We all have that one place. You know the one that gives you goosebumps, stops you dead in your tracks or puts a lump in your throat? For many reasons this can happen and most of the time it is totally without warning. Scotland seems to stop me in my tracks most days with it’s beauty but here follows the tale of my first ever visit to Scotland and Glen Coe.
The Dude had been coming up to Scotland since he was a young lad with the Scouts and then as he grew older, with friends. He had lots of stories of mountains, climbing, camping, long walks and hitch hiking. I didn’t have a clue what he was on about and so in 2009 we planned a trip. We booked a caravan outside of Fort William as our base and I excitedly researched the area, walks we could do, places to visit etc, all the normal stuff. In a wave of excitement about two weeks before our holiday, I announced “I want to climb the Ben.” Which was promptly met with the voice of reason “I think you’d probably have to do some training first and it’s a bit late now.” My heart sank but I understood that I was no racing snake!
Back then we lived in a small market town in rural Herefordshire and so our trip to Fort William would be split into two with an over night stay in Carlisle. Super excited about the second leg of our trip, we crossed the border and through Dumfries and Galloway, Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Tyndrum and on to Rannoch Moor.
I remember ooo’ing and aahhhh’ing at the scenery as we crossed Rannoch Moor and like a smack in the face with a wet fish there was Buachaille Etive Mor. It was love at first sight. We pulled over and I just took in the fresh air, although slightly damp because of course it had been raining! At the time I felt like I was on a film set, it didn’t feel real. And technically I was on many film sets: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rob Roy, Braveheart and Highlander, to name but a few. So it felt vaguely familiar.
From here we used as many parking places as we needed to, to allow us to admire the views without holding up the traffic. The obligatory photo stop at Black Rock Cottage, even though my photo skills weren’t up to much back then.
Driving through the glen you feel so insignificant. These magnificent mountains rising above you, extinct volcanoes and an ice age will definitely shape a landscape and as usual nature has done a grand job.
Along the road at the Three Sisters we stop again and the Dude regales me with “big days out” and points at ridges and crevasses that make me wince but put a huge smile on his face.
Sadly I have only ever driven through Glen Coe as a means to get to somewhere else and not spent any time exploring properly. This is on my (ever growing) list of things to do in Scotland but maybe I should bump it up nearer the top.
Just last week after the first snow I suggested we have a little road trip to Glen Coe for photos and “just because” it wouldn’t be taking us seven hours to get here either! Packed lunch, flask of soup, camera, tripod and my new super schmexy Billingham bag – good to go. Two and a half hours later and there she was, the Beuchle in all her glory with a coating of snow.
With exactly the same feelings as previous visits, this place is magical and you can see why it attracts so many visitors and photographers at all times of the year. On this occasion there were two other ‘togs taking photos of Black Rock cottage and so I ventured further back to get a slightly different aspect. As it happens, I found out later, one of these photographers is one I follow on Instagram.
I patiently waited for my turn at the cottage and decided to document my new bag and it’s first outing (don’t judge me).
Like I said, I still have an awful lot to learn about Glen Coe – history, geology and the beautiful walks and maybe even some “big days out” but I will tell you something for nothing I love it here and just looking at these photos makes me want to go now! Oh and if you are wondering if we did climb Ben Nevis – Yes we did (she say’s proudly), but that is another story.
I know after reading my post you will want to go explore it for yourselves and you should read the post from Smidge. Its full of walking routes, great photos and history. It is definitely love, from Scotland. If you have any suggestions of walks or things I should see when I do get to Glen Coe then let me know in the comments below.
**For those of you new to my blog the Dude is my partner in adventures and my best friend**