Chloé, is a 20-year-old French student completing her final year of a degree in Foreign Languages and Business. Here she tells us about her time as a youth hostel volunteer...
I was required by my university to undertake a 6-week work placement in a foreign country - SYHA gave me the opportunity to work in one of their youth hostels and gain valuable hands on experience in the tourism industry.
As I was interested in nature and Green Tourism, I was sent to Crianlarich, a little village in the middle of the mountains, near the West Highland Way.
My time at the youth hostel consists mainly of welcoming our guests and making sure they feel safe and comfortable from their arrival until they leave, cleaning and working at reception. Alongside this, the promotion of Green Tourism, some marketing tasks and informing our clients about the surrounding area. I work within a very friendly team, always there when you need them, doing their best to make you feel at ease and welcome at the youth hostel.
As I am only working 5 to 8 hours a day with two days off per week, I have a lot of time to explore the area. Situated in the Trossachs Park, Crianlarich is the perfect spot for nature lovers but also for people who love hiking, walking, cycling. With the train station and the bus stop in the middle of the village, it is very easy to go from here to Oban, Fort William and Glasgow.
Before I came here, I had never gone hiking in the mountains and my colleagues were pleased to take me to climb my first Munro with them. Walking to the top of Beinn a’Chroin was one of the greatest experiences I ever had and the scenery was simply stunning.
Working as a volunteer enables me to travel around a lot and I decided to enjoy as much as I can in my free time. So I decided to go to Oban and take a ferry to Kerrera Island. Once again, the landscapes were astonishing and beautiful, especially the coast near the castle which was the reflection of this mystical Scottish atmosphere. And of course, visiting Oban means...fish and chips!
As soon as I knew I would be working in Crianlarich, my obsession was to see Loch Lomond. I took one of the cruise boats from Tarbet to Inversnaid on the other side of the Loch and from here, I walked along the water side on the West Highland Way. On the path, you always meet a lot of friendly people to speak with, which is very pleasant when you are travelling on your own.
Finally, I would like to say that the biodiversity and wildlife here are awesome. Of course sheep are not difficult to see, especially in Scotland, but in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, wherever you are, there is always a wide range of different animal species to observe and admire.
Hope this will give you a little taste of what Crianlarich and its surroundings have to offer.
See you soon in Crianlarich!
Biography for SYHA Hostelling Scotland
Scotland's best known network of youth hostels in stunning city & rural locations. Go on a #SYHAdventure! As a not-for-profit organisation, we encourage guests to join SYHA Hostelling Scotland. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in over 90 countries worldwide. Membership and guest overnight income supports our charitable youth programmes and the maintenance of the hostelling network, particularly in rural Scotland.