Many Scots words are Anglicizations of Gaelic words. If the word “Scot” has Gaelic roots then it must either be a word meaning “friendly” or “damp”, since both apply to this wonderful place. We had on our list to take some wonderful hikes, and in the Glencoe area one of the most well-known is Lost Valley. This name took on special meaning with us.
Dave dutifully noted the lat/lon of the trail head and copied the gpx file describing onto our handheld GPS, a Garmin 62s. Armed with that we set out on a very damp morning. The valley is where the MacDonalds held their rustled cattle in times of yore, and the trail is reputed to offer spectacular scenery. The day we set out we had spectacular drizzle, or “dreep” as the Scots would say. Along the way Dave looked for the piece of paper with the position of the trail head, but alas, it was lost. So we did our best to find the parking spot anyway. The guide book said “the second parking lot”, but many pull-offs were being used as “parking lots” so it wasn’t clear which was a real trail head parking lot. In the end we picked a parking lot with looked like it might be “the one”, donned our foul weather gear and set off up the trail.
About a mile up the trail, and 400 feet elevation gain, we came to the conclusion that while we were on a well maintained trail, it wasn’t the one we were looking for. On top of that our “foul weather gear” was no match for Scottish dreep. Cold and wet we stopped for a soggy picnic of ham and cheese sandwiches, made fresh on the spot of course. Amazing how good supermarket rolls can be when the rest of you is drookit and dreich. Drookit is the Scottish word for drenched, and dreich is a Scottish word for miserable.
Upon finishing our trailside repast, we started down the mountainside. It was good to get back to our room in the B & B, and heat and dry socks. As luck would have it, our B & B, Callair View, can serve dinner if you order well enough in advance. Once sufficiently thawed out and dried off, we were treated to an outstanding meal, the best that we’ve had on our trip. A fitting end to an adventurous day.
The following day was considerably drier, with bright sunshine (and a few clouds), though we were ready to head on to the next region of Scotland, this time the Trossachs. Before we left, our host, a mountaineer himself, gave us directions to the trailhead. On our way out of Glencoe we stopped at the real trailhead for Lost Valley, and decided to do a part of the trail. This was a beautiful walk. Good we decided not to go all the way as a couple we met on the trail, who was well acquainted with it, said that a stream that you had to wade across further up was way too deep to attempt, due to rains the day before. Still, the few miles that we walked in afforded magnificent views. And a question to ponder: how on earth did the MacDonalds ever get their rustled cattle up there?
On to Callander through more magnificent countryside.