History and Magic on the First Day of Winter

Lost Valley View Point

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.

Coire Nan Lochan

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!

Whoops! Bear Down!

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.

Big Ted Pointing Out The Climbs on Stob Coire Nan Lochan

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!

Celebrating Autumn in Glen Quoich

We woke up on the shore of Loch Quoich to a magical view, but there was little time to sit around admiring it as we had two munro’s to climb.
Never Bears to take the easy route we shunned the path for a romp straight up the hill.
A map of our route
From the Shores of Loch Fearna Big Ted pointed out our route along the ridge to Gleouraich
The terrain around the Loch was full of peat hags and for an awful moment we thought we had lost Corbett
As we were slogging our way up to Spidean Mialach, listening to Stags bellowing in the distance, I suddenly remembered it was the stalking season. We had forgotten to check with the estate if it was safe to walk! I had visions of bounty hunters wishing to add bears to their stag tally 🙀
First Munro of the day, Mountaineering Bears and our furriend Sheltie the little lamb on Spidean Mialach
Should be safe from stalkers up here! What a beautiful day.
We stopped for lunch at Fiar Bealach
After lunch we found some cool slabs to climb. Lovely rough rock 😊
Sheltie took the path up the ridge but us bears stuck to the crest!
From the ridge we saw an eagle soaring overhead
The summit of Gleouraich the highest point of the day at 1034m altitude.
Always best to take a compass bearing when leaving the summit, we didn’t want to go down the wrong ridge!
I wonder if we will find a pot of gold at the base of the rainbow?
Quick rest but I think Big Ted is over doing it! I hope he doesn’t bring ticks back to the adventure wagon.
Almost back at the road, but still stunning views across the Loch. What a great way to start October! Paws crossed we don’t meet any coos on the road!