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Europe > Britain and Ireland > United Kingdom > Scotland > Scottish Highlands > The Great Glen and Strathspey > Glencoe


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For other places with the same name, see Glencoe (disambiguation).
A loch in the Glencoe area

Glencoe (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Comhann) is a famous valley ("glen") in the Scottish Highlands and also the name of the village adjacent to the glen on the western side. It is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is considered one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland. It is a part of the designated National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. Loch Leven, in the adjacent area, is a salt water loch connected to Loch Linhe, a sea loch.


Glencoe is famous for its landscape - it is home to some of the most spectacular mountains in the UK. The glen is a U-shaped valley formed by Ice Age glaciation. It is about 16 km (10 miles) long with the valley floor less than 700 m (0.4 miles) wide, with towering mountains rising sharply from the valley floor to heights of around 900 m (3,000 feet).

It was also the site of the historic Glencoe Massacre that took place on 13th February 1692.

When William III replaced James II on the British throne in 1689, he offered peace, on condition of their taking an oath of allegiance within a certain date, to the rebellious Scottish clans that remained loyal to the latter. The MacDonald chief dithered but arrived for submission on the last date. Some procedural wrangles followed and his opponents wanted to teach him a lesson, even though he was allowed to take the oath.

Earlier, on their way home from the Battle of Dunkeld, the Maclains of Glencoe, a sept of Clan MacDonald, together with their Glengarry kinsmen, looted the lands of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. He was ultimately forced to take an army commission. Robert Campbell and his men were billeted in Glencoe and accepted the traditionally warm hospitality of the MacDonalds. At some point during their stay, Captain Campbell received orders to "put to the sword all under 70". Thirty-eight men were killed, and forty women and children died of exposure after the village was burnt. Some of the officers refused to execute their orders and broke their swords in protest.

The glen is virtually uninhabited, although there is a small village, also called Glencoe, nearby.

Glencoe in winter

Other destinations[edit]

Some of the other villages worth visiting in the area of Glen Coe:

  • Ballachulish - with an old slate quarry
  • Kinlochleven - on the West Highland Way with Aluminium Story Visitor Centre and a new Ice-climbing wall. This is a good starting point for walks in the southern Mamores.

Get in[edit]

Road map of the area, showing roads in the area and nearby towns.

By car[edit]

The A82 running through the valley.

Drive along the A82 and you'll see it, as this road passes through the valley of Glencoe. This road stretches south all the way to Glasgow, and north to Inverness.

By bus[edit]

Stagecoach route number 44 runs to and from Fort William and Kinlochleven via Glencoe. Coaches running between Glasgow and Fort William, Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye will also stop in Glencoe several times a day.

Coach Tours[edit]

A large number of tourists visit the area in coaches from Edinburgh or Glasgow. In many cases, Glencoe and Loch Ness are clubbed together for the tour. Listed below are some of the tour operators. Prices mentioned are for Glencoe and Loch Ness tours.

  • [dead link] Scotline Tours, 87 High Street, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1SG, +44 131 557 0162, fax: +44 131 556 2029, e-mail: . This offers 1 day tours from Edinburgh in luxury buses with knowledgeable guides. £45 for adults, £40 for students/seniors, £35 for children.
  • Heart of Scotland, 2 Anderson Place, Edinburgh, EH6 5NP, +44 131 228 2888, e-mail: . This conducts 1 day tours from Edinburgh. £32, discounted £30 (students, over 60s, under 12s).
  • Timberbush Tours, 555 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2ND, +44 131 226 6066 (reservations), fax: +44 131 220 0174, e-mail: . This company conducts tours from Edinburgh and Glasgow. From £43.
  • Scottish Tours. This organises 1 day/2 day tours from Edinburgh (Gate J, Edinburgh Bus Station, North St Andrews St., Edinburgh) and Glasgow (Platform 6, Buchanan Bus Station, Glasgow). 1 day tour from Edinburgh: Adult £55, Child £52; from Glasgow: Adult: £45, Child: £43. 2 days tour from Edinburgh: Adult: from £129, Child: from £119.

Get around[edit]

Map of Glencoe

It's a walker's area, so walking is the best way to get around.

If you need a map, Ordnance Survey produce two maps of the area; the OS Explorer 384 (at 1:25,000 scale) and OS Landranger 41 (at 1:50,000 scale). Both can be bought for £8.99 from the OS website.


  • 1 Glencoe Museum, Main Street PH49 4HS (in Glencoe Village). Easter - Oct Mon-Sat 10.00 - 16.30. A miscellaneous collection of objects from Glencoe and North Lorn, including the story of the Glencoe Massacre in 1692 and the Ballachulish Slate Quarry. £3.00.
  • 2 The new National Trust visitor centre. Summer daily 09.30-17.30, Winter Thu-Sun 10.00 - 16.00. Gives an explanation of the geology and history of Glencoe, and also an explanation of the work of the National Trust for Scotland. £6.50.


General view of the Glencoe area

The best way to experience Glencoe is to walk. Recommended walks include:

  • The Lost valley. A walk into a hidden hanging valley (2 hours round trip)
  • 1 Buchaille Etive Mor. This is the big mountain as you enter Glencoe from Rannoch Moor Buachaille Etive Mòr on Wikipedia Buachaille Etive Mòr (Q2927373) on Wikidata

For the more experienced:

  • 2 The Aonach Eagach ridge. is regarded as the most thrilling scramble in the mainland UK. On the other side of the Glen are the three sisters of Glencoe and above them Stob Coire am Lochan and Bideann nam Bean. There are numerous walks on this side but be wise and find one from a guide book rather than making up you own route. Bideann has seen more than its share of accidents. Aonach Eagach on Wikipedia Aonach Eagach (Q2293087) on Wikidata
  • Glencoe is also an excellent rock climbing venue.

Do not forget that rock climbing is a potentially dangerous activity and it is essential to be well equipped. Advice and maps can be found at the Glencoe Visitor Centre.

  • Glencoe Chairlift. Fabulous views of Glencoe to be had. An exhilarating experience. £10 per adult.
  • The National Trust for Scotland organizes various events, such as Wildlife Walk £10, Spring Wildflower Walk £5, Storytelling Walk £2, Massacre Land Rover Safari £15, workshops, film festivals and so on in and around Glencoe periodically. Check what is on.
  • Glencoe Outdoor Centre, Carnoch House, Glencoe Village, Argyll, PH49 4HS, +44 1855 811350, fax: +44 1855 811644, e-mail: . Open Jan to Nov. Outdoor activity centre. Activities (depending on the season) include skiing, hill walking, climbing & abseiling, archery, orienteering, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and team-building exercises. From a half-day’s instructed activity session to a week’s multi-activity course or longer. Good dormitory-style accommodation for groups of up to 35. Licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (Phone +44 29 2075 5715). Price range: £99.88 - £235.00, price per head, based upon arrival Monday lunchtime and departure Friday lunchtime, includes full board accommodation, provision of activity equipment and tuition. They will quote individually for adult and family groups. For those who prefer more luxurious accommodation, they can arrange rooms at local hotels and offer some courses on a non-residential basis.


  • 1 Clachaig Inn (2 miles from Glencoe Village).
  • 2 Kingshouse Hotel. at the other end of the Glen on the West Highland Way. Restricted facilities in 2017/18 due to rebuilding.


  • Climber's Bar in the Clachaig Inn: Live music, real ales and extensive whisky collection


  • Scorrybreac Guest House, Glencoe, Argyll, PH49 4HT, +44 1855 811354, fax: +44 1855 811024, e-mail: . In beautiful woodland surroundings just outside Glencoe Village. Bed and full cooked Scottish breakfast. Open: January to December. Some credit cards accepted. From £30.
  • Lyn Leven Guest House, Ballachulish, Argyll, PH49 4JP, +44 1855 811392, fax: +44 1855 811600, e-mail: . Guest house lies adjacent to A82 Glasgow/Fort William Road, overlooking Loch Leven, Glencoe only 1 mile. Indication of price: from £25 to £29 per person per night for bed & breakfast sharing a double/twin room. Open all year.
  • 3 Strathassynt Guest House, Ballachulish, Argyll, PH49 4J, +44 1855 811261, fax: +44 1855 811914, e-mail: . B B&B Tariff: 1st October to 31st March £19 to £22 per person per night, 1st April to 30th September £22 to £26. A 10% discount is generally available for stays of three nights or more and children are charged at half price when sharing a room with two adult guests. Just off the A82 and right next door to the Tourist Information Centre. Some credit cards accepted.
  • 4 Fern Villa Guest House, Ballachulish, Argyll, PH49 4JE, +44 1855 811393, e-mail: . Open all year. Beautiful Victorian Villa. From £46.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Glencoe is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.