Two weeks ago, twelve Macs staff began the work day a little different. Instead of heading into the office, we donned our best wet-weather gear, stocked ourselves with bin bags and litter pickers, and headed out for a hike.
This past year, Macs Adventure helped put 1,897 pairs of boots on the West Highland Way. We pride ourselves on helping to create memorable walking experiences for our customers, and Scotland’s most famous long-distance hike, which begins almost in our own backyard, is one with which we all have a personal connection.
So, at the close of a fantastic season, the company thought it would be a good idea to give a little back to the track.
The aim was to provide a little TLC to the well-worn Way from Milngavie up to Balmaha. Our first group gathered around the West Highland Way marker in Milngavie’s town centre, just as so many Macs walkers have at the start of their own adventure this season.
After passing out supplies, and of course, stopping for a quick photo op, we got down to business, winding our way quickly out of the suburb and into open country.
“To get out on the trail was a real draw for me. We sell this trip so much it felt good to be able to do something to give back,” Macs team member Cara Macaulay said. “A day away from the desk and being outdoors is also a real bonus!”
Even though we all spend a decent amount of time in the outdoors around Glasgow, it does still surprise me how quickly Scotland’s largest city gives way to wilderness. Being out on the trail, only about ten miles from the office, is an instant refresher, a reminder that we all thrive on being outside, and that’s the feeling we want to share with our customers.
As we picked our way out of Mugdock Country Park, other walkers encouraged us along, and one even gave a round of applause. For his part, he told us he takes empty coffee cups off walkers he passes as there are no places to dispose of these along the Way.
Apart from the few locals out for a morning stroll, the path was quiet. Some 80 miles away in the western Highlands, the last Macs Adventure customers of the season were finishing the final stages of their trek.
Team Two headed out the following day in graver weather. Picking up where we left off in Drymen, they circled Conic Hill and headed down to Balmaha with several full bags. There’s no such thing as a rain day in Scotland, and the group ploughed ahead with their task.
“I wanted to give back to an area which we send our clients to. I have fond family memories of this section and wanted others to have the same,” Macs team member Anna Wren said. “I felt a little tired but incredibly happy. It was good to know we’d left the area better than we’d found it.
The few of us lucky enough to ‘work’ for a day on the trail could do so thanks to the larger effort of those who volunteered to stay back and hold down the fort at HQ on a busy end of the week.
And Macs wasn’t the only group wanting to show love for the West Highland Way. Drymen Taxis, a company we work closely with to provide transport for walkers all season long, offered a free ride to the sodden Macs staff and our collected rubbish both days. The East Dunbartonshire and Stirling councils happily provided us with all supplies needed, and the Loch Lomond National Park Visitor Centre in Balmaha helped to store our equipment.
The West Highland Way is more than just a path for the communities that surround it, and we’re all lucky to have a part in the experience it provides to those who walk it.
Thanks for an excellent season, and we look forward to seeing you out there next year!
If you’d like to join the adventure on the West Highland Way in 2018, we’re happy to help! Just contact the team at [email protected] .
Originally from the States, I have spent the last several years working and travelling abroad and am now happy to be calling Scotland home. Here at Macs I work as a Destination and Adventure Specialist, and in my spare time I write about travel and adventure for my blog, The Out Roads.