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4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive


Postby GBB57 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:48 pm

Hi everyone,

Around the last weekend of May, I will be visiting a friend of mine in Edinburgh. We did the West Highland Way in 2017 and absolutely loved it. We are both not super experienced hikers, but had no issues during the WHW and walk long distances on a regular basis.

When I'm visiting, we would like to hike around Glencoe and wild camp for the first time! :) I have heard great stories about Glencoe and Glen Etive, and I feel like we didn't see all there is to see during the WHW. My plan is to go to Bridge of Orchy from Edinburgh - using public transport, this seems to be the destination with the shortest travelling time. From there, we would walk to Glencoe Mountain Resort and spend the night there. The next day, we would like to explore Glencoe / Glen Etive. We have about 4 to 5 days:

Day 1: Bus to Bridge of Orchy, walk to Glencoe Mountain Resort
Day 2: Glencoe / Glen Etive
Day 3: Glencoe / Glen Etive
Day 4: Glencoe / Glen Etive - end of the day we should be back at Glencoe Mountain Resort
Day 5: Glencoe Mountain Resort to Bridge of Orchy, bus back to Edinburgh

What would be the best way of exploring Glencoe / Glen Etive? Should we head for the village of Glencoe, taking us through the valley?

According to Google Maps (bad source maybe, but I don't have a map yet), we could also walk to Dalness, then Invercharnan leading us to Glen Etive. Is the terrain straight forward in terms of finding paths to Glen Etive for example, or would one need strong navigational skills? After Invercharnan, would it be do-able to walk 'into the wild' and just set up camp there?

We have never hiked 'off trail' so to say. Could we just buy a map and head towards Glen Etive with a compass, wandering off into the wild and wild camp?

Thank you all in advance!
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby rgf101 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:26 am

You might want to look at walking through Glen Kinglass to / from Loch Etive to make a circular walk.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby GBB57 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:14 pm

rgf101 wrote:You might want to look at walking through Glen Kinglass to / from Loch Etive to make a circular walk.


Thank you for the suggestion! Sounds like a good plan.

That would mean that we would walk from Bridge of Orchy to Achallader, turn left and then follow Glen Kinglass to Ardmaddy, right? Would it be possible to just walk north / northeast along the shore of Glen Etive to Kingshouse, going towards Invercharnan and Dalness? I think I read that there is a path from Kingshouse to Glen Etive - it also seems to be show on Google Maps.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby jmarkb » Sun Mar 24, 2019 6:44 pm

There is a path from Dalness through the Lairing Gartain to Altnafeadh, from where you can follow the WHW to the Kingshouse. That would be more interesting that following the road along Glen Etive.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby Plavuizen » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:53 pm

Two years ago, I walked from Taynuilt to Bridge of Orchy, although a long distance for one day (44km), the path was really good. Almost all of Glen Kinglass is an excellent landrover track with only limited ascents, only the pass towards Victoria Bridge is more a path than a track.
I believe there is a path along Log Etive north from Glen Kinglass.

What you can also do is walk from Kingshouse to Rannoch Station, 20km. The first part is quit good going, only for around 5 miles (the middle piece) it’s hard going on a barely visible path that is quite wet.

There is a right of way from Bridge of Orchy via Gorton bothy to Bridge of Gaur (around 35 km), have not tried this, only heard that there is a very wet piece in the middle before entering Rannoch forest. Alternative, and a circular from Bridge of Orchy is to ascent east from Bridge of Orchy station, bag two munros, descent further east and where the glen turns south, head north to Gorton bothy and walk back to Bridge of Orchy. Around 30 km, so might be challenging if not an experienced walker.

Hope this helps, and let us know your final plans.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby GBB57 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:42 pm

Thank you all for the suggestions!

Heading east from Bridge or Orchy could be a good idea as well. We have multiple days, so the 35km would not be an issue - we could simply take two days. Would that circular path (as least partly) be waymarked?

I did some research today and found quite some posts/articles about locals not being to happy with people wildcamping in Glen Etive, and Glen Etive being quite busy in general. As we would like to wildcamp (we'll be walking in the last week of May), would you still advise to wildcamp at Glen Etive? Does anyone have recent experience with wildcamping at Glen Etive?
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby GBB57 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:46 pm

We could also hike from Bridge of Orchy towards Glen Etive, and wildcamp in Glen Kinglass. The next day we could walk through Glen Etive without sleeping there, and sleep somewhere towards Dalness.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby Sunset tripper » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:10 am

The problem with Glen Etive is folk car camping beside the river and at the roadside. A lot of the people who trashed Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are now moving further north to Glen Orchy and Glen Etive. If you camp out of site of houses and the road and are not chopping down trees, pumping out music from your ghetto blaster, firing off your air rifle and burning everything in site you won't have a problem.
The anti social behaviour and littering has been a real problem in the Glen and the locals were at the end of their tether as it has never been properly policed. If you camp well away from the road the lunatics are easily avoided if they are about.
Im not trying to put you off it's a great area. :D
There is also a camping area plus food, drink and showers available at the Ski area, ie. mountain resort.
All the best. :D
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby rgf101 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:47 pm

My plan is to go to Bridge of Orchy from Edinburgh - using public transport, this seems to be the destination with the shortest travelling time.

I didn't see this when replying earlier. You might want to look at options on the train line up to Inverness - for example I've walked the sections of the Scottish National Trail from Blair Atholl to Kingussie by train from Edinburgh, over two nights, which works well. It's all decent paths (though check recent reports) and easy navigation. First night's camp would be very remote, second could be in / near a bothy if you want, but still far from anywhere. It saves you the trip across to Glasgow and any wait for a train. The Inverness line trains are also a good bit more comfortable and frequent.

But back to the west. I walked Bridge of Orchy to Loch Etive a few years back. Glen Kinglass is lovely, as someone said it's decent tracks pretty much all the way, and plenty of potential campsites. I turned left at the Loch and walked to Taynuilt, so don't know about what it's like going north up the loch to Glencoe. Pretty sure I didn't see anyone from Bridge of Orchy to outside Taynuilt.
That would mean that we would walk from Bridge of Orchy to Achallader, turn left and then follow Glen Kinglass to Ardmaddy, right?

Not sure about Achallader, but we're maybe looking at different maps. I walked the WHW from Bridge of Orchy until Victoria Bridge, then turned left at Forest Lodge.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby GBB57 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:41 am

Thank you for the replies!

We'll probably turn left at Forest Lodge as well - I was just using Google Maps, since I haven't bought a map yet.

The plan right now is to walk from Bridge of Orchy to Glen Kinglass, then north through Glen Etive, then head for Kingshouse and back to Bridge or Orchy, following the WHW. We hope to do this in 3 days, but I'm not sure at how many kilometers we're looking. When we did the WHW, we walked about 5 hours from Bridge or Orchy to Glencoe Mountain Resort.

We have two options, since public transport does not seem to be possible on sunday (?):

1. PT to Bridge of Orchy on saturday, walk for a few hours and wildcamp in Glen Kinglass. Then head on from there, without much time pressure - I'll be flying back to The Netherlands on friday.

2. PT to Bridge of Orchy on monday morning, and walk on monday, tuesday and wednesday with the possibility to stretch the walk to thursday if necessary.

Would it be possible to do this circular walk in 3 days? It obviously depends on the number of km's we would walk per day, but I find it hard to estimate how long the walks would be.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby Plavuizen » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:52 am

Hi Dutchperson, what you can do to estimate distances: use afstandmeten.nl, this site has several map options and you can draw your proposed route and directly see the distance. After saving the route you can use their very basic app to view your route in the field and see the the elevation profile of the walk on the site. Use it very often.
For in the UK, the better option is to use the ordnance survey site and app, this offers also option of offline maps on your phone and is more sophisticated than afstandmeten.nl, but only works for the UK.

Best, another Dutchman.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby rgf101 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:38 pm

since public transport does not seem to be possible on sunday

There are fewer trains on a Sunday, but it should still be possible.

You'll need to work out the distances and estimate your own walking speed taking into account terrain and weight carried. You might want to read up about the Naismith formula.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby DopeyLoser » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:58 pm

GBB57 wrote: public transport does not seem to be possible on sunday (?)


See https://www.travelinescotland.com/

GBB57 wrote: I find it hard to estimate how long the walks would be.


At the top of this Walkhighlands page click GPS
In the map, digitize your route. The distances are shown.

To show distance, elevation change and an estimate of time, I think you will need to log in before digitizing your route so that the data to support that is available to you. Keep in mind that it is just an estimate based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naismith%27s_rule.
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Re: 4 day hike - Glencoe and/or Glen Etive

Postby GBB57 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:20 pm

Thank you all for your replies!

According to the GPS, we should be walking for about 18,5 hours - it should be around 80 kilometers. Due to the straight lines that you obviously draw in the GPS, it's just a rough estimate. I count on at least 21 hours of walking time.

We'll be going to Bridge of Orchy on Saturday and start walking at around 3pm. We hope to get about 4 hours walking in and will then wildcamp in Glen Kinglass. Sunday and Monday we plan on walking around 8 hours per day, so that we only have to walk about 4 hours on Tuesday, to make sure that we have enough time to take public transport back to Edinburgh.

I will make sure to post a walk report as soon as we get back!
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