To get to the Glencoe Lochan forestry commission
car park simply follow the old road out of Glencoe village.
After a few hundred yards you'll come to the small stone
road bridge that crosses the River Coe, the road bends
to the right and then a small road leads off to the
left sign posted to the Lochan and Hospital. Follow
this road and go right at the fork to reach the Forestry
Commissions car park, which is well looked after and
has excellent facilities and information boards that
contain much information about the available walks and
a brief history of the Lochan. The Lochan is often referred
to as either the Glencoe Lochan or the Hospital Lochan.
The term Lochan simply means 'Small Loch' and the original
Glencoe estate now stands as the local Glencoe hospital.
Glencoe across Loch Leven
The story behind the Glencoe Lochan is a romantic tale.
A gentleman by the name of Donald Alexander Smith who
was born in the ancient Royal Burgh of Forres in the
North East of Scotland, emigrated to Canada in 1888.
While in Canada he became a successful wealthy man and
later became the governor of the Hudson Bay company,
high commissioner for Canada and eventually went on
to become Lord Strathcona. He acquired the Glencoe Estate
and in 1895 had Glencoe House built for himself and
his wife Isabela, who was born in Canada and had native
American grand parents. In order to make sure his wife
didn't miss her homeland he created the Glencoe Lochan
in its beautiful mountain surroundings just for her.
From the car park follow the signs that point the way
of what is known as the 'Mountain Walk'. The path leads
out of the car park and up into the forest on the side
of Stac a' Chlamhain. The path through the forest is
a well laid path and very obvious at all times, it is
quite steep in places and climbs from more or less sea
level to around 100 meters above sea level when it reaches
the outlook from Stac a' Chlamhain. It is pretty hard
to get lost on any stretches of this walk as the sign
posts put in place by the forestry commission are near
The trees of the Lochan plantation are made up mostly
of majestic conifers, huge rhododendron bushes and fantastic
hardy ferns. On this part of the path the sides are
flanked by tall conifers and every so often an avenue
of thick rhododendron bushes. The sounds of many bird
species will be a real treat through the forest. As
the path climbs you'll be bedazzled by awesome light
effects as the sun shines through the roof of the forest
and captures the huge trunks of beautiful trees like
the Scots Pine.
Glencoe across Loch Leven
You will eventually reach a look out point where there
is a picnic table and a few other benches. This small
hill is known as Stac a' Chlamhain. From this view point
you can see out over the Lochan and over Loch Leven
towards the huge rugged mountains over the lochs. The
view is fabulous from up here and a great place for
a lunch break.
Behind the view is the forest and through the trees
you will see a huge and very definitive hill behind.
This is Sgorr na Ciche, or as it is more commonly known
the Pap Of Glencoe. Many refer to this hill as a certain
part of the female anatomy and may be interested to
know that the scots word of pap word translates to breast,
also the real name of Sgorr na Ciche translates very
roughly to the pointed peak of the breast. This well
known hill stands tall above Glencoe village and at
the end of a magnificent ridge. It gets its unique shape
from the hard wearing quartzite rock summit which has
stood for years while the more frail rock around it
weathered leaving the strange shaped peak we see today.
Pap Of Glencoe
Leaving Stac a' Chlamhain now take the path down back
through the forest. The path can be steep in places
and although not quite as clear as the ascending path
the descent is still an obvious route. You will continue
to descend until you get to a stream which is crossed
where it falls down through the forest into the Lochan.
The path will eventually reach the far shores of the
Lochan. Continue around the end of the Lochan to see
what is one of my favorite views. From the end of the
Lochan the view over the Lochan is magnificent with
the backdrop of the rugged peaks of Sgorr Dhearg and
Sgorr Dhonuill that along with wooden banks and rhododendron
clad islands reflect in the still waters of the Lochan
making for a picture perfect scene.
There is now a path about a hundred yards from the
end of the Lochan in the north west corner of the Lochan.
This path leads through the old estate woodlands. Follow
this path through the forest for another magical journey
through Douglas Fir and Sequoias mixed with a great
variation of ground plants and forest ferns. The path
will eventually pass a glorious little lily pond and
then lead back to the Forestry Commission car park.