Being a Vincentian Volunteer isn’t all just work, work, work and luckily there is also plenty of free time in order to explore, take in some culture or, as in my case this week, get out of the city and see some of the beautiful countryside.
At the moment I am finishing work at around mid-day on Tuesdays and Thursday which gives me a couple of full afternoons for myself. One of the things that people keep telling me about Glasgow is the ease with which one can leave the city and get some fresh air and since I’m a keen hiker and mountain climber I was keen to see if it were true and to see what Scotland has to offer.
I worked the morning in the canteen and learning suite at my placement and then ran and caught the train from Glasgow Queen Street at 12:23. The train journey up gave a few glimpses of what to expect as the train travelled past a few smaller lochs and rivers but it was Loch Lomond that I really wanted to see. The train was quick and I got in to Balloch, on the shores of Loch Lomond, for 1:10. The town isn’t particularly spectacular but the views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding countryside are wonderful. My goal was to get far enough down the Loch to get a view of Ben Lomond which is at the northern end of the Loch. I took a little path which follows the eastern shore-line of the loch and when this ended jumped over a river and a couple of fences to keep moving. The view down the Loch just gets better and better the further north you move and after an hour and a half of hard hiking and running I finally got a view of Ben Lomond which I hope to go up in the next few weeks.
The Scottish countryside is incredible. It’s ruggedly beautiful and when you’re there you really feel like you are in the wilderness. I saw plenty of wildlife along the way, including pheasants, but the thing that I loved most was the total silence which you can only experience in the mountains. Being in Glasgow has been a great experience but being a city there is always some kind of noise be it people, cars, planes, music etc. Getting out and just being able to sit in a forest taking in the views in complete silence was a great break and gave me chance to reflect on my work and how lucky I am to be a Vincentian Volunteer. As you can see from the pictures I was also lucky enough to go during a beautiful day which was nice and warm (which I wasn’t expecting!).
I’m really looking forward to getting out of the city again and going up Ben Lomond and later on the year hopefully I’ll get to go up Ben Nevis.