A world class walking trail, with a tragic historical tale.
It’s one of our Top 10 Things We Love – the Hidden Valley of Coire Gabhail.
You’ll want to get there nice and early as parking is limited, and this is a popular stop for coach trips and tourists. To get to the Hidden Valley, take the A82 past Glencoe toward Fort William, and you’ll see the carpark on your right. You won’t miss it, just keep your eyes peeled for three big peaks (or the ‘three sisters’) and you can’t go wrong.
It’s a moderate but rewarding walk, where you’ll descend to the valley floor from the carpark, then across a footbridge over the River Coe. Just keep following the well-worn path, until you eventually reach the Hidden Valley.
If you’d like to extend your walk to a bigger challenge, the Hidden Valley is closely followed by Bidean nam Bian, It’s more of a mountain range than a singular summit, with a complex mass of dramatic crags, ridges and summits.
Not only is it a breath taking sight, this is an area steeped in rich clan history. It was named the Hidden Valley, simply because it was a great spot for the Macdonald clan to hide their stolen cattle. But the area went on to have a much more tragic reason for hiding.
In 1692, the Glencoe massacre saw the Campbell soldiers turn on Macdonald clansfolk, who fled for their lives to the enormous glen, in the middle of a winter blizzard. Many of them perished in the weather, but it was better that than at the hands of the Campbells. And it was all because they were just a wee bit late in swearing loyalty to King William.
The Hidden Valley’s untouched scenery is much the same as it would’ve been back when the Macdonalds fled for their lives, and it’s a beautiful spot to spend a couple of hours soaking up the history and sights.
Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can tackle it. In some parts there can be a steep and rocky path where some scrambling is needed, so it’s a medium rather than easy track.