This weekend my friends and I decided to go on our first hike. We decided to go to Ben A’an for a “level 2” hike, in the Scottish Highlands. Ben A’an is located north of Glasgow, about an hour and a half drive. We took a bus from Glasgow to Balfron. Balfron was a really cute little town outside of Stirling. From there we were able to track down a taxi (after going into three different shops to find a taxi number and calling two cab companies). From Balfron it was a 25 minutes drive to the bottom of the hike. The drive was beautiful driving through the Scottish countryside, and the town Aberfoyle.
The hike itself took us a little over an hour to accomplish, and it was a workout for sure. My friends and I had gone to an hour long Trapeze Yoga class the day before so we were all pretty sore, which probably wasn’t the smartest decision of ours, but we survived to tell the tale. The trail started right away with the full incline and didn’t really stop until we made it to the top.
The majority of the hike was climbing up a trail of stones. The hike felt almost like we were in a mythical film like Lord of the Rings. Behind us, as we hiked up you could see Loch Achray. Along the Loch, there were a few magnificent homes, a hotel, and a timeshare that looked like a castle.
As we got closer to the top we were jumping over streams and pulling ourselves up in some situations. The temperature was so funny because we started out bundled up with hats, layers, and gloves, but as we got higher in the sun it was much warmer out and the layers started coming off. Once we got to the top though it was pretty windy, and all the layers went back on rather quickly.
The whole struggle to the top was completely worth it!! The view from the top was incredible. The hike itself was 461m up. From the top, you can see a clear view of Loch Katrine, Loch Achray, and Ben Venue. There were lots of people doing the hike, and a few other groups were at the top as well. It was really impressive to see little children, seniors, dogs, and other young adults that had all done the hike up. At the top, we stopped and had a picnic while admiring the beautiful view.
The hike down was much easier than the hike back up. We had a beautiful view of the timeshare that looks like a castle and the loch. I think we all had jello legs by the time we made it to the bottom.
Once we finished the hike we had two hours until our cab driver was coming back to get us, so we decided to make our way to the hotel for a beer. On our way, we stumbled upon some lovely Highland Cows, or “Coos” as the Scots would say.
This day was honestly the best day I have had in Scotland so far (and it has all been fantastic). When the cab driver picked us back up he played Scottish music for us as we drove through the countryside. It was like we were in a film. The hike was so much wonderful. It was just so refreshing to get out of the city to take a break in the midst of final papers in the last crunch of the semester. So if you are ever visiting in Scotland, go out into the country side and go for a hike, you will gain an even better appreciation for this marvelous country.