Wanting to enjoy the best of the Scottish spring and summer sunshine? Looking for a good way to keep fit and healthy? Glasgow Warriors second-rower Kiran McDonald is here to tell you why you should be getting out and about for a walk in the coming weeks and months.
Time to refresh
Walking allows me to get away from everything. It’s just a good way to switch off and enjoy the fresh air, especially when the sun’s out and the weather’s good. Even when it’s raining, it’s still good to get out of the house. Whether it’s with your friends, with your partner, with your pet, whoever and wherever – it’s just good for the soul and good for your headspace. I think that’s why I enjoy it so much – you can get out, forget everything else and just have a bit of me-time.
Water or coffee?
I don’t really take anything with me to be honest! If I’m going up a hill or a Munro then I’ll take my lunch and water, though. I have sometimes been known to go for a wander and meet up with the boys for a coffee, other times it’ll just be myself and Skye [Kiran’s dog] and we’ll just chuck a ball about for a bit.
We’ve obviously been pretty limited on where we could go to until pretty recently, but with restrictions easing a bit there are definitely a few more places you can go with your dog. We’ve been out to Mugdock Country Park, which isn’t too far away from where we live – it’s perfect for dogs really. There are wee mini lochs, loads of wildlife and you’re out in the countryside without leaving Glasgow really. The reservoir in Milngavie is another good spot, and I quite like walking alongside the River Kelvin as well. You’ve got the Science Park as well just off Switchback Road, loads of folk take their pets in and around there.
Taking on Munros
I don’t have a particular favourite when it comes to Munros, because I’ve only done 20 or so – there are still another 262 to go! In terms of the ones I’ve done, though, the most iconic and most picturesque for me is Buachaille Etive Mòr. That’s just at the start of Glen Etive, it’s an absolute beast of a hill. It just looks huge when you look at it from the road. I’ve been up it once with the boys – no Skye at that point, she was too young! – and it was just a phenomenal day. We had clear skies, you could see for miles over Rannoch Moor. If you’re looking to go a wee bit further afield now that restrictions are easing, I’d definitely give that one a bash. As long as you prepare properly, it’s well worth it.
If you’ve got yourself a new pair of boots and want to get out and about close to Glasgow, I’d definitely recommend Conic Hill and Ben A’an. They’re not that far away and they’re probably a good introduction to hillwalking. You’re up and down in about an hour and a half or so. The views are terrific, especially on a nice day.
Kiran’s top tips
Always make sure you’ve got a good pair of shoes for the walk you’re doing. If you’re just going out and about locally then you’re probably fine with a good sturdy pair of trainers or something, but if you’re tackling bigger hills then you’re relying on your kit to keep you safe and you’ll want a decent pair of walking boots. Look into it and do a bit of research, make sure you’ve got the right kit for the type of stuff that you’re doing.
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