Thanks to Oprah and Eckart Tolle, a few years back I began learning being in the moment and am now much more aware of my surroundings, often taking photos. On the trip I trusted my LG v40 thinq for all photography, which proved to be a good decision for many reasons. My phone is set up to auto upload photos to Dropbox and Google photos which wifi on the bus facilitated somewhat. However in many remote areas, upload speed was sluggish. This day was outstanding in every way but also sad as I'm sure I took a huge number of photos; however later at the hotel I didn't look closely at what had been uploaded or realize it was a hotel where wifi connected only for so long and then dropped. Many places once checked in and connected, you were on until out of range. I was either tired or lazy when checking my Dropbox account, made an assumption everything was there and went ahead and cleaned the photos off my phone. Later I discovered only a fraction of the photos I took that day were saved. Most of the photos from Glen Coe are from my sister, the one included here is mine.
About 25 miles from the Green Welly at just over 1100 feet elevation, we emerged from the forest into the Glen Coe Valley, another Scottish icon. The valley is right at 1000 feet while the surrounding hills and munros are up to 3,000 feet elevation. I’ve visited numerous mountain ranges in America, some with peaks much higher but none that impacted me like the vistas there.
Maybe part of the impact is being able to see exposed mountains. There is certainly vegetation and some trees but nothing like many of the ranges I’ve visited in the states. Since it was October we only saw scattered bits of heather clinging to its purple glory while most had turned rusty brown. Our photo opp came at Three Sisters Car Park View, well used and known by tourists.
When first off the bus, I did not immediately take pictures--I literally was awestruck. I stood and turned slowly, trying to grasp the enormity of what we were in the midst of. I’ve now seen many photos of the valley on sunny days but it was overcast during our visit so a number of the bluffs’ peaks “disappeared” in the clouds. The Three Sisters are lushly covered with vegetation as were most of the hills on the south side of the valley. Opposite, very much in contrast, is Aonach Eagach ridge. The stone it was carved from by the ice age glacier is exposed, has very little vegetation and a craggy face mostly straight up.
Generally I avoid having people in landscape shots; but in this case I was happy to find one with several in the foreground of the Three Sisters as it’s most effective at providing perspective. I liken my Valley experience to a clear night away from light pollution and actually seeing the myriad of stars in the night sky. If you've ever experienced it, then you know nature looms really, really big and humans minuscule.
After we re-boarded and drove on, Kevin, our Scottish Guide, shared history about whatever we were near. In the Valley he recounted the story of the Glencoe Massacre which happened the day before Valentine's day, February 13th in 1692. Details can be found on the Links page. I had never thought or known about the battles Scotland went through and it's quite a bloody history.
The Three Sisters stop was somewhat near the eastern beginning of the valley so there were stunning views for miles ahead. Okay, stunning was really everywhere we went in both countries in one form or another! Up next, one of my favorite things always showed up on our drive!