13 Jun 2017

5 Things to do in Glencoe When You Are 5

Our first ever road trip with J and we decided to head north of the border into the Scottish Highlands. The village of Glencoe on the southern shores of Loch Leven was to be our base as we rambled, explored and looked for adventure. The weather was predictable in that rain alternated with sunshine in an unpredictable pattern. But we were prepared; we were geared up to make the most of our half-term break no matter what the weather. Glencoe was just as stunning as I remembered it from seven years ago. The only difference this time was that I was seeing things through the eyes of my five year old son.  

5 Things to do in Glencoe When You Are 5

Here are our top 5 things to do in Glencoe when you are five:

   Climb the Pap of Glencoe

Or at least give it a good try! 

A short walk down and beyond the main street through Glencoe village brings you to the start of the walk to the top of the Pap of Glencoe. It may not seem like much, but the Pap is a deceptively strenuous climb. The initial route is a gentle ascent along a well-marked pebble path that crosses two streams and gets boggy in places. The path then ascends steeply and gets increasingly rocky.
We had to scramble on hands and knees in places and still got to nowhere near the top. That said, even the small steep climb that we did manage was rewarded by spectacular views over Glencoe and Loch Leven. Definitely worth the effort and a few grazed knees!

                           Climb the Pap of Glencoe

Watch the sunset over Loch Leven


There can be no better way to end the day than to stroll along Loch Leven in the beautiful rays of the setting sun. If the tide is out (Loch Leven is a sea loch, so is affected markedly by tides), you can walk over muddy, soggy clumps of seaweed to the edge of the water. Make sure to dress for the part in sturdy, waterproof boots. Watch as the skies change colour and bask in the rich reds and golds. Keep an eye out for the rising tide. It may not come in as quickly as out in the open sea, but the water does creep up on you when you are least expecting it. The whole experience is nothing short of sublime.



Watch the sunset over Loch Leven


Ride the Chair Lift at Glencoe Mountain Centre


The Glencoe Mountain Centre is a short car ride away from the centre of Glencoe village. Although noted for its winter activities, the Centre offers mountain bike routes through the summer. All we wanted to do was experience the thrill of the chair lift to the top. We went up on a rainy day when the clouds had descended part way down the mountain top. All around was a carpet of green and purple heather with only the roar of the water sounding noisily over the pelting rain as it fed swollen streams. It was nothing short of atmospheric!

  Ride the Chair Lift at Glencoe Mountain Centre


Ramble in the Glen Coe


The valley of the river Coe, or Glen Coe is without doubt one of the most remarkable places in the Scottish Highlands. The terrain is stark, wild and rugged, rain and wind are almost perennially present and the atmosphere borders on the eerie. Park your car in one of the many parking spaces dotted along the main road (the A82 from Glasgow) and ramble through the wilderness. Take in the precipitous volcanic peaks that surround the glen, walk along the river Coe as it meanders through the valley and just breathe in the magnificence of nature and let it envelop you.


 Ramble in the Glen Coe

Remember that scene from the James Bond movie Skyfall? The one where Daniel Craig is driving Judy Dench in an Aston Martin to his home, Skyfall, in Scotland? Well, that was shot on location in Glen Coe, and now you know the reason why.

     
                       Rambling in the Glen Coe

Ride on the West Highland Railway Line from Fort William to Mallaig


Widely regarded as one of the best railway journeys in the world, this is not strictly speaking in Glencoe, but well worth the short trip to Fort William to the north of the village. You can book a ticket on the Jacobite steam train, widely touted as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express, or you can choose the cheaper alternative of travelling on the conventional diesel locomotive. Either way, there is no taking away from the breathtaking scenery as it unfolds along every mile. 

The Jacobite steam train - Is it the Hogwarts Express?


No matter what your age, there is plenty of fun to be had in Glencoe and the Scottish Highlands. It is the perfect destination for an outdoors family holiday.

Have you visited Glencoe? What would be your favourite thing to do there?

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