Hiking Glen Coe

Old Jul 12th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Hiking Glen Coe

Has anyone hiked Glen Coe? How strenuous is it? My husband and I will be in Scotland in mid-September and he wants to hike Glen Coe.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Do you mean walking in the Glen? Not all that strenuous - I'm a walker/stroller, not a hiker, and not a climber of any sort, and have walked in the glen several times. Wonderful scenery.

But if you mean hiking the ridges bordering the glen - that's a WHOLE 'nother matter. Walking Aonach Eagach and the summits along there require major stramina and I'd think you'd want a guide or companion who knows the area.

Check out the video Michael Palin did a few years ago of his traverse and you'll see what I mean.
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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If you're staying in or near Glencoe you'll be close to sensational walks and climbs for all abilities. Unusually for Scotland, you'll need a head for heights to get to most of the mountain tops and some are strictly for experienced mountaineers. You can still walk through stunning scenery without going too far above sea level, and some of the passes between the big hils can give fantastic walks without worrying about your life insurance. What kinds of distances and ascents are you used to doing back home?
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Old Jul 14th, 2006, 05:54 PM
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As others have said, all levels of challenge are available. Lonely Planet Walking in Scotland has two or three fairly strenuous hikes described. The visitor center has many more. On an August morning we were up about 1800 feet when we turned back, not because of the exertion, but because of midges! I think they'll be gone by September.

Boots, a pack, rain gear, fleece, food and water, map and compass are all advisable. The weather can change very quickly.
Old Jul 14th, 2006, 11:01 PM
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Call at the visitor centre just through the Glen on the left (coming from the Loch Lomond/Crianlarich direction). We found the people there very helpful and able to advise a suitable walk for our skill level and available time. You can also buy maps there with many walks of varying degrees of difficulty. Make sure you do get there and take a walk if at all possible, it is a beautiful & spectacular area.
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Old Jul 15th, 2006, 04:12 AM
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Not to be undertaken lightly, particularly if you are from the US and most of your experience is in the western part of the US.

There are certainly trails for all level of ability, but it is hard to imagine how quickly things can go bad, weatherwise. On an August traverse of the Three Sisters (with a guide) we had horizontal rain and 42 degrees F once we were up a bit. My wife was caught in a landslip on Buchaille Etive Beag, broke her ankle, and had to hike out a very long way leaning on me and our teenage son while the guide went ahead to organize transport to a medical facility (he saw us down to a safer level before leaving us at our suggestion).

My friend Ian Mowat, Librarian of Edinburgh University, died in a fall on the other side of the Glen while climbing with his son several years ago.

On the other hand, our son celebrated his high school graduation by flying from Boston to Glasgow and walking the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Ft William. The last day or so of this route runs along the ridge on the north side of the Glen. Despite its being May and our forcing him to take a lot of winter gear, his only problem was staying hydrated in the heat!

But the rewards are huge. The views and sense of satisfaction are immense. Just stay within the limits of your physical conditioning, the weather, and the route.
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Old Jul 19th, 2006, 03:26 AM
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Please don't mess with our mountains. The Aonach Eagach is a technically difficult ridge that people die on every year.

You can do a decentish walk/scramble in the corrie up to the Buchaille Etive Mor, but there are very difficult climbs on the same hill.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 07:32 AM
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Totally agree with Sheila. Whatever you do don't do what I saw a couple of tourists do last summer - my partner and I had enough gear with us to climb Everest because things change very quickly up there and you have to be prepared, but these two started going up Buchaille Etive Mor wearing jeans, trainers and t-shirts and not a lot else. It gives me shivers just thinking about it.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 07:48 AM
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I think a lot of Americans are misled into thinking these are easy hikes because the mountains are barely mountains! No 10,000ft peaks here, but equally or more treacherous terrain and weather.
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