Kansas is flat. Scotland is not.
Anyone that knows me well enough knows that I love to go hiking. Living out by Clinton Lake was always a blessing in that I was just a short run away from forest trailheads and lake-shore paths. I could hike for hours and go all over Clinton Lake Park – but for the most part it was flat trails through open plains and a few spotted forest custers here and there.
Living in Scotland is a whole different ball game.
During my time here at Uni, one of my major goals is to get out and see as much of the country as I possibly can. I think it pairs well with History and Archaeology! I would love to be able to truly get out and see the landscape that shaped the history of Scotland. I’ve always said that it’s one thing to read about something – but anything entirely to actually go out and do it.
Yesterday morning, I woke up at 5:45 AM to go with the Mountaineering Club up to the Cobbler which is just outside of Glasgow. We left Edinburgh around 8:00 and it took us 2 hours by bus to reach the site. Honestly, the weirdest thing about Scotland is just how close everything is. To put this in perspective, we drove for two hours – nearly across the entire country. It takes me 3 hours to drive to Hays and 3.5 to drive to Wichita. The size of Scotland is certainly is going to make getting around and seeing the country a lot easier than it would be in the states! I put a map below.
We hiked up Ben Arthur which is 2,900 feet. Ben Arthur is classified as a Corbett because it falls in the 2,500-3,000 feet range. It is just 100 feet shy of being a Munro – the highest classification in Scotland. Ben Arthur however is, by no means the tallest mountain in Scotland. The tallest is Ben Nevis (4,409 feet).
The hike up was absolutely stunning. Coming from Kansas, mountains are still a new thing for me. It was weird not being able to see for miles in one direction! The air was so fresh and clean and the weather was great! Everything here is so green too! I’m probably sounding like an Emerson-ite, but it’s honestly so refreshing to be able to get out into the country!
I had brought waterproofs with me, a jacket and trousers. (Side Note: I learned very quickly to say trousers. What Americans call pants are not pants in the UK. In the UK, pants are underwear.) I dressed in a few layers, but quickly had to take those off. I was glad however, when we reached the summit that I brought them. The summit was quite windy and it had started to rain.
Not being used to hiking mountians, the hike was a little challenging in a few places. But I figured this is the best place to learn. I already have a membership to the rock wall at the student gym and I’m really looking forward to learning how to climb. I have always wanted to learn – but living is Kansas makes climbing a little difficult!
There are actually two peaks on Ben Arthur. We stopped for lunch on the first one and then moved onto the second one. However, the mist and rain had really moved in and by the second peak we couldn’t really see much from the top.
The climb down was a new thing for me too. I didn’t trip as much as I expected to (which was good)! I had to zig-zag my way down and it was a little nerve-wracking at times, but I caught on quickly. I’ve always figured that if you never do anything outside of your comfort zone, life is rather boring.
We made it back down and stopped for a while near Loch Long. There was a small town there with a few bed and breakfasts and a pub. I got to grab a drink and talk with some neat people I had met on the hike. We all sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It wasn’t raining much anymore – just the typical Scottish clouds and mist around the summits.
All of the members of the Mountaineering Club were really friendly and I plan on joining them for the year! They go out on day trips and weekend trips throughout the year. I figured this would be the way to make the most out of being in Scotland and get a good workout out of it too! I always love to try new thing, I know it sounds cliche, but coming from Kansas to Scotland – mountians are a foreign species!