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Glencoe & Loch Leven


In terms of its scenery, Glencoe is a 'must-see' - in few other parts of Scotland can so much mountain grandeur be seen in close-up for so little effort.

Though the views from the road are spectacular, Glencoe draws walkers and climbers on to its ridges and corries with its superb choice of rugged terrain. The mountain called Buchaille Etive Mor 'the great shepherd of Etive' guards the way into the glen from the west; the huge buttresses known as the Three Sisters loom above the road and hide the summits of the mighty Bidean nan Bian (highest point in Argyll) on the south side. Opposite, the Aonach Eagach ridge has a reputation as the narrowest and most sensational on the Scottish mainland.

Though Glencoe itself has its share of mighty hills, Kinlochleven to the north is another excellent walking base, likewise surrounded by high tops and a superb choice of high level routes.

West of the glen, the main A82 crosses Loch Leven by the Ballachulish Bridge en route to Fort William. (There is a confectionery factory at North Ballachulish, where the sweet-toothed can enjoy a video on the history of chocolate). The A828 takes the coastal route south by Loch Linnhe's shores, passing Kentallen and Duror before continuing south for Kinlochlaich Gardens, Barcaldine Castle (open peak season only) and the Scottish Sealife and Marine Centre (close encounters with seals guaranteed).

Other attractions in the area include the Aluminium Story Visitor Centre at Kinlochleven. This tells the story of this village's aluminium smelter (closed 2000) and its pioneering use of hydro-electricity. Finally, back in Glencoe, the Glencoe and North Lorn Folk Museum portrays the old Highland ways, in an authentic heather-thatched cottage, whiles the Glencoe Visitor Centre brings to life the other association of the glen. The Massacre of Glencoe in 1692 is remembered today as government-sanctioned murder and a betrayal which shocked Scotland.

In summary, for a spectacular setting and a unique atmosphere, Glencoe is unbeatable. This is an area for outdoor lovers with skiing at the Glencoe ski area in winter and the West Highland Way further extending the walking options. Main centres are Kinlochleven, Ballachulish, Onich and Glencoe village.

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A selection of useful publications available in association with amazon.co.uk
Ben Nevis & Glen Coe
OS Landranger map 41 - Ben Nevis, Fort william & Glencoe
OS Landranger map 50 - Glen Orchy & Loch Etive
Pathfinder guide - Fort William & Glencoe walks
Ramblers guide - Ben Nevis & Glencoe

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