A family walk: The Lost Valley in Glencoe
I have walked to the Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail) in Glencoe several times and usually when the weather is less than favourable for hiking to higher places. The walk, from a convenient layby on the side of the A82 is rough and steep but it’s often sheltered from the worst of the weather and it’s fairly short.
On Friday, it seemed like the perfect outing for our friends and their young boys. Although very fit – the boys aged six and nine are from Park City in Utah and are very keen skiers – they do not do a lot of hiking and we wanted a walk they would thoroughly enjoy rather than struggle with.
With wet weather forecast, we also wanted a walk that would give good views and appreciation of the landscape without being out all day.
The path up to the Lost Valley is interesting because it includes a few sections of easy scrambling, bridges, waterfalls and an exciting river crossing. The views looking back across Glencoe and its many peaks are spectacular.
There is also the promise of reaching the valley, Coire Gabhail, high above the roadside, where the MacDonalds of Glen Coe hid their rustled cattle in the late 1600s.
Coire Gabhail means “Corrie of the Bounty” or “The Hollow of Capture”. It comprises a glen some 230m up the mountain, Bidean nam Bian.
I recommend you read the Walk Highlands walk details for the Lost Valley Walk, although it is pretty straightforward. The only point where you might go wrong is the river crossing some two-thirds of the way into the walk. It is possible to stick to the right hand path and not cross the river but this includes a few sections of very steep rock scrambling and so, if you can, it’s better to cross the river and follow the easier path into the valley.
The river was high and fast-flowing when we arrived at it on Friday. Most adults removed their boots and socks and walked across barefoot. We carried the kids and Wispa the Wonder Whippet.
The route that most people follow is out-and-back. Once you are in the high valley, you can enjoy the fantastic views of high peaks around you and wander to the end of the valley before your return.
The river crossing
This is how we crossed the river on the return. Some people were carried; some people walked through with their boots still on; some took off their footwear and walked the river barefoot.
And more views. This time of the dramatic glen of Glencoe once we returned to the car park.
I highly recommend this walk although it can be wet and slippery all year round, and icy and dangerous in winter. Wear suitable footwear and pay heed to the fickle Scottish weather.
If you are looking for an organised guided experience, check out Glencoe walking tour for another idea of what to do in the area.