One of the most wonderful things you can do in Scotland is just to go for a walk, in nature that is. You can just take the bus for 30 minutes and you are out of civilisation, by that I mean Glasgow. However you will need hiking boots and some luck with the weather. If you arrange those things it is a certainly a nice thing to do. There are several places you can go to, and the most famous is the West Highland way, but I will mention some things I’ve already done.
– Glen Caleign
Every hour there is a bus to Glen Caleign from Buchanan Bus Station, that is small village with fife houses and a wee (Scottish for little) tea room. When we arrived there it was a but rainy so we first sat down for a cup of tea. After we finished our drinks the air luckily cleared again so we could do some walking through the forest and see some waterfalls. Sadly enough when we reased the top it was quite misty so we couldn’t enjoy the view. Nevertheless it was a nice day out of the crowded city.
– Loch Lomond
If you want to see some real mountains you can easily go to Balloch, a little village near Loch Lomond that forms the border between the Highlands and the Lowlands. You can just take the train from Queen Street Station to Balloch (it will cost you 5 pounds for a return) that leaves twice an hour. Balloch is a nice village with several tearooms and pubs and even a little shopping mall. The tourist information centre is right in front of the train station so you can’t miss it, and the people are very nice to explain what you can do. Most important you can get here a free map of the area! There are some options of what you can do. There is a boat trip for 7,50 pounds, rent a canoe or rowing boat and a little walking route to a castle. And if that isn’t enough there is also a more difficult route of 3 hours you can take. But than you have to weir proper hiking boots. However even if it rains there is something fun to do at Balloch. A new inside aquarium is built were you can see a lot of sea life.
This is the start of the West Highland Way but ideal for visitors that don’t have hiking boots with them. To get here you can also just take a bus from Buchanan Station or the train from Central Station. It will take about 40 minutes and if you walk to the city centre you can also find a tourist office with friendly people. We bought a map here for several walks and it is nice to walk through the nature, the grasslands with sheep and even sometimes on a road. This place is especially nice if you just want to hike for a afternoon.
– Weekendtrip Loch Ness
The International Society were I talked about earlier also made a trip to go to Loch Ness and Iverness. We actually didn’t had to hike there because we went with the bus but I write about it here because it fits in the category stunning nature and mountains. Just sitting in the bus an driving through all valleys was a spectacle to see, especially for someone (Dutch) that isn’t used to a view like that. Also Loch Ness itself was beautiful, just like the ruins of the old castle. But except of the view there is little to see and it look more the same like other lakes. Especially some Austrians were a bit disappointed about that: “It is just like home”. Also Iverness is a nice city to see, especially if you walk alongside the river.
So that was the hiking I did. But if you are even more interested in hiking on real mountains you should read my blog about the West Highland Way or read the Dutch blog of Daan Hubers. He really likes to climb and joined the Mountaineering club and also went a weekend for real climbing. Next time I will discuss some cultural things about the Scots and their eating habits and the public transport over here.