Glencoe and Fort William – at the heart and on the fault line of the highlands – are considered the adventurer’s paradise of Scotland. The region is ideally located for outdoorsy fun, sitting at the base of Ben Nevis, UK’s tallest mountain, and at the intersection of the East and West Highland Ways, Scotland’s cross-country hiking paths, similar to our Appalachian Trail or PCT. Go for fun, go for adventure, go for longer than two days – our visit was MUCH too short for this incredible playground.
The days of our wanderlust adventure are dwindling. We’ve eaten fish that swam off the coast of Japan only hours before; we’ve bathed elephants, kissed lady boys, ridden a small boat in the Mekong Delta; we’ve stared into middle distance and tried to watch our breath for 3 days straight. I feel like I’ve lived 20 beautiful lives in 50 days. And yet, I am still humbled off my ass by the unruly landscape of Scotland.
On our first night in Glencoe, we wandered away from our hotel at the base of rolling hills lit and shadowed by the bright sun, blue sky, and fluffernudder clouds, and thought, “shit, really?” We drank local ale and ate terrible chilli (Scots – not known for their southern fare). We met a hilarious city planning couple from California and balked at the Pokemon American Go epidemic that we were so grateful to be missing.
We drank way too late into the night and woke up too early to climb Devil’s Staircase – a famed uphill climb whose bark is definitely worse than its bite. We got a heavy dose of Scotland’s fickle weather – at the start, the sky was blue and lovely, but we were hit by rain once we reached the top.
And because we really only had a day here, we doubled down and hiked up the north face of Ben Nevis. We took took the advice of a local, avoiding the more famous “tourist path,” and were not disappointed in the WOAH WHO MADE THIS we experienced here. In an open area surrounded by mountains and beautiful views of the town below, I went all “the hills are alive” and climbed a rock.
After a final dinner of Cullen Skink – a haddock and cream soup that had become our favorite Scottish dish – and a restful night, we headed to the Edinburgh airport, making a few stops to enjoy the slow transformation of the landscape as we entered the lowlands.
Scotland, your people are lovely, your food is underrated, and you are a beautiful, untamed shrew. Never change until the next ice age.