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Hillwalking in Glen Coe, Scotland

Hillwalking in Glen Coe, Scotland: Exploring the Majestic Mountains

Glen Coe is a spectacular valley located in the Scottish Highlands, renowned for its dramatic mountain scenery and rich history.

Hillwalking in Glen Coe offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore a range of stunning peaks, each with its own unique character and challenges. Whether in summer or winter, proper safety awareness, a good level of fitness and the right equipment are crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Mountain Highlights in Glen Coe:

Within the Glen Coe National Nature Reserve there are eight Munros; that’s mountains over 3000 feet. These are perhaps the three most iconic mountains that dominate this immense landscape:

1 - Buachaille Etive Mor: Dominating the landscape with its iconic pyramidal shape, Buachaille Etive Mor is a favorite of many hillwalkers. This mountain offers thrilling ridge walks, stunning views of wild landscapes, and a real sense of adventure at 3350 feet. The views over the wild and remote landscape of Rannoch Moor are never to be forgotten.

2 - Bidean nam Bian: Known as the "Mass of the Clan," Bidean nam Bian boasts several peaks and ridges, making it a captivating challenge for hillwalkers. It offers breath-taking panoramas, deep valleys, and the famous Lost Valley, which presents a hidden wonderland for explorers. It is also the highest Munro in Glen Coe at 3772 feet

3 - Aonach Eagach: Considered one of the most exhilarating ridge walks in the UK, Aonach Eagach, meaning notched ridge, spans a narrow and exposed ridge with steep drops on both sides.

This ridge requires experience and a head for heights but rewards brave hillwalkers with unmatched views. The ridge is classified as a grade 2 scramble by the British Mountaineering Council and contains two Munros. It’s recommended that only hillwalkers with good scrambling and mountaineering experience attempt this ridge.

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Hillwalking in Glen Coe is a fantastic experience, that always needs the correct planning, equipment and knowledge.

Hillwalking in Summer and Winter in Glen Coe is a unique and challenging experience. These are some of the most beautiful and iconic mountains in the UK, and Europe.

Although the highest is "only" 3772 feet, its imperative they are taken seriously at any time of year. The correct planning, equipment and experience are a must.

There a great professional mountaineering companies out there to offer advice, and a wide varieties of skills courses and guided days.

Check out the hillwalking and mountaineering courses offered by Ocean Vertical here.

Summer Hillwalking in Glen Coe:

During the summer months, hillwalking in Glen Coe is a fantastic way to experience the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. The days are longer, and the weather is generally milder, allowing for extended hikes and more comfortable conditions.

However, even in summer, the weather can be changeable, and it's essential to come prepared with appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear, and plenty of water

Winter Hillwalking in Glen Coe:

Winter in Glen Coe transforms the landscape into a magical snow-covered wonderland, but it presents additional challenges. Steep slopes, freezing temperatures, and the potential for avalanches require a higher level of skill and equipment.

It's crucial to check the avalanche forecast, plan your route accordingly, and have the necessary winter gear, including an ice axe and crampons. It is recommended to have experience in navigating winter conditions or seek the guidance of an experienced guide, such as Ocean Vertical, to ensure safety

If you would like to know more About Winter Hillwalking in Scotland click here.

Safety Considerations and Equipment:

1 - Knowledge and Preparation: Familiarise yourself with the route, weather conditions, and the surrounding terrain before setting off. Carry navigational tools such as a map and compass, and stay informed about any potential hazards or adverse weather forecasts.

2 - Have a choice A, B and C for your route. If the conditions represent too much danger, choice C is heading to the Clachaig Inn for lunch! Never feel you “must get into the mountains” just because you have made the trip to Glen Coe. The mountains will always be there for another day.

3 - Proper Clothing and Gear: Wear appropriate clothing in layers to adapt to changing conditions. Sturdy and waterproof boots provide essential ankle support, and gaiters can keep snow and debris out of your boots. In winter you will need B2 or B3 crampon compatible boots. Additionally, pack essentials such as a headlamp, first aid kit, extra clothing, and sufficient food and water.

4 - Safety Equipment: In winter conditions, carrying an ice axe and crampons is crucial for traction on icy slopes and self-arrest in case of a fall. Take the time to familiarize yourself with how to use this equipment effectively and practice basic self-arrest techniques.

Its a great idea to book into a Winter Mountain Skills Course to learn these skills from professional mountaineers. Get some friends together and make a weekend of it to remember!

5 - Navigation and Communication: Carry a map and compass, and ensure you have the necessary skills to navigate.

You can see details for Navigation Skills for Hillwalking in Scotland here.

6 - Weather conditions: in summer and winter the weather in the Scottish mountains can change in an instant. A clear summer day can become a freezing hailstorm with limited visibility, and a sunny winter day can descend into blizzard whiteout in minutes

You can read more about Preparing for Winter Hillwalking in Scotland here.

Understanding the forecast and planning for it is an essential part of any hillwalking experience. The best forecast service for this is the Mountain Weather Information Service and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service.

Ocean Vertical are here to share our passion for Scotlands mountains and wild places. Please Contact Us or drop by for coffee any time!

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