In 2013, Glen Coe is perhaps best introduced as the setting for that epic scene from the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, in which Daniel Craig and Judi Dench are stood at the side of the road gazing thoughtfully into the distance beside the now iconic Aston Martin. Many parts of the blockbuster were filmed in and around Glen Coe, a Scottish jewel.
It’s also the site of the Massacre of Glencoe, a bloody event in 1692 which saw many members of the local MacDonald clan killed for avoiding to pledge allegiance to William and Mary.
On your average day, Glen Coe is a prime destination for hillwalkers and winter sports aficionados. The famous West Highland Way snakes through its valleys and across the mountains. Other paths join it along the way, some of which are less taxing than others. So, you’ll find something appropriate for all levels, provided you’re suitably kitted out in walking shoes and outdoor gear.
Last weekend, we saw a family with three children braving the Devil’s Staircase path on a cold winter’s day with knee-deep snow in parts. I’d never seen happier or healthier kids, all wrapped up in wind and rainproof clothing, and wearing protective goggles to shield their eyes from the face-slapping snow.
For a less extreme adventure, you might want to visit during the spring or summer months. Views are less likely to be obstructed by rain, snow and fog.
Expect stunning mountain views dotted with the occasional tree, a fair few rocks, streams and quaint old cottages. Deer and rams are also commonplace and can be friendly.
Visit the deer family that likes to hang out outside the Kings House Hotel, a 17th century inn which I can personally recommend for food and lodgings. The hotel gathers travellers from all walks of life and even has a token Aussie seasonal worker manning the bar.
Dig into warming Scottish classics like haggis, poached salmon and curry. Yes, you can have curry in the Highlands. Curry in the Highlands! Nothing quite like it after a day on the slopes at Glencoe Mountain Resort or hiking in the hills.
(Wintry photos by Grafyte)