Walk of a life­time

Take an un­for­get­table stroll in the supreme loft of Glen Coe.

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS - WORDS AND MAPS JEREMY ASHCROFT

“Along the way you will climb past gorges and up nu­mer­ous cra­glets into a lofty moun­tain cirque”

Trav­el­ling through the Pass of Glen Coe gives you tan­ta­lis­ing glimpses of Bidean nam Bian, the high­est peak in the range. It is a com­plex moun­tain hid­den be­hind the com­bined might of the tow­er­ing but­tresses of the Three Sis­ters (Aonach Dubh, Gearr Aonach and Beinn Fhada) and the el­e­gant sum­mit pyra­mid of Stob Coire nan Lochan. To get to it you have ei­ther to climb these jagged peaks of the fore range or some­how cir­cum­vent them by nip­ping up one of the steep hang­ing val­leys that pen­e­trate deep into the in­te­rior.

If you are con­fi­dent nav­i­gat­ing ridge crests, and don’t mind a bit of easy scram­bling, then the loop that col­lects Bidean nam Bian and its en­tourage make for an ab­so­lute clas­sic moun­tain day. Coire nan Lochan and Coire Gab­hail are the most ob­vi­ous thor­ough­fares into these peaks. Both are vis­ually stun­ning in their own dif­fer­ent ways and re­ally must form the ba­sis for any ap­proach. Coire nan Lochan rears up and climbs di­rectly to a steep-sided bowl at the very foot of the sum­mit cliffs of Stob Coire nan Lochan, and although it’s a fairly stiff as­cent it gains height quickly and is a very mo­ti­vat­ing route as the first sum­mit of the day is in view all the way up. Along the way you will climb past gorges and up nu­mer­ous crag­glets into a loft moun­tain cirque.

Coire Gab­hail (aka the Lost Val­ley) is a stepped hang­ing val­ley and is per­fect for the de­scent. It’s still rough-go­ing but its lev­el­lings give a lit­tle bit of respite to moun­tain-worn knees. If you have a bit of spare time at the end of the day it’s a great place to linger and con­tem­plate the forces cre­ated it.

TOM BAI­LEY

Cover pho­to­graph: Worm’s Head, the Gower.

NIGEL WILKINS / ALAMY

Ach­nam­bei­thach cot­tage across Loch Achtri­ochtan, dwarfed by Stob Coire nan Lochan.

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