Hiking to a Hidden Valley
Claire and I took our friend Leilani into the highlands on Saturday. Leilani said she wanted to see some dramatic Scottish landscapes, so we brought her to Glencoe.
Glencoe is one of Scotland’s most famous landscapes. Paintings and photographs of this dramatic valley evoke a sense of desolate wildness. In truth, Glencoe is very accessible. One of Scotland’s main highways runs through the glen. The drive from Edinburgh to most of the West Coast takes you through Glencoe.
But Scottish highways aren’t like Canadian highways. Most of them are two-land roads that meander through mountains and valleys. As soon as we exited the roadway toward the gorge that cuts through Glencoe, we lost sight of the road, and the sound of passing cars and trucks faded under the sound of rushing rapids.
Three imposing peaks, called the “Three Sisters,” form Glasgow’s most famous landmark. Our hike took us up between two of the three sisters, leading to a beautiful hidden valley.
We made a long, steady climb over rocky ground, following a rushing stream. Scotland offered trademark dreary weather, with low-lying clouds raveling and unraveling around the mountains and a steady drizzle dampening the ground under our feet.
At the top of the path, a completely secluded valley opened ahead of us, cradled between the dramatic mountain cliffs. We stopped to drink from a mountain stream that fed cloud water directly into our hands.
On the walk back down, we sat on the slope of the mountain for a picnic, taking in the full vista of Glencoe.←