Glen Coe is renowned across the world for its incredible dramatic landscapes which pretty much encapsulate the beauty of the Scottish Highlands in one incredible view. Surrounding the Glen itself, the mighty towering mountain that is Ben Nevis - Britain's highest mountain is indeed spectacular, but so are all the Highlands that never seem to end in this incredibly beautiful part of the UK.
In many ways it's easy to forget that you're still in Britain. Travelling through this region it's hard to believe that it's just sat there, so close to home and yet for so many Brits we live in blissfull ignorance to the beauty and pure majesty of the Scottish Highlands. True, we see adverts on the television and occasionally hear about a friend who got married there but until you take a sunset drive through these incredible mountain ranges, it's impossible to really appreciate just what we have here.
As someone fairly well travelled, I have seen my fair share of mountains. I've trekked the ancient path of the Incas through the Peruvian Andes, accidentally stumbled upon a mother bear defending her cubs in the Canadian Rockies and woken up to the rare glorious summit view of New Zealand's Mount Cook so it's probably fair to say that my expectations were low - it felt sort of like visiting a small local theme park after returning from Disney Land.
However, what I discovered on my journey through the Highlands was not just comparible to a small local theme park with a few rusty rides. As the setting suns rays bounced off the calm, still waters of a small mountain lake, I paused, closed my eyes, breathed deeply, soaking in the glorious, magical panorama that surrounded me and I could have been anywhere in the world. This place was far from a poor substitute to the worlds great mountainous landscapes, this was an incredible, healing place of total beauty that brought life to the soul and peace to your whole body.
The Glen Coe visitor centre is a great attraction that has had a lot of thought and money put into it. For the best 'traditional' view of the glen you need to enter the visitor centre to be able to see it. This costs a few pounds but entry is free with a Historic Scotland pass. The centre tells the story of the highlands, the history, the geography, the geology and interactive displays help you to understand the magnitude of what it is that lies before you.
The history of the region is a long, bloody and fascinating one. The famous masacre of Glen Coe took place in 1692 in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of the Jacobite uprising. Many historic Scottish battles have been recreated for the big screen around the Glen Coe area. One of the most of famous of these is the story of William Wallace as told by Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Rob Roy also used the area for filming a fair bit of the movies more memorable scenes.
The actual Glen itself has barely changed for centuries where many mountains are constantly changing with the weather, natural erosion and through the movement of the plates beneath the great mountains. This Glen has been a favourite for photographers ever since the invention of the camera due to its picturesque beauty so it's easy to see that little has changed over the years apart from the people and subjects in the photographs themselves.
Heading south from the town of Fort William, you drive through the great Glen and then up to higher views. Here you will find great valleys and plenty of beautiful small lakes. Although there are not many places to pull over here, it feels somehow wrong not to stop the car and go and sit yourself on the banks of a lake, soaking in the beauty, watching the local wildlife fumble and play together. The Highlands of Scotland are wholly unspoiled, with no ugly buildings and very few buildings, shops or houses trying to cash in on the visitors who are fortunate enough to see this incredible part of the world.
If you are taking a trip to the UK, particuarly a Great British Trip, I can't recommend highly enough that you make sure that Fort William and Glen Coe are on your itinerary. Even without a car, we can arrange a day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow, taking this very same route through the Highlands and up to Loch Ness before heading back down to Edinburgh. If you have a hire car or driver, from Fort William you can take the famous Jacobite Train (Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express Viaduct - you know the one!) journey through the incredible Highlands as well as visit many other attractions in the area. To see what else is available and find out more, have a look here at the Fort William destination page.
By Ruth Lancey
Date: 2017-11-28 13:17:36