Dark, towering mountains; huge, sweeping glens. Glen Coe holds a powerful sense of history and offers some of the most exciting hillwalking in the UK.
Today it is dreich and grey. Mist and cloud hang in layers, draped across the shoulders of peaks, the straight white tails of waterfalls emerging beneath like ribbons.
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It is not an ideal day for hillwalking with a 15-month-old (albeit one who is extremely well clad) so we opt for the Hidden - or Lost - Valley between Stob Coire Sgreamhach and Bidean Nam Bian, so named because the local Clan MacDonald are reputed to have used the glen to hide stolen cattle, hence the Gaelic name of Coire Gabhail, the Glen of Capture.
The start of the walk alongside the River Coe is soundtracked by rushing water, and the view of the Three Sisters across the glen is majestic, despite the cloud. Beneath the wooden bridge water gushes aquamarine; the birch woods around the base of Gearr Aonach drip with moisture. The climb up the side of the ravine meanders past boulders 15 metres high, a surprisingly exacting scramble for a glen walk. And the "small" burn to be crossed has become a raging torrent with the winter rains and snow melt. We briefly consider removing boots and wading before turning back - leaving the Hidden Valley for the next visit.
We are staying at The Ballachulish Hotel, built in the 1830s as a coach house and a grand building with stunning views of Loch Linnhe. A mix of traditional taste and contemporary style, it's a great place to relax in front of a log fire and the downstairs reception rooms are grand. The bedroom is comfortable but the incredible view is somewhat obscured by dirty windows. The food in the restaurant is hearty, though some might see it as a little overpriced. Residents have free use of the nearby indoor heated swimming pool and leisure centre at The Isles of Glencoe Hotel.
Lucy Adams was a guest of The Ballachulish Hotel. A double room with breakfast starts at £69 a night. See akkeronhotels.com/hotels/scottish-highlands/the-ballachulish-hotel or call 0844 855 9133.