Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Lost Valley - Day 4 Invercoe

Both Emma and I were feeling tired and Steve was itching to get out and do a harder walk, so we stayed in bed whilst he got up early to tackle Buachaille Etive Beag. We had planned on having a short stroll ourselves, but I wasn't feeling 100% so we took it easy until he got back. We didn't head out till late afternoon due to me feeling ill, I dosed myself up and off we went.

I'd read and heard about the Lost Valley many times, sadly a few have lost their lives on this walk. Although it's not technically difficult there's a couple of places with nasty drops which you slip down if rushing or in wet weather, or even just a stumble over your feet. I am really scared of heights and knew that the narrow path would test this, which is probably why I've put off doing it on other Scotland trips.

Our late start mean't that the laybys were very quiet, we managed to park in the furthest one from the start, but it wasn't far to descend and pick up the clear path to the start point.

Once over the footbridge looking down the precipitous drop below there's a short scramble up where a handline has been put in! As we were clambering up this we heard the roar of a jet which was flying low through the valley.

The path climbs high about the gorge quite early on, and has some exposed drops below, one in particular I had a real wobble on - you need to take great care on this path if walking with children as it would be all too easy to slip off. Thankfully Steve was happy to help my daughter of the narrow sections.

We easily crossed a stream once beyond the more exposed sections, and had the next section to look forward to which Walk Highlands describes in the route guide that some might find the situation 'airy'. It's a really short scramble of which you either follow a slightly exposed rock rake up, or clambor over a boulder slab. If you are a teeny tiny person like Emma you can squeeze between the too! I took the boulder option on the way up and way back from the walk as it felt like the easier of the two ways.

The path beyond this point descends into the Lost Valley and we were all gobsmacked with the views in front of us. An amazing high level valley with stunning snow capped mountains as a backdrop.. and then the sun came out...

We pretty much had the valley to ourselves aside from one group of people who were tiny dots in the far distance. We enjoyed exploring the valley and clambering about on the big boulders.

The river goes underground at the start of the valley so you can follow the dry river bed back down which is jumbled with huge rocks which have created small underground spaces which others have built up with rock walls. Once we met the river again as it came up from it's underground journey we decided to have a paddle to see how cold it would be - snow melt water chilled from a journey underground was very chilly indeed! We dared each other to see how long we could stay in the cold water, but none of us managed more than 10 seconds!

The exposure on the route in reverse was still as bad as the way in, I think most of the fear comes because I have my daughter to take care of too.. I was so glad I'd managed to conquer the fear though and walk to one of the most amazing places I've ever been..

We couldn't resist another cheeky sunset walk that evening, realising how much we needed to make the most of our stunning surroundings..

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