It is the first day of winter and here we are in Glen Coe, four mountaineering bears and a mountaineering lamb are ready for adventure. Behind us nestling, between the peaks and ridges is a whole world of hidden valleys and we are on our way to explore one of these, Coire nan Lochan. It is not the most famous valley in Glen Coe, that is Coire Ghabail, but it is perhaps wilder and more spectacular with the dramatic cliffs of Stob Coire Nan Lochan towering above it.
Although it is officially the first day of winter there is not much snow today, but plenty of ice glittering in the morning sun and making the path very slippery!
At one point the path disappears and we had to scramble down icy rock! I was worried how Alligin would manage as it was his first try at scrambling, and you would not want to slip here, with icy water below. He took to it like a mountaineering bear to rock! 👍 Don’t tell him but I think he will make a champion Mountaineering Bear!
High up in the valley Big Ted was explaining how the landscape was shaped first by volcanoes pushing up the molten rock and then the roof of Magma collapsing to form a huge crater or cauldron.Glen Coe was the first place in the world where cauldron subsidence was recognised in ancient volcanic rock. The melting ice from the ice age further sculpted the landscape ice, breaking up the crags, shattering the rock and scooping out the valleys. He did go into more detail but I was distracted by a stone in my boot! I don’t think Alligin and Sheltie were listening either as they were absorbed in reading the map, but Corbett might have learnt something.
We are hoping to come back and climb these rock faces when the rock or the snow is in better condition. Mountaineering Bears have been climbing in this Coire for over 120 years. Great Grandfather Ted, founder of the Scottish Mountaineering Bears, was one of the first bears to climb these cliffs in summer and in winter. In those days there were no roads leading into Glen Coe and the mountaineering bears arrived by horse and cart along a rough track, or even by boat along the Caledonian canal.
The magnificent valley is full of atmosphere, I can sense the presence of prehistoric beasts and bygone mountaineering bears that may have wandered here!
The further we ventured into the coire, the more wild and magical it became. Corbett swears he met a unicorn.
And I think we may have woken this dragon. Time to make a quick retreat.
It was a wonderful view point, I couldn’t resist a pose with the Anoach Eagach Ridge behind me.
All too soon it was time to head down, a bottom shuffle was the quickest method of descent on the icy grass.
We had been hoping to climb the frozen waterfall but it was melting and would not support the weight of the bigger bears.
But wee Alligin is so small and light he was able to have a go.
A magical start to winter. But, please! now can we have some snow!