For our all too brief stop in the beautiful Glen Coe, Alex and I did the famous Lost Valley walk. The area has stunning landscapes of course but is also famous for it’s brutal history. In 1692 the MacDonald clan were treacherously murdered by the Campbells who had accepted their hospitality. The massacre happened all over Glen Coe, not in the Lost Valley as I was lead to believe, but the Lost Valley (or Hidden Valley as it’s sometimes marked) does have its own interesting bit of history. The MacDonalds were notorious cattle thieves and the Lost Valley is where they would hide their stolen cattle.
We arrive in Glen Coe early in the afternoon and take a drive through the glen to find the trail head for the Lost Valley. It’s a stunning drive, the road is quite busy but the landscape is just incredible. Unfortunately the crappy brochure map we got free from the information center only gives us a very vague location for the trailhead and there doesn’t seem to be a signpost for it anywhere.
After a few false starts, we make an educated guess as to which track it is and luckily end up on the right one. The information point calls the area the ‘Hidden Valley’ but they seem to be the same thing. If you really are set on doing a particular walk in the area, it wouldn’t hurt to invest in a proper map, but the whole area is stunning so you’re guaranteed a wonderful view no matter which track you end up on.
The track starts with a climb up through the glen and lovely views of the various peaks. The mountains in Scotland aren’t particularly high, but they’re so bare and steep that you can get a really good look at all the rock formations. The ones here are arranged so that they close in around you which makes them very imposing. It’s such a different landscape to what I’m used to. The sparseness of the place is utterly beautiful.
As the track climbs higher it turns into a fun scramble up a pretty mountain stream. The terrain is slightly tricky, there’s a lot of clambering around rocky obstacle courses and trying not to fall in the river. Nothing too dangerous though, I just check my footing more than usual. Partly because I don’t want to get wet. That water looks cold!
The track levels off as it comes into the Lost Valley, high up near the top’s of the mountains. It’s a barren place with lots of rock and a sprinkling of midsummer snow on the peaks. A great place to hide cattle I suppose, if you can get them up their in the first place. Glen Coe is very peaceful once we’re away from the crowds of the main road, with a sombre mood that hint’s at its dark past.
Listening to: Good Morning, Magpie – Murder By Death