The Pass of Glen Coe
We woke to overcast weather patterns and the chance of rain, but not letting that dampen our enthusiasm, Jim and I head further north into the pass of Glen Coe. Along the way, Jim explained to me how climbers in Scotland have given classification names to various mountains reaching above certain elevations with the Munroes representing peaks above 3000 feet, and then below that level the Corbetts, Donalds and Grahams. We weren’t about to capture any of peaks on this particular day but it was interesting to talk about the various groups out to bag all of the Munroes or all of the Corbetts, etc. Very similar to the 46’er clubs of the Adirondack Mountains closer to my home.
From above, the pass at Glen Coe drops down toward the sea through some pretty rugged country. A road winds through the pass and had been upgraded somewhat since the last time that I had visited the area a number of years ago. It is still a very popular tourist destination, and as is typical for all Scottish roads, I still find it amazing that such a narrow roadway could handle such a volume of traffic especially with many a driver gawking at the beautiful scenery in predictable tourist fashion.
Despite my headache from the tumble while hiking the day before, I agreed with Jim that it might be nice to take a leisurely climb up one of the mountain paths that led up toward the cloud shrouded peaks. It was none too warm, with some snow patches still visible in the higher reaches, and we didn’t have detailed maps of the area so we agreed, before leaving the parking lot, that we would not go off of the basic well-worn tourist trails, would come back down immediately at the sign of any adverse weather, and would not climb any higher than the lower edge of the clouds. Sounded like a sensible arrangement given the circumstances and it didn’t look like we would have to climb too high to reach the clouds.
While we were climbing up the more pedestrian way, others were taking the more direct route and scaling the cliffs.
Zooming in on the little branches 3/4 of the way up and presto there’s a human.
As we continued to climb higher up our path, the temperature cooled and we donned jackets for a bit of warmth. Meanwhile, the skies cleared a bit and the lower edges of the clouds moved higher up so we kept on going upward one step at a time.
Looking back across the pass we could even begin to see a few rays of sunshine breaking through and, from time to time, we could look up ahead and see the snow pack that was still up there feeding the stream that was now passing by a distance below our path.
On a good day, I would have been really interested in following the path all the way up to the base of the snow but with the parking lot now out of sight and the temperature quite cool, it wasn’t long before Jim and I agreed that this was one trail that would remain as a challenge for another day. As I stood on the trail looking out over the flatter areas of these mini valleys, I tried to imagine what it would have been like for the survivors of the Battle of Glen Coe to, first of all, escape into these hills and then survive in the limited shelter from the wintry blasts that the hills might have provided. Definitely not easy to imagine, given our comfortable modern day accommodations.
On the way up to Glen Coe, we passed this point and I saw only the sign, “See the Castle Stalker”, not the castle. I wondered at the time what it was exactly that they were promoting as a tourist attraction! Heading south on our way back to our caravan park, the object of the promotion was more clearly seen. This view is from the north. For more information:
After a day of climbing in the Glen Coe area, we headed back to our caravan location and I noticed this sign when we stopped for gas. I was getting hungry, but haggis was not on my menu :-).