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Finding the lost valley

Posted 15 June 2012
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Finding the lost valley
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Glencoe has always been seen as one of Britain's premier mountain areas. The Buttresses of Buachaille Etive Mor, the narrow and challenging Aonach Eagach Ridge, the spectacular Three Sisters and the presence of a ski resort are all part of a valley offering challenges to skill, head for heights and balance on skis and mountain bikes alike.

Add to this the human element - from the historic massacre to the vibe of the Clachaig Inn and it is clear Glencoe is a place to be reckoned with.

One of the most notable parts of the glen is the Lost Valley, a remarkable hidden oasis of greenery perched high up between the two highest Munros in Glencoe, Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach.

Right now, getting to this spot is harder than usual, with the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCoS) noting that the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has had to close the Coire Gabhail bridge for essential repair work, which will commence on June 19th.

The MCoS stated: "Hill walkers/climbers will not be able to access the site during this period and will need to take an alternative line over the bridge at Coire Nan Lochan (NN 167 567). The NTS have clearly signed this closure at all major access points to the bridge and apologise for any inconvenience during this time."

Walkers with the option to pick an alternative time later in the summer to return to explore this area will soon learn what they are missing. The Lost Valley is a curious feature, consisting partly of an oasis of flat, stone-strewn ground with many lush, green patches. Then, at its end, is area of trees and huge boulders. Once the walker clambers through, they suddenly find themselves back on a steep mountain path descending into the glen.

The Lost Valley can be used either as a descent or ascent route when climbing the 3,772 ft Bidean nam Bian and 3,517 ft Stob Coire Sgreamhach. The walk is a full-day adventure best accomplished in summer, when clear days will offer exceptional views. One way is to climb the higher mountain first, take the long descent to the col and then climb the second Munro before retracing the way back to the path into the Lost Valley.

One thing is for sure: it will not be lost to anyone for long.