Back in April a friend and I went up to the Scottish Highlands to spend a few nights wild camping and taking photos. We both picked out Glencoe and Rannoch Moor as must-visits, and after much deliberation chose Glen Etive as our first night’s venue.
I must say I’d read about the issues with ‘wild camping’ in Glen Etive which put me off somewhat, but as we were going out of holiday season I kept my fingers crossed it would be okay. Turned out when we got there the ‘wild camping’ season hadn’t started so the annual events of fly tipping, messy campsites and campervans on the verges were not yet present – thankfully. By the way, we’re very considerate campers – we tuck ourselves well out of sight and leave no trace of our presence. That’s why I used inverted commas earlier, because in my opinion if you’re camping on a roadside and leaving all your litter and half your belongings behind then you’re not wild camping…
Driving down into Glen Etive is stunning – you pass by the iconic Buachaille Etive Mor which stands as a guardian to the glen, and then follow a lovely winding road down the valley to the sea-fed Loch Etive. We saw deer on the way down (sorry, didn’t get any photos) and all in all it was a wonderful introduction to our journey through the Highlands.
Loch Etive is a sea loch, probably best described as a dog-leg – it’s a long loch stretching all the way from Glen Etive down to the coast at Oban Airport. As you walk down the western shore, under the steep slopes of Beinn Trilleachan, the views open out into a set of remarkable views. Looking back up the loch you see the mountains flanking the glen; turning to face down the loch you can see the quite magnificent Ben Cruachan and friends.
Looking North up Loch Etive
The northern stretch of Loch Etive looking back up into Glen Etive
Ben Starav, on the eastern side of Loch Etive, also offers some interesting photo options. One that really caught my eye was the reflections in the loch of the erosion patterns in the mountain side:
All in all, Glen Etive and Loch Etive offer some impressive landscapes – definitely worth a visit but please respect the land don’t be one of the offending idiots…
We had earmarked a handful of places around Glencoe to photograph, with the distinctly famous Buachaille Etive Mor top of the list. It’s probably one of the most photographed locations up there, and it’s easy to see why. The waterfall which features in most shots of the mountain is very easy to access, and it’s quite a view! Thought it would be rude to walk away without taking the obligatory photo – not the greatest effort as we got the timing quite wrong (the sun was behind the mountain which played havoc with the colours).
The sun vanishing behind Buachaille Etive Mor
We spent the best part of a day scouting around Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, soaking up the dramatic mountains and wide sweeping moors. If you haven’t been, photos really don’t do it justice. The mountains are almost intense and at points are really quite awe-inspiring. To add to that, when you consider the massacre that happened here it is a little bit mind-blowing…
Looking north through the pass of Glencoe
Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my other Highlands explorations, including Plodda Falls and the beautiful Glen Affric.
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