I can’t believe how lucky we were with our trip to Glencoe. The weather was just perfect – clear, still and relatively warm. I have done a lot of hillwalking over the years, starting from around age 10 I guess, and rarely has the weather been so good. I walked lots as a teenager, student and up until the kids came along. So many days have been spent trudging along in mist and rain or, even if dry, in cloud or wind. They have all been good days but the combination of a beautiful setting, great company and sun all day was just perfect. Definitely one to be remembered.
We set off up Bidean Nam Bian (Pinnacle of the Hills) and the route we chose takes in the Hidden Valley. After heading up quite a narrow and steep gully, following a burn, it opens out into a wide and flat glen – it’s rumoured that cattle would be hidden up here in times past.
Here’s a quote from Undiscovered Scotland:: “The south side of lower Glen Coe revolves around the complex mountain architecture of Bidean nam Bian, a reclusive giant that keeps its summit hidden behind three huge protruding buttresses that tower over the glen. And between two of these buttresses lies the high level hidden valley of Allt Coire Gabhail, for many years used by the Glen Coe MacDonalds to hide their cattle, and anyone else’s they could get their hands on.”
From the hidden valley we set off up to the col (lowest point on the ridge above) – the last section is pretty steep and with snow to contend with we took it slowly and carefully. I’ve found that since having children I’m much more cautious in that sort of situation and L and V are the same.
We had a few more snowy sections and I had to give myself a talking to at one point to settle my nerves. The whole risk thing was something we were very aware of. We made sure we could get back down the way we came up, in case our planned circular route had snowy sections we weren’t happy with, and while a slip could have been very serious, if not worse, by being extremely careful we felt the actual probability wasn’t much different from being hit by a car – something we run the risk of every day.
From the col we had a wonderful ridge walk to the main summit and then we made our way down one of the shoulders or buttresses before dropping into the glen adjacent to the Hidden Valley.
We had lots of snack stops, admiring the view stops, checking out the best route stops, and talked pretty much non-stop!
When we got back down we stopped at the Clachaig for some pub grub and a quick drink and then headed back home to our long-suffering families. It was fun to pop into the Clachaig. I’ve spent many an evening there, usually after a long day in the hills, and it holds lots of fond (tho’ maybe a bit fuzzy!) memories. This was a slightly, actually much, more civilised visit but still fun.
It was lovely to spend some time with the family yesterday. Altho’ 4 hours with Finn at a mini rugby tournament was stretching my motherly patience just a little. Finn had a wonderful time with his friends, scored a few tries and generally had good-fun 7 year old boy style.
Both boys love their mini rugby. East Lothian, and the Borders, is a funny little Scottish rugby hot spot – it’s not played much anywhere else in Scotland. But in our town it’s the main sport and people from all walks of life play. My dad and brothers played for the local team – I remember watching my dad when I was little and I’ve spent years supporting my brothers who have only recently stopped – and its lovely to see my boys becoming part of the club but of course if they grow out of it that’s fine. At the moment Islay wants to play when she is old enough. It’s good way to learn ball skills and teamwork but I have to admit, sexist as it is, I’d really rather she stopped when it gets to the contact (tackling) stage in Primary 4. I can’t really explain sensibly why I feel this way – anyway it will be up to her. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what she wants to do.
I do hope you all had a good weekend and that your week has started well.
I took these photos with my phone. I decided to be lazy and not carry our ‘proper’ camera. While it is a good digital SLR (my skills don’t really do it justice) its a bit of a pain to cart around. I recently got a new phone and the main reason was to get one which would take reasonable pictures. I don’t think these are as good quality as I’d have got with the camera but they’re not too bad.