This is pretty much going to be one big Glencoe photo-fest. It is an absolutely beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands. The journey to it is beautiful, the stop offs are beautiful and the destination is beautiful. This was one of our big things to see on our list this time and our aim was just to drive about and see it all. I think you could spend a good 24 hours or more there if you wanted to doing all the walks. There are a lot of scenic (long and short) routes you can do and you can see large groups of people all wrapped up and on a good ramble. We decided we would do as much as we could from the warmth of our car and we still managed to see a lot.
Our Route and journey there
We set off from where we were staying in Loch Awe and I immediately had a bit of a little panic. We hadn’t realised 3G would be so patchy in the rural bits of Argyll and I hadn’t mapped out which route we were going to take so we were a bit stuck. Lucky for us, reception eventually came back and we had to wing a route very quickly. We decided to drive along the coast as much as we could so that we could get some views of Loch Linnhe. You can see from the map that there’s two main routes you can take and ours was slightly longer. It’s well worth it though.
Arriving at Glencoe
It’s a Glen of volcanic origins and is named after the river Coe which runs through it. It used to belong to the Donalds clan but got sold off over time and now belongs to the Scottish National trust. You’ll see plenty of signs on the way to points of interest so it’s easy to make a quick diversion if you suddenly fancy it. Some famous movies that have been filmed here include Harry Potter and prisoner of Azkaban and Skyfall. I think I may have to watch both again soon!
It dates all the way back to the ice age and, apparently, it’s a U shaped Glen. I had no idea what that meant, even when I was there, and half expected to have a view of the Glen coming back on itself. But there you go! If you do happen to find yourselves mapless without Google maps or 3G then it’s fairly easy to just put in “Glencoe village” into your sat-nav and follow where it takes you. It’s a very safe journey on excellent roads (I was half expecting beaten down A roads as we got higher into the hills) even through the Glens and there are plenty of large and safe laybys and car parks where you can park up, jump out and admire the views, and of course take hundreds of photos). This is exactly what we did. The toddler snoozed away happily in the warmth and missed the entire thing but it was so cold the day we went that it worked out perfectly. Little Z had a bit of a fearless run about and kept hopping higher and higher up like a little Tigger, whilst his very unfit mother huffed and puffed after him. I even made an Instastory of my climb up that I decided not to post as it was just me on it with a chattery jaw looking like I might pass out. Not attractive really.
I’d recommend you wrap up warm though. I foolishly wore my mac and hat and it did the job fine until I started walking higher on the hills. A lot of the mountains are snow-capped and you can really feel the wind chill once you’re up there. Don’t be me, wear a warm coat!
If you’re a keen walker then you can spot some of the iconic valleys and mountains. Some you can recognise instantly like the Glencoe pass, some have romantic Gaelic names like Gearr Aonachc, and some not so romantic, like the Devils staircase.
After about two hours, Little Z and I decided we really needed to get back in the car and warm up and the toddler needed to stretch his legs a bit. The Other Half (who is more trigger happy than me), was still climbing different hills and mountains and at one point we spotted a little spec of a man taking yet another photo of yet another mountain. I took this last one from inside my car and its now one of my favourites.
I think I’d definitely go back once the boys are slightly older and explore a bit more and do some of the walks. I would have liked to have climbed higher but we need to come back with the right gear for it. We finished our Glencoe trip by driving through Ballachulish (so pretty!) where we found a restaurant called the Gathering Inn and enjoyed some very nice fish and chips and mushy peas (and I do love my fish and chips).
Glencoe was an amazing visit and I’ve since been watching a programme about walkers and climbers exploring the different parts of Glencoe. It looks huge and I think you could spend days and days seeing new things. The great thing about it is that you can spend the day there as a family too with little kiddies (as long you wrap up warm!) and we really loved it. We’d started seeing signs for Inverness by the time we reached Glencoe and it was so tempting to pop in and have a look. I think that might be the problem with road trips, there’s a real risk you’ll just carry on driving. Once we realised the drive back to our holiday park from Inverness would be over 3 hours we snapped out of it and decided it’s a good reason to come back next time.