Consider Glencoe, Scotland, filled to the brim with jagged peaks and Scottish charm, for your short highland adventure.
1. The adventurous traveller’s paradise.
Bidean nam Bian (1,150 m), Stob Dearg (1,022 m) and Aaonach Eagach (968 m), world class mountain hiking located 15 minutes from Glencoe village. Most of Glencoe’s trails start from laybys along the A82, although there are not many signs, so it is best to buy an OS map, or seek advice from the Glencoe visitors centre.
Stob Dearg is the gateway to Glencoe and one of the most photographed mountains in the UK, head down Glen Etive road to get the classic view of the mountain and the falls of the River Coupall.
Both Scottish weather and its mountains are wild, so make sure you check the weather and are well prepared.
2. Steeped in history.
Bloody massacres and lost valleys used to hide stolen livestock, Glencoe has a long and interesting history. The lost valley was used by Clan Macdonald to hide cattle; it is a short but scenic hike into the valley from a main layby on the A82.
Castle Stalker is a 30-minute drive from Glencoe village, built around 1320. It makes a striking picture sitting on a tidal islet, which is completely cut off from the mainland at high tide. Alternatively take a short-day trip to the Glenn Finnan viaduct, the famous railway line used in the Harry Potter films.
3. Food and drink aplenty
A pub is a quintessentially UK place and Glencoe has the Clachaig Inn. Located at the end of the Aonach Eagach ridge hike, you can recover over a pint and some traditional haggis, neaps and tatties. The inn has been running for over 300 years and has been owned and run by the same family since the 1980’s.
If the weather is foul then take an organised tour of a distillery, Oban Distillery is one of the oldest in Scotland. It has been producing malt whiskey since 1794 and is a scenic hour drive from Glencoe. Ferries to South Uist and Mull sail from Oban so it’s a good stopping point for further adventures.
4. Perfect for out of season travel
Scotland’s wee beasties (midges) rule the highlands during the summer, and there will also be swarms of tourists. Highland winters are cold and wet, but this makes autumn and spring the perfect time to travel.
In autumn the larches, birch and heather will paint the landscape a vivid palette of yellow, red and orange. Avoid the crowds and escape the midges by travelling during the quieter spring and autumn months.
5. Wildlife Haven
The highlands are one of Europe’s great wilderness areas and it is also home to the largest mammal in the UK, the red deer. If travelling in autumn be sure to keep a keen ear out for the bellowing of the stags during the rut. There are many healthy herds that occupy the glens around Glencoe.