Days out from Glasgow
Cover photo: views from Millport, Cumbrae. Credit: Adriana Alcaraz
Summertime, you say? It might still be drizzling and ‘drenching’ in Bonnie Scotland, but this shouldn’t put you away from a day out. Busy writing your thesis? One of the good things about Glasgow is its unique location – with public transport you are within easy reach of many historical and natural attractions to take a day off the desk to visit. Luckily, some fresh air will help you come back to your thesis full of inspiration!
Bothwell Castle, or what it remains of it, is located by the River Clyde, east of Glasgow. This historical enclave was key during the Wars of Independence. With a peculiar reddish stone, this castle still has its main round keep (or donjon) more or less intact. The visit itself takes you less than one hour, but you can dedicate more time exploring the riverside. In fact, this part of the path, the Clyde Walkway, is an easy walking or bike route that can be taken from Glasgow to Uddingston.
This fortress is literally located on a volcanic rock, the Dumbarton Rock. Although I didn’t visit the inside, the castle is open to the public, and after climbing 500 steps you can see Loch Lomond from the top. Dumbarton is at easy reach by train from Glasgow, but you can also cycle there via the same cycling route that takes you to Balloch (which is completely traffic free).
This small town by the shores of Loch Lomond offer connections to the surrounding islands as well as different walkways on the Trossachs National Park. It also has a nice beach along the loch which is suitable for barbeques. Perfect destination to take a relaxing day off.
Balmaha and Inchcailloch
Balmaha can be reached by boat from Luss or by bus from Balloch. This is a very small village that has as a major attraction, Conic Hill, a 500m hill that offers views of Loch Lomond. It’s also connected by boat with Inchcailloch, an island on the loch whose name literally means ‘island of the old or cowled woman’. This tiny island can be visited entirely in less than two hours by using one of the walking paths. An interesting fact is that you can have the island almost to yourself! The boat to Inchcailloch only operates under demand, which means that the last boat usually departs from the island around 5pm. If you bring your camping set with you, you can spend the night on a deserted island!
Isle of Arran
This island, much bigger than Inchcailloch, is situated further west from Glasgow and can only be reached by ferry from Ardrossan. The ferry takes around one hour, but it has a restaurant and a bar (and if the weather is nice, you can enjoy the views from the deck). Arran can’t be visited in its entirety in only one day, so you’ll probably need to spend at least one night if you want to visit the west coast of the island. However, if you take the early train from Glasgow to Ardrossan, you can be there by midday with plenty of time to visit some of the attractions on the east coast, including Brodick Castle and Goat Fell.
Largs and Cumbrae
West of Glasgow, there is also Largs with its unique seaside town vibes and the delicious ice creams from Nardini’s. It also has a ferry connection to Millport, on the island of Cumbrae. In my case, I made it to Millport by bike, but it can also be reached by bus from the ferry station. From Millport, there is a nice walk that leads you directly to the top of the hill, which offers an incredible viewpoint of the island.
Arrochar and Ben Arthur (The Cobbler)
If you feel more like doing some intense hiking on your day out, you should consider heading to Arrochar. This town can be reached directly by bus from Glasgow and it’s the gateway of the ‘Alps of Scotland’. If you still don’t feel prepared to hit some munros but want to get started with some hiking, the Cobbler is your corbett. I’m not particularly fit (now I mainly spend my days sitting at the desk writing my thesis), but I managed to make it to the top after three hours. Not only the view is worth it, but also the walk itself, which crosses many rivulets.
Now you don’t have any excuse for not enjoying a day off to discover some Scottish destinations. Pick one of the above destinations, pick a day and off you go!
For more recommendations on hiking adventures, check this fantastic post with advice and tips.
Have you visited some of the mentioned places or do you have recommendations of any other nearby destinations? Comment below or tag us on @UofG_PGRblog and let us know!
Photo credits: Adriana Alcaraz