Stunningly Beautiful Glencoe, is one of Scotland’s best known glens, sitting alongside the A82 and approximately sixteen miles south of Fort William, it shadows the A82 from both sides, with the enigmatic Aonach Eagach ridge on one side and the Three Sisters, Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh proudly sitting opposite. It can’t be helped wanting to stop and admire the wonderful sites of Glencoe, and thankfully there are plenty of car parking places along the way. Arriving from the south to Glencoe you pass through Rannoch Moor, before being welcomed by the massive pyramid shaped mountain of Buachaille Etive Mor, often crowned by low clouds and dominating the skyline ahead. Coming from Fort William you pass through the village of Onich before crossing the Ballachulish bridge, with Loch Leven and Loch Linnhe greeting you on either side.
Village of Glencoe
Glencoe village sits beside a separate road away from the busy traffic of the A82, and can often be passed by without noticing, take time to divert off the A82 and spend some time within the village. Here you will find a few shops and cafe’s servicing the village, also in the village you have the North Lorn Museum, a lovely thatched white building with lots of information and history inside. further along the village road and down a little lane by the stone bridge crossing the river Coe you can find the Glencoe monument commemorating the massacre of Glencoe. Travelling further along the old village road and crossing the bridge you will pass the entrance to the Glencoe Lochan, a beautiful small loch with various walks around the forest and loch, and well maintained by the forestry commission. Fishing is possible around the loch but you will need to acquire a permit purchased locally. Following the road will take you along the banks of the River Coe, passing the Independent Glencoe Hostel and the Red Squirrel campsite, before reaching the Clachaig Inn, a fine pub with a great choice of fine ales and food.
Activities in the Glencoe Area
You will never be short of any activities in Glencoe, the whole area is a special place for the outdoor enthusiasts, from walking , mountaineering, skiing, and mountain biking. The Glencoe Ski Centre offers seasonal Skiing and a chairlift that climbs 2400ft up Meall a Bhuiridh, giving you spectacular views of the Glen, Rannoch Moor and towards Ben Nevis, sitting at the base of the chairlift is a cafe where you can get a nice drink or something to eat whilst admiring the views. If you like to cycle, the village of Glencoe offers bike rentals at a decent rate, and information can be found about all the trails from the bike supplier. Water sports are very popular close by on the Lochs of Leven and Linnhe, and Paddle Lochaber offer great water based activities with qualified local guides providing lessons in Kayaking and Canoeing.
Low Level walks Around Glencoe
Surrounded by steep sided Munros, Glencoe has some of the best of Scotland’s Hiking routes, with rough trails and steep sided ascents and tricky descents, and unforgiving weather that usually cannot be predicted, often claiming lives every year. We have listed below some of the Glens less ambitious walks that you can do if you are not comfortable with tackling the Munros. These routes still need precautions and you should be equipped with a map and stick to the paths for your own safety and to protect the land that has been badly eroded in some places.
A great way to enjoy the magnificent Glencoe is a hike over the Devils Staircase, a route that follows the old military road that once headed to Fort William. The trail is part of the West Highland Way and is a good walk for the less experienced and families. A good way to do this route is from Kinlochleven, a small town on the eastern end of Loch Leven. Take the path from the British Aluminium Heritage Centre and head towards the wooden bridge where a gentle climb following a track winds up to Penstock Farm. From here the path over the Devils Staircase is easy to follow with signs directing so you can’t go wrong, this will take you uphill to the 1804ft pass and descending down to the other side of Glencoe. Devils Staircase was given the name by the 400 soldiers who battled horrendous conditions to build it in the 17th century. The route is safe during good conditions and you will be rewarded with great views of Buachaille Etive Mor and Loch Eilde.
Allt Coire Gabhail, The Lost Valley
Starting from Glencoe opposite the Three Sisters, there is a car park where you can start this walk from. From the road it drops down to the River Coe and you head across the wooden bridge, here you have a choice of two paths, the easiest route that is less worn heads off to the right. Follow this path straight up Allt Coire Gabhail for a couple of miles till you meet up with the other path, which has ascended the glen beside the river via some scrambles and rock pools. Here cross the river using the stepping stones and head towards the false summit directly ahead. The Lost Valley was actually once used by the Clan McDonald to hide their cattle and used as an escape when attacked hence the name and could not be seen from the main route of Glencoe. From here you will see fantastic views of Bidean, Gearr Aonach and Beinn Fhada that become even more dramatic as you continue towards the head of the valley. Please do not go any further from this point unless you are an experienced mountain walker or climber as the trail heads up towards some of Glencoe’s highest mountains and ridges. Return back the way you came.
Buachaille Etive Beag Circular
For this walk park near the waterfall at the Study, (this is the gorge part through Glencoe on the A82) and follow the road till you see a signpost reading Loch Etiveside, the path starts from here crossing the Allt Lairig Eilde before you head to the top of the pass, from here you will have risen 787ft from the road. The river flowing through Glen Etive is quite confusingly also called Allt Lairig Eilde, follow the west bank track till you reached a fenced area and then cross the burn, then follow the trail that ascends Stob Dubh directly from Glen Etive and gain some height. From here choose a safe route to traverse the side of the valley to the col of the Lairig Gartain and head up towards the head of the pass , you have now reached the top. The next stage dropping down to the Dalness Estate is relatively easy, when you reach the single track road, you then follow the path signposted Lairig Gartain northeast to a second pass, from here there is an intermittent trail that descends the west side of the River Coupall valley where you will eventually rejoin the A82.
There are many other walks around Glencoe including Signal Rock and An Toor, Ba Bridge from Blackrock Cottage and Kinlochleven- Loch Eilde Mor. If you are unsure and not confident to head off alone I suggest you hire a Glencoe guide that will offer you many routes and within safety.
Map of Glencoe
Finding somewhere to stay in Glencoe is very easy, and there are plenty of choices to find accommodation that suits you, from local hotels and inns to campsites and hostels Glencoe has the lot. Popular hotels in the area include the Clachaig Inn, kingshouse Hotel, Isles of Glencoe Hotel, and the Ballachulish Hotel.There is also plenty hotel accommodation in nearby Oban or Fort William. If you prefer something on a budget you have the choice of the Glencoe Independent Hostel and the Glencoe Youth Hostel (SYHA). If you want to camp you have the Red Squirrel campsite on the old road between the Clachaig Inn and the village. There are also a number of B&B’s in the village and around the local area, also available are privately rented cottages and self catering caravans close to the village and around Loch Leven.
Eating Out in Glencoe
The Glencoe area offers great eating and caters for everyone’s taste. Within the village you have the small but very popular Glencoe Cafe, with fresh home-baking and a selection of lovely cakes and snacks. If you are seafood lovers why not visit the award winning Loch Leven Seafood Cafe, located on the road by Loch Leven, you can sample some of the best shellfish Scotland has to offer. If you prefer to eat by a roaring Log fire and in traditional settings the Clachaig Inn provides hearty Scottish meals and a selection of ales and whiskies that can’t be beat anywhere else. Many of the other hotels also offer nice meals with stunning views around the Glencoe area.
- www.glencoehostel.co.uk – Glencoe independent hostel & Guiding Tours
- www.clachaig.com – Clachaig Inn
- www.lochlevenseafoodcafe.co.uk – Loch Leven Seafood cafe
- www.glencoecafe.co.uk – Glencoe Cafe
- www.islesofglencoe.co.uk – Isles of Glencoe Hotel
- www.ballachulish-hotel.co.uk – Ballachulish Hotel
- www.campsiteinscotland.com – Red Squirrel Campsite
- www.kingshousehotel.co.uk – Kingshouse Hotel
- www.paddlelochaber.co.uk – Paddle Lochaber
- Skiing – Ski Resort Glencoe Mountain
- Glencoe Rangers – Facebook page for Rangers and Visitor Centre