Glencoe to Loch Chiarain Bothy: Scottish Adventure Part 3

Without a doubt, Glencoe is one of the most beautiful places I have been to. I always feel a bit guilty I’ve not travelled up there before. It’s not that I have not had the time or opportunity to visit this area but alternative destinations further afield seemed to have won me over. However now I’ve been up there I can tell you for a fact I’ll be back!

So to conclude the third part of my Scottish Adventures here is a short video on a very wet and windy trip from Glencoe to the Loch Chiarain Bothy…

If anyone would like to attempt this route (in better weather!) it can be download from ViewRanger – just look up Hetty Key. I will certainly be trying it again!

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Rewatching this video got me pondering the question – When is the right time to turn back? We read and hear a lot about mountain safety and sound mountain judgment, and while I understand this is not the Alps I don’t think any exposed area should be underestimated.

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With the benefit of hindsight, I am confident we made the right call turning back. It wasn’t the decision I wanted to make, and we were carrying enough equipment to stay safely in the bothy, but 1. I am not convinced it would have been a fun night/morning trying to warm up only to put slightly frozen kit on and 2. The margin for error was too slim. One bad fall on route to the bothy / not being able to get warm enough quick enough and we could have been in trouble. It’s not worth it – there are always other occasions.

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On a less serious note, for me, there comes the point in these situations where the weather is so bad it just becomes comical! All the time we were in 7Stanes and Glencoe we saw no-one! The only exception was the odd tourist leaping out beside the A82 for a quick snap before returning to the safety of the tour bus! The conditions on the way back from the bothy fell into this ridiculous category – I can only describe it as cycling through a very powerful wave! There was a moment I got off the bike and hid behind a bush for 5 minutes as I simply couldn’t see anything in front of me. Oddly it only made the trip even more enjoyable and exciting.

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Despite the horrible conditions, I did get a glimpse of how spectacular this area is when the clouds lifted briefly on Friday. The contrast between the orange lowlands and valleys with the dark green woodland and white snow is breathtaking. One of the main things I wanted to do while I was out there was run the Aonach Eagach Ridge – the moment I saw it I found myself drawn to it. I was somewhat gutted it was out of the question the whole time we were there (90mph winds) – but it’s something to go back for. I can see how the Glencoe Skyline got the rave reviews it did. It was already on my list but I after this trip it’s well and truly cemented as a must do.

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My only parting note on this post is to say – make an effort to visit places in the UK. I will confess I didn’t until recently. But there is so much to see and do, it worth some proper consideration before you hop on a plane.

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