Places to visit in United Kingdom

Glencoe Natural Reaserve of Jul 15, 2023


Half-Day Road Trip Through Scenic Scotland

1. The Viewpoint near Loch Tulla Start your journey at the picturesque viewpoint near Loch Tulla. This spot offers breathtaking panoramic views of the loch and the surrounding mountains, making it a perfect place to soak in the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

2. Glen Etive Road: The 'James Bond Road' Next, drive along the iconic Glen Etive Road, famously featured in the James Bond movie "Skyfall." This scenic route runs alongside Scotland's River Etive, providing stunning landscapes and numerous opportunities for photography and short walks. The winding road and dramatic scenery make it a memorable part of your trip.

3. The River Coe Continue your journey to the River Coe, where you can appreciate the serene and powerful flow of the river as it cuts through the valley. The river's clear waters and surrounding greenery offer a tranquil experience.

4. Three Sisters Viewpoint Head to the Three Sisters Viewpoint for one of the most iconic vistas in Scotland. The towering peaks of the Three Sisters are a sight to behold, with their rugged beauty and mist-covered summits. This viewpoint provides a fantastic opportunity to capture the essence of Glencoe.

5. Hidden Valley Finally, make your way to the Hidden Valley (Coire Gabhail). The hike to the Hidden Valley is an adventure in itself. Be sure to prepare for the crossing of a stream along the way. The stream can be cold, and you may need to wade through it or step across slippery stones. It's essential to bring waterproof, high boots or a spare pair of shoes to change into after the crossing. This point, marked as location number 18 on this guide, requires particular attention to footwear to ensure a comfortable and safe journey.

This half-day road trip through Scotland will leave you with unforgettable memories of stunning landscapes, serene rivers, and the unique charm of the Highlands. Enjoy your adventure and take in the natural wonders at each stop.

Languages: EN
Author & Co-authors
Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
62.43 km
5h 26 m
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Loch Tulla is a scenic body of water located in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It lies near the junction of the A82 and the A83, in the midst of some of Scotland's most stunning landscapes.

Situated within the Scottish Highlands, Loch Tulla is surrounded by dramatic mountains, forests, and glens. The area is renowned for its natural beauty and is a popular spot for photographers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. The viewpoint near Loch Tulla offers spectacular panoramic views of the loch and the surrounding area, making it a perfect stop for those traveling through the region.

The nearby Glencoe and Rannoch Moor are also popular destinations, offering additional opportunities for outdoor exploration and photography. Whether you're interested in hiking, fishing, or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery, Loch Tulla and its surroundings have much to offer.

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The Mountaineers Cairn at the Loch Tulla viewpoint is a memorial dedicated to members of the Creagh Dhu Mountaineering Club, a group known for their pioneering climbing efforts. Positioned overlooking the beautiful Loch Tulla in the Scottish Highlands, the cairn offers a peaceful spot to reflect while enjoying panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The name "Loch Tulla" comes from the Gaelic language, although the exact meaning of the name is not definitively known; "loch" is a Gaelic word for a lake or fjord, but the origin of "Tulla" is less clear.

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The River Etive flows through Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands, known for its stunning landscapes of deep valleys and towering mountains. The name "Etive" is believed to be derived from the Old Gaelic word meaning "little ugly one," a name that contrasts sharply with the river's breathtaking beauty. The road that runs alongside the River Etive, Glen Etive Road, has been famously nicknamed the "James Bond Road" after its appearance in the Bond film "Skyfall," where a memorable scene with Daniel Craig's Bond was shot. This cinematic connection has only added to the allure of the location, drawing fans and tourists alike to drive this iconic route. The road offers spectacular views of the river, glen, and surrounding mountains, capturing the quintessential rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

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The Etive River, known in Gaelic as "Abhainn Eadh," gets its name from the Gaelic word "eadh," meaning "a gush or rush of water." This name perfectly encapsulates the river's lively character as it winds through the heart of the Scottish Highlands, carving its way through the breathtaking Glen Etive.

Glen Etive is rich in history, once home to the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe. This clan's storied past includes the infamous Glencoe Massacre of 1692, adding historical depth to the region's natural beauty. The glen's landscapes have witnessed centuries of history, echoing the enduring connection between the land and its people.

The Glen Etive road, a narrow, winding path, invites travellers into a world of scenic wonder. This route, often called the "James Bond road," gained fame from its appearance in the 2012 film "Skyfall." In the movie, James Bond and M drive along this very road, showcasing the dramatic beauty of Glen Etive and turning it into a must-visit location for film fans and nature enthusiasts alike.

Driving down the Glen Etive road, visitors are treated to some of Scotland's most stunning scenery. Towering mountains loom on either side, and the tranquil River Etive flows alongside, reflecting the surrounding peaks. The landscape is a pristine, untouched expanse, offering a sense of solitude and peace.

At the heart of this scenic glen lies a charming wooden bridge spanning the River Etive. Unlike modern structures, this wooden bridge blends seamlessly with the natural surroundings, enhancing the glen's rustic charm. With the river flowing gently beneath and the majestic mountains standing sentinel, the bridge provides an ideal vantage point to soak in the area's serene beauty. The simplicity of the bridge, set against the unspoiled wilderness, creates a picturesque scene that captures the essence of the Scottish Highlands—raw, beautiful, and timeless.

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The Three Sisters of Glencoe are a trio of stunning ridges that form part of the Bidean Nam Bian mountain massif, located in the heart of the Glencoe Visitor Centre and near the Hidden Valley car park. These ridges, named Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach, and Aonach Dubh, create a breathtaking landscape that is both dramatic and serene.

You can witness the sheer grandeur of the Three Sisters from the vantage points at the Hidden Valley car park. The view encompasses steep, rugged cliffs and verdant slopes that descend into the valley below. This area is a favourite among hikers and photographers.

The geology of the Three Sisters and the surrounding area has been shaped over millions of years. The dramatic landscapes result from ancient volcanic activity and extensive glaciation during the Ice Ages. The glaciers carved out the deep valleys and sharp ridges, leaving behind a rugged terrain characterized by cliffs and narrow gorges. The Hidden Valley, or Coire Gabhail, is a prime example of a glacially-formed hanging valley nestled between the ridges of the Three Sisters.

Erosion and weathering continue to shape the landscape, with the elements gradually wearing down the rock formations. The result is a dynamic, ever-changing environment showcasing natural forces' raw power.

Visitors can explore trails that offer different perspectives of the Three Sisters and the Hidden Valley. The trails vary in difficulty, from gentle walks to more challenging hikes, allowing everyone to experience the beauty of Glencoe. The Hidden Valley trail, in particular, leads into a secluded valley that historically served as a hiding place for cattle during times of clan conflict, adding a layer of historical intrigue to the natural splendour.

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The Three Sisters of Glencoe, part of the Bidean nam Bian mountain massif, have names rooted in Gaelic, each reflecting aspects of the landscape:

  1. Beinn Fhada (Long Hill): "Beinn" means "hill" or "mountain," and "Fhada" means "long." This name describes the ridge's extended, sweeping form.
  2. Gearr Aonach (Short Ridge): "Gearr" means "short," and "Aonach" translates to "ridge" or "steep path." This ridge is notable for its shorter, more compact appearance compared to the others.
  3. Aonach Dubh (Black Ridge): "Aonach" again means "ridge," and "Dubh" translates to "black." This name likely refers to the ridge's darker rock or shadowed appearance.

The name "Three Sisters" is a relatively modern moniker, appearing in the late 19th to early 20th century as tourism to the Highlands increased. This picturesque name helps to personify the ridges and make them more memorable to visitors.

The most familiar tales surrounding the Three Sisters are often intertwined with the rich folklore of the Glencoe region. One famous story is that each sister represents a maiden from Clan MacDonald, whose lands encompassed the Glencoe area. These tales often involve themes of love, loss, and loyalty, reflecting the turbulent history of the clan and the region.

Another well-known legend speaks of the Hidden Valley (Coire Gabhail), nestled behind the Three Sisters. According to local lore, this valley was used by Clan MacDonald to hide their cattle from raiders. The valley's mysterious and secluded nature adds intrigue and adventure to the stories associated with the Three Sisters.

These legends and the evocative names contribute to the mystique and allure of the Three Sisters, drawing visitors eager to explore Glencoe's natural beauty and storied past.

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One of the most captivating tales linked to the Three Sisters of Glencoe involves the Hidden Valley (Coire Gabhail) and the MacDonald clan. According to legend, the MacDonald clan used this secluded valley to hide their cattle from raiders and enemy clans. This practice was especially crucial during conflict and clan feuds, such as those between the MacDonalds and the Campbells.

The Three Sisters' folklore adds a layer of mystical allure to the landscape. The ridges are said to represent three daughters of a Highland chieftain.

One particularly poignant story tells of a young maiden from the MacDonald clan who fell in love with a rival clan member. Their forbidden love led them to seek refuge in the Hidden Valley, away from their families' prying eyes and disapproval. Despite their efforts, they were eventually discovered, and the lovers met a tragic end. This tale of star-crossed lovers adds a touch of romantic sorrow to the already dramatic scenery of the Three Sisters and the Hidden Valley.

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Stob Coire Sgreamhach is a peak with a name rooted in the Gaelic language. "Stob" translates to "peak" or "point," "Coire" means "corrie" or "hollow," and "Sgreamhach" can be translated to "terrifying" or "dreadful." Thus, the name Stob Coire Sgreamhach roughly means "Peak of the Terrifying Corrie," reflecting the dramatic and imposing nature of the landscape surrounding this summit. Stob Coire Sgreamhach is a prominent peak within the Bidean nam Bian massif, standing at 1,072 meters (3,517 feet). Descending towards the Coe River bed, we can see this peak on the opposite side.

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The River Coe, known in Gaelic as "Abhainn Comhann," flows through the dramatic Glencoe valley in the Scottish Highlands. The name "Coe" is believed to have derived from the Gaelic word "Comhan," which means "narrow" or "confined," aptly describing the river's passage through the steep, rugged terrain of Glencoe. Another interpretation is that the name comes from "Con," meaning "dog," possibly referring to a legendary figure from the Macdonald clan associated with the area.

The River Coe and its surrounding landscape provided a lifeline and a refuge for the clan throughout their history. Its waters supported their cattle and agriculture, which were essential for survival in the harsh Highland environment. The river also served as a natural defence barrier, with its steep banks and fast-flowing waters making it difficult for enemies to traverse.

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Signal Rock, also known as Tom a' Ghrianain (Hill of the Sun), is steeped in legend and historical significance. According to local folklore, Signal Rock was the site where the signal was given to start the infamous Glencoe Massacre on the morning of February 13, 1692. This tragic event saw members of the MacDonald clan being slaughtered by government troops who had been quartered with them under the guise of friendly hospitality. Legend holds that the signal to commence the massacre was given from this high vantage point, although historical evidence to support this specific detail is sparse. Signal Rock served multiple purposes historically, including as an assembly point for the MacDonalds in times of emergency and possibly as a beacon point for signalling danger.

Gazing upon Signal Rock evokes a profound sense of awe and tranquility. The towering, mist-kissed slopes draped in vibrant green seem to whisper ancient secrets, inviting contemplation and connection with nature. The sheer majesty of the landscape, combined with the serene atmosphere, creates a feeling of timelessness and peace, as if the rock itself stands as a guardian of the valley’s enduring beauty and mystery.

The path leading up the slope is both breathtakingly beautiful and slightly perilous, winding its way over slippery basalt stones. As you ascend, the trail reveals stunning vistas, inviting you to uncover the history of the people who once made their home in this awe-inspiring glen. Before Jacobite loyalties and the Clearances saw them replaced with sheep and deer, this land was a living testament to the resilience and spirit of its inhabitants.

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Standing at the foot of this winding path, a mixture of awe and trepidation washes over you. The rugged trail, lined with slippery basalt stones, beckons you upwards with promises of unparalleled beauty and hidden history. The steep ascent is both challenging and exhilarating, as each step brings you closer to panoramic views that unveil the serene yet powerful landscape of Glencoe. The atmosphere is thick with the echoes of the past, whispering tales of the people who once thrived in this glen before Jacobite loyalties and the Clearances transformed the land. This journey is not just a physical climb, but a poignant exploration of resilience and change amidst the wild, untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

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The stream before us continues its journey, ultimately flowing into the River Coe and then into Loch Achtriochtan. The name "Achtriochtan" is believed to originate from old Gaelic words meaning "field" or "place of the three woods" or "valley of the three streams." This name reflects the loch's historical and geographical significance, likely referring to the area's lush woodlands and multiple watercourses that converge in the valley. The serene waters of Loch Achtriochtan, fed by the River Coe, create a picturesque and tranquil landscape that encapsulates the natural beauty and rich history of the Scottish Highlands.

Water flows from all directions, and one must be very observant and sensitive to discern the three main streams that form the loch in the valley below. These streams converge to create the serene waters of Loch Achtriochtan, each contributing to the loch's tranquil beauty and historical significance.

Looking at this crystal-clear, pristine water, one realizes why Scottish whisky is unique. Nowhere else can you find water of such purity, which contributes to the exceptional quality and distinct character of the whisky made in Scotland?

The landscape is unique, with ferns growing against the backdrop of massive rocky cliffs, evoking thoughts of a lost world. Imagining how such scenery could inspire English writers to create their timeless novels is easy.

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We've reached the most intriguing part of the route, but we couldn't overcome it. Here, we need to cross a stream with icy water. It's too wide to step over dry and too shallow to jump across safely without getting wet. Continuing with wet feet is quite risky. For this reason, we couldn't reach the viewpoint of the hidden valley, just a few hundred meters away. I advise everyone to equip themselves with a second pair of shoes or waterproof, high boots for crossing the stream.

Returning to the valley along the River Coe is a true pleasure after completing the route. When there and all planned and unplanned adventures are behind us, it’s a moment of true relaxation. You can lie in the grass and enjoy the serenity, which is incredibly delightful.

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This plant is beautiful and delicate—a valid reward and joy for any traveller. This striking plant was once believed to belong to the orchid family, but later doubts led to its scientific naming as Dactylorhiza. This particular flower thrives in the north and especially in Scandinavia. Its presence here reveals much about this place's climate and beauty. Typically, it grows in mossy bogs, wet meadows, occasionally in damp forests, shrub thickets, along the banks of water bodies, in industrial areas, and sometimes in the wet bottoms of old limestone quarries and ravines.

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As we climb back up to the parking area, a magnificent view of the River Coe reopens before us, with the distant loch into which it flows. The peaks of the Three Sisters are still shrouded in dense mist, and clouds gather above the valley. At our feet, the thistle—the symbol of Scotland—stands proud.

The thistle became the symbol of Scotland due to a legendary event. According to the tale, during a surprise night attack by Norse invaders, one of the barefoot Vikings stepped on a thistle. His cry of pain alerted the Scots to the invasion, allowing them to prepare and repel the attackers. This small, spiky plant has since been revered as a symbol of protection and resilience.

The connections between the Vikings and Scotland have numerous historical ties and influences. The name "Three Sisters" faintly echoes the Norwegian "Three Sisters" waterfall, although they refer to different landscapes and locations. This resemblance in names reminds us of these northern lands' rich and intertwined histories.

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The Clachaig Inn is a renowned landmark in Glencoe's heart, offering a warm and welcoming haven for weary travellers descending from the mountains. Known for its cosy atmosphere, delicious food, and friendly service, the inn is a central hub for the entire valley.

Hours of Operation: - Monday to Sunday: 12:00 PM - 11:00 PM

The Clachaig Inn is the perfect place to relax and recharge, providing a delightful dining experience in a charming and tidy setting. Whether you're seeking a hearty meal or a refreshing drink, this inn ensures a satisfying and soulful retreat for all visitors.

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