Tuesday, 29 July 2014

5 Great Days Out From Glasgow

With the eyes of the world on Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, it’s easy to forget how quick and easy it is to get out and about into the great outdoors from Scotland’s largest city.  So if you’re ready to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Games and city life, try one of the following great escapes:

1. Explore the Clyde Valley Woodlands

Scotland’s oldest and richest forest lies hidden in dramatic gorges in the Clyde Valley, just half an hour from Glasgow city centre.  Since the last Ice Age, rivers have gouged deep clefts in the soft sandstone and woods of oak, ash, rowan and hazel have been growing here since the ice melted away.  While the main visitor facilities are at Chatelherault and the Falls of Clyde, various walks can be enjoyed via the paths accessing all six of the woodlands which combine to form Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve.  Find out more here.

Clyde Valley Woodlands © Lorne Gill
2. Visit the Aberfoyle Ospreys

You can catch a glimpse of Aberfoyle's famous ospreys by visiting the wildlife hide at The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, located less than an hour north of Glasgow.  A live CCTV stream allows you to get up close to these noble raptors and offers a unique opportunity to observe the birds in their natural environment.  Whilst there, take a walk through the forest, past dramatic waterfalls; burn some energy on the Go Ape tree top adventure; or get lost in the brushwood maze.  Find out more here.

3. Take to two feet in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park

The stunning Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park is just a short drive from Glasgow (approx. 20 miles) and offers some stunning Scottish scenery.  Take a day trip with Walk Wild Scotland and enjoy a hike with a gentle elevation and ever changing views over the hills.  This excellent introduction to the Scottish Highlands will give you your first sense of the wide, expansive landscapes Scotland has to offer.  Find out more here.

4. Watch spectacular Red Kites

Central Scotland's only red kite feeding station can be found just north of Stirling, about 45 mins from central Glasgow, and visitors to Argaty Red Kites can watch these exciting birds and their spectacular flying.  Since being reintroduced, these stunning birds are fed daily and can be viewed as close as 50 metres from the purpose built hide, so you can enjoy their aerobatic behaviour first hand.  There’s lots of other wildlife to see as well, and guided walks and Land Rover safaris are also available.  Pre-booking is advised.  Find out more here.

Argaty Red Kites
5. Enjoy a warm welcome in Rob Roy Country

Just a little further afield, the villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St. Fillans and Strathyre are located in an area of outstanding natural beauty with lochs, mountains and forests in abundance.  There’s plenty here to keep you outdoors and active: walk or cycle the many footpaths and waymarked trails; watch for local wildlife; make a splash with some water sports on Loch Earn; horse ride across heather clad moors and along forest paths; or simply enjoy exploring the villages and learning more about the Scottish folk hero, Rob Roy MacGregor.  The Loch Earn Tourism Initiative provides a great starting point to planning your day.  Find out more here.