When I booked an impromptu trip to Glasgow to visit my friend Tessa (who you might remember from FuerteventuRun), I was craving a bit of head space — some time and space to recharge and brainstorm for future projects. I thought a mini break away to do some strategizing could be exactly what I needed. I’d marked one day off to celebrate my birthday but celebrations spilled over and the trip very quickly escalated into a different sort of challenge: Just how much fun can you pack into 5 days in Glasgow?
Catching a cheap flight from London, I’d crammed an eclectic mix of kit into my small carry on bag that included both my camping mat and my wetsuit. Surrounded by terribly serious businessmen on the early Monday morning flight, I couldn’t help but smile. Driven by the unshakeable belief that life is too short to hate Mondays (/the working week in general), it’s been a relentless process of carving out a life I can feel proud of. It’s an ongoing effort and of course I still have things I’m striving for but as I looked around at all the people dreading the week ahead of them, I was reminded of why it’s worth it. On the eve of turning another year older, I considered that actually I was pretty happy with the direction of my life.
Waking up on Tuesday morning, it was time to begin the birthday celebrations in style. We had a packed day ahead of us! Having recently reconnected with my love of surfing, we’d found a place we could hire surfboards and a road trip to the coast was first on the agenda. A couple of hours later, choosing to ignore the fact that the wind and rain had also come out to celebrate, we found ourselves laughing in the car park as we slipped into our neoprene and devoured some chocolate as a pre-surf snack.
We were still giggling as we carried the boards over the soggy marshland, the ground squelching under our feet. It’s a special sort of friend that says yes to adventures like this.
I did my best to share some of my recently gained surfing wisdom with Tessa — who I’m delighted to say managed to stand up for the first time!
A couple of hours later, having happily refreshed our surfing skills and also having lost a great deal sensation in our fingers due to the cold…
…we headed back up to the car park to dry off and hunt out some lunch. Obviously, the lunch featured both cake and ice cream:
Back home, we were quickly showered and preparing for a night out — out out. Met by another friend and local Glaswegian, Ged, the 3 of us devour a hearty pub dinner before heading up into the hills, where we will spend the night. Drinking in the scenery as we hike up, the clear skies are a world away from the dull morning we woke up to.
The fickle weather of Scotland never ceases to amaze me. Having settled amidst the exceedingly deep heather for the night, the view from our tent changes rapidly as views of a nearby loch intermittently disappear beneath thick clouds as they roll over.
Back down from our little excursion the next day, it’s soon time for Tessa and I to climb up high again.
I think it had been at least a year since I last went bouldering but a climbing wall inside an old church seemed like the perfect opportunity to burn off some of the birthday chocolate/cake/cheese.
Noticeably out of practice, our arms are soon screaming at us — they will ache for days after.
To make absolutely sure that we have totally annihilated our arms, we have one more activity planned before I fly home.
I have never tried Wakeboarding before but given my instant enthusiasm for water based activities (even when I fail spectacularly… ), I’m extremely excited for our session at Glasgow Wake Park. Tucked away in the midst of town, this place is a real gem. Whilst it initially feels a bit surreal to find a water sports centre in the middle of a fairly industrial area, it means that it’s very accessible and you quickly forget about the surrounding buildings anyway.
We have a brief land based lesson before jumping in and receiving all other instruction whilst in the water.
I make surprisingly quick progress thanks to the incredibly helpful, insightful and specific coaching provided and my only real complaint by the time I get out of the water is that I seem to have found another addictive water based sport to add to the list. If you do find yourself in Glasgow, I can’t recommend a visit to Glasgow Wake Park enough!
I’ve booked an evening flight out on Friday so we manage to squeeze in one more little adventure before I head back. After all, a trip to Scotland just isn’t complete without visiting a stunning loch, right?
Amidst all of the activities mentioned above, I kept up to date with the “business” side of being an adventurer — things like writing articles, organising and preparing public talks, collaborating on some exciting new campaigns and I also began research for a new challenge. There is a great deal of admin that goes on behind the scenes of making a living the way that I do. The week in Glasgow was a great reminder of how easy it can be to inject some fun back into an ordinary “working” week just by trying something new and breaking out of the routine. What will you try next?