking through the Norwegian mountains and camping along the way wouldn’t be much of a holiday at all!

But I guess I’m not most people. My love of the outdoors started at an early age, growing up in the far north of the Highlands. If you spend your teenage years 110 miles from the nearest cinema, you soon develop an appreciation for the outdoors! As an accountant I now spend far too much time sitting at an office desk working on spreadsheets, which is why my weekends are spent outside as much as possible – usually ticking off a few Munros (hills in Scotland over 3,000ft (914m) of which there are 282). On a good weekend I might even get a view! The idea of lying on a beach for a week doesn’t sound idyllic to me – as a typical pale Scot I burn pretty much instantly in the sun, so unsurprisingly I try to make holidays action packed.

For those of you still unconvinced of the merits of walking up Norwegian mountains when you could be lying next to the pool in Spain, the views more than make up for the effort…

At the Stortoppen summit (2,268m) of Snøhetta in Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, Norway.

This summer we were incredibly lucky with the weather and managed to explore three of Norway’s national parks: Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella, Rondane and my personal favourite, Jotunheimen. The last of these translates as ‘the home of the giants’ and is home to Norway’s 29 highest mountains including the impressive Galdhøpiggen (2,469m) and the famous Besseggen ridge walk.

Near the highest point of the Besseggen ridge walk, one of Norway’s best hikes.

We live in an increasingly digital world that is almost unrecognisable from when I grew up less than 20 years ago. Added to that, I spend an unhealthy amount of time sitting in front of a computer screen each day at work. It may sound cheesy but I believe that spending time outdoors is good for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

Imagine the scene: total silence and all you can see in front of you is a vista of snow-capped peaks for miles and miles, extending all the way to the horizon. A view that has not changed significantly for thousands of years.

Some people’s ideal holidays include Mediterranean beaches. For me? A perfect adventure includes a map, a tent, and this perfect Jotunheimen view:

View across Jotunheimen National Park, near the summit of Surtningssue (2,368m).