27th – 28th July 2016
Leaving the Lake District we were full of excitement and eagerness for the journey ahead. Myself, Ben and Jake were headed to the Isle of Skye for a week, breaking the journey and spending around 24 hours in Glen Coe.
Driving up through Scotland to the Highlands is an amplifying journey, with your anticipation growing the further North you get. The early part of the journey is much like any other, with large distances covered on Motorways and A-roads, but then you get past Glasgow and the landscape really opens up. Loch Lomond is where you feel that the adventure is starting; the road starts getting smaller, the huge loch stretches on for over 20 miles on one side, and the hills around you change from the rolling lowlands into the stunning highlands.
Reaching Glen Coe never fails to stop you in your tracks. Every lay-by is stacked with cars; people pulling over at every opportunity to absorb the landscape. I’d recommend adding 30-60 minutes onto any car journey you make through Glen Coe, as you’re guaranteed to be stopping at least a couple of times.
We reached our campsite in a small patch of woodland just off the main road. We wandered through the woodland with our bags and tent, finding the most secluded and wild spot for camp – on the edge of the woodland, on the edge of a large mountain river, with full panoramic views of the mountains. We sat stunned at the views whilst eating our dinner, commenting on the beauty of the campsite. What we were yet to learn is that this would be the only official campsite we would use on the trip, and the locations were only going to get better.
The following day we woke early, as we planned to get up into the hills before spending the afternoon driving the rest of the way to Skye. We’d spoken to a Dutch couple the previous night in the pub about a walk to the Lost Valley, which sounded stunning and yet also achievable within our time frame. The valley was formed when a landslip blocked the advance of the glacier from the top of the valley. The glacier then melted, creating a loch, which then slowly drained away leaving a flat area of rock and silt. More recently, the area was used by Clan Donald of Glen Coe as a hidden pasture to graze cattle.
The path up to the Lost Valley is a narrow climb alongside a river, lined with waterfalls a huge slabs of rock. Upon reaching the shoulder of the climb the world opens up and you are faced with a large flat valley surrounded by jagged peaks. The name ‘Lost Valley’ or ‘Hidden Valley’ is really true, as you are completely unaware of its presence until you are right upon it.
The car park we departed from was lined with cars and coaches, with people getting out of their tour buses posing for photos and waving selfie-sticks around. Up here, that felt a million miles away, and I gained a lot of satisfaction having ventured away from the tourist car parks and experiencing the hills for myself