Hiking Scotland: Aonach Eagach, Lost Valley, and Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe

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Had a pretty special weekend camping and hiking in Glencoe, Scotland in the first three days of September. I’ve been to some amazing places in the world (and done some great hiking in Scotland), and this one is definitely up at the top. If you like the outdoors at all, this one should be on your bucket list.

The original plan (a long time ago) was that my brother-in-law and I would go to France for a long weekend to hike in the Alps, but the world conspired against us and we had to “settle” for a local trip. So, we decided to spend two nights camping and hiking in Glencoe and in the end this proved to be the ultimate in hiking trips.

glencoe valley hikes day 1 and 2

On day one we hiked the Aonach Eagach (hear the pronunciation here, I’m still not sure). It’s essentially the entire ridge of Glencoe on the north and is surely one of the most fabled hikes in all of the UK, being the “narrowest ridge on the British mainland” which “gives a thrilling and spectacular traverse for keen and experienced scramblers, linking the Munros of Meall Dearg and Sgòrr nam Fiannaidh. […] it involves probably the trickiest scrambling on any Walkhighlands route.” We did a long circular route through Glencoe and over the ridge and it was everything you would expect from the aforementioned description; scarier and trickier than I realized (three people dies a couple of months ago). The weather was perfect for us and the fact that it was so challenging made it all the better. So glad to have done it.

One day two we set our sites on The Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail in Scottish Gaelic), which is a massive flat plain up in the mountains, hidden from view when driving through Glencoe, in between the a set of huge-looking mountains called the Three Sisters. It’s known as being the place where the MacDonald clan hid their rustled cattle (the same clan slain in the Glencoe masssacre). Bidean nam Bian is the name for the range of mountains that include the Three Sisters, the mountains that face the valley, which include a set of higher peaks that lie just behind. We did a fantastic circular hike that included The Lost Valley and the highest peak of Bidean nam Bian. The weather was kind of typical for Scotland on this day, but it only added to the spooky aura of the valley and it was epic.

Topping off the hiking days were the nights spent camping at the Red Squirrel campground, with a river to swim in after a long day on the hills, and the Clachaig Inn pub just a half mile walk down the single track road.

There might be a better weekend adventure to be had, but I can’t imagine what it would be.

Here are the routes we took:

Download file for GPS
Download file for GPS

Here is my Garmin tracker from the hikes:

Comments welcome!

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