It was time for a new adventure!
Glencoe was our destination where we stayed at the Kingshouse Hotel for two nights in one of their spacious Signature Rooms, including a private balcony with a stunning view of Buachaille Etive Mòr and the great Glencoe.
Glencoe is also written as Glen Coe. I’m not sure what’s correct, but I’ll use Glencoe in my posts. It is said to mean the ‘Glen of Weeping’, possibly because of the infamous Glencoe Massacre (National Trust for Scotland) in 1692.
I was still feeling tired after a recent positive result for coronavirus, it finally found us both after escaping it for so long. I was determined to not let it stop me as much as I could. Lucozade, paracetamol, excitement, and fresh air seemed to help boost my energy levels.
My main reason for visiting this stunning part of Scotland was that I had a personal mission to hike to the Lost Valley of Glencoe. It’s a place that has been on my ‘wish I could see with my own eyes’ list for around five years now. I was excited to be finally going to the Highlands of Scotland, and not just for the usual quick day trip.
We hit the road on a frosty Sunday morning around 10.30am, stopping off at the usual places whenever we go north.
Inveruglas, Loch Lomond
I always love a pit stop at Inveruglas on the banks of Loch Lomond, with a short walk to the An Ceann Mòr’ pyramid viewpoint (Loch Lomond & the Trossachs).
The viewpoint and paths around it share the most beautiful views of Loch Lomond. I noticed the steps at the top section of the viewing point was sealed off with fencing, but I could still step up to the middle section safely. I hope the structure is not too damaged and it will be fixed.
Even though it was only around noon, it felt later with the clouds covering any sunlight that was trying to shine through.
The next stop was the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum for a browse around the gift shops. I was looking for Scottish gifts, then it was on the road again to the next beautiful viewpoint.
Loch Tulla viewpoint
Another must stop viewpoint on route is Loch Tulla. We arrived at the most wonderful time as well.
Rays of sunshine were bursting through the clouds like beams of lights from an alien spaceship that was about to manoeuvre through the clouds. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and in awe of Scotland’s weather putting on such a mesmerising dramatic show for us.
Check-in at the hotel was from 3pm onwards, so we had time to stop off at the Three Sisters Car Park which was quieter than usual thankfully. We visited here one day in August, it was chock-a-block – which means really busy!
The peaks of Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh (east to west) are the mountains that are known as the Three Sisters of Glencoe, but also known as Bidean Nam Bian (Walk Highlands). The mountains are difficult to pronounce and I feel ashamed I don’t know them by heart. If I was exploring the area more often I would hopefully learn to remember the names over time.
Ah, Glencoe, you’re as pretty as a painting!
The Kingshouse Hotel is a popular stopping place for people walking the West Highland Way where they can stay over in the Bunkhouse situated beside the hotel. The 1960s hotel extension was demolished, rebuilt, then reopened in 2019.
The original 18th century building below, which was the original Kingshouse Hotel and now called the Way Inn, has been refurbished. It joins on to the newer hotel and has a way in to the main hotel.
You can see what the original Kingshouse looked like at Canmore: Kingshouse Hotel. I love this 1880 photo of Kingshouse as you can still see part of the building that is still here today. The hotel may have changed, but the mountains surrounding it haven’t.
I wonder if the people who lived here 142 years ago were also in awe of the mountains every day. Did they think the mountains were unreachable dangerous places?
The Way Inn was closed when we visited, but I can imagine after a long day of walking it would be a welcomed sight for food, drink and to warm yourself beside a cosy fire.
It is my wish to walk the West Highland Way, but I need to make it happen. I am determined I will do it within the next few years and will try to channel into my old peaker strength when I used to be a member of My Peak Challenge. We both need to get back out walking regularly again to build up a reasonable fitness level to be able to walk 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William.
After reading Sam Heughan’s recent book Waypoints (Amazon), it has inspired me to walk this before I reach an age when I can’t. The book is a wonderful read. It’s funny, inspiring, challenging, and magical.
We parked in the hotel car park and received a lovely welcome by lots of giggling ducks having a late lunch by their pond with a view. They were very cheery and made me laugh.
Video clip of the ducks
Watch a video clip of the ducks at the Kingshouse Hotel:
The Kinghouse Hotel is also known for deer wandering around the grounds.
Then all of a sudden a stag appeared in front of me at the car park. I stood still and didn’t approach him. He must have thought we had food to share, unless he was trying to steal the food the ducks were pecking away at. It’s now advised by the hotel not to feed any of the deer. You never know how they will react if you are close to them. And those antlers on the males could be dangerous.
It was unusual to see him so close, and not run away like most deer would when they see us humans. He didn’t hang around for long and moved on.
Video clip of a stag
Watch a video clip of a stag at the Kingshouse Hotel:
This was the perfect start to our visit, meeting the Kingshouse Hotel family before we even walked into the hotel.
It was a friendly welcome at reception by a member of staff. I was getting excited to see our room for the next two days. The reception area was so spacious with a fireplace, couches, chairs and a reading area. It looked cosy, welcoming, and Christmassy.
I took these photos later when it was quieter.
There was still housekeeping happening in the corridor where our room was, which is understandable as the hotel was really busy with a wedding this weekend and many guests staying over. It’s definitely a picturesque and romantic part of Scotland to get married.
There’s a first floor and second floor, with each landing displaying eye-catching wall murals of deer. They really stood out as I was walking up the stairs, adding a nice touch to the decor.
When I walk down long corridors it always reminds me of the film The Shining. I often compare places or landscapes to movies that I vividly remember.
The scene with the Grady twin girls in the corridor of the Overlook Hotel scared me when I first watch it many moons ago. Room number 237 too, with the old decaying woman behind the shower curtain … thankfully there wasn’t a room 237 in this hotel I thought.
We were sleeping over in room Etive 227 … close though!
When I walked into the room my first impressions were how much I loved the space!
The private balcony was the main reason I booked a Signature Room though. You’ll see the reason why in the short video below.
Portrait video of the room
Watch a short walk through of the room with a wow view.
Extras in the Signature Room included:
- fluffy robes, and slippers
- a welcome 1881 gin and tonic – two miniatures (pink and white), tonic water, and drinks biscuits
- bowl of fruit
- bottled water
- tea, coffee, hot chocolate, and shortbread
Tap or click to see larger photos from the image gallery below:
There was a deer theme throughout the hotel, the door hangers were fun reading 🦌
We spent time freezing our fingers out on the balcony taking photos and videos. The changing light created so many different pictures, especially with the clouds moving over the mountains.
The dark of night came too quickly though, around 4pm, so our daylight time was limited. If we were staying during the summer months it would be the most amazing place to chill after dinner, as long as the midges didn’t invite themselves for dinner too!
We booked dinner in the hotel and wandered downstairs to the restaurant which was feeling really cosy with the all the crackling fires lit.
We looked over the menu and I laughed a little when the waiter said there was no chicken but duck instead … I jokingly said with a sad face, “I hope it’s not the ducks outside the hotel …”, the waiter said, “of course not, they are family.”
There was estate venison, which I do like, but then thought of the stag I just met, but he is also family. I glanced over the vegetarian menu, almost choosing something else, then opted for the venison burger which I shared with Alan. I still couldn’t taste very well, but Alan said it was really nice.
The hotel was glowing in the evening. If anyone was camping up in the mountains they would be able to see the lights.
The best thing about the balcony in our room was we could step out for a wee while into the cold darkness, practise taking night shots (not very well lol), then when I was cold I could step back into a cosy room.
When we were out on the balcony in the dark, Alan saw what looked like a flashing light on top of Buachaille Etive Mòr as if someone was camping up there on a cold December night.
We alerted the hotel reception just in case, but it is common for people to camp up there on the peak! The light could have been clouds obscuring a camping light, making it look like it was flashing.
It was strangely quiet walking back down the corridor in the morning, compared to the night before. The automated lights were off with a “shining” glow ahead. I need to stop thinking about scary movies 😂
The landscape in Scotland is ever changing as you can see. One morning it was foggy creating moody feels.
Another morning, the sunrise shone a warm beautiful light on top on Buachaille Etive Mòr, also reflecting a mirror image in the pond. If anyone was camping up there, they would have been treated to this warm wake up call.
Moments like this feel so magical! They only last a short time and I felt lucky to be standing there to see this.
The photo below is the back of the hotel. The top far right window was our room, where the side window looked on to the West Highland Way path.
This photo shows the side of the hotel looking down the Glen. Floor two at the top shows the two Signature Rooms with balconies, our room was on the left. The restaurant is on the ground floor with the same magnificent view.
After our first night in the hotel, we got up early, enjoyed a cooked breakfast, then drove to the Three Sisters Car Park to start my main mission.
My next post will be about our hike to the Lost Valley of Glencoe. Even the name gives me goosebumps!
Thanks for reading.