Guide's note on Scotland Trips from trip leader John Colver
It's thrilling and deeply enjoyable for me to lead this signature trip. My own personal memories are rich, given that these glens and peaks were the foundation of all adventures which have led me to mountain ranges all over the world. As a teenager and in my twenties, I hiked all over these peaks, passes and glens with my Brother and Father. There is not a peak in Glencoe or Glen Etive that we haven't climbed, or walked, in each season and often multiple times.
I've heard it said that people who leave Scotland, we just compare everywhere to it - and this has been true for me, whether on Mount McKinley, Mount Rainier or on some Andean Trail. I seem to spend a certain portion of every other place reminiscing over days spent in those glens and I keep going back.
What we intend to offer on each of these trips is not just a tourist perspective. Although it's impossible not to be awed by the scenery and surroundings, even on a drive through Glencoe, I have found that the hidden corners of these glens contain some of the most beautiful spots I've ever visited. A hike to a hidden valley, a walk under ossians cave, or just to realize that the cobbles dotted in the trails, are ones put there during the revolution and uprisings of the 1600's and before.
We'll take time to study the history of Scotland and Glencoe. The modern history is rich and deep, given the Western Highlands importance to Scotland, not least the fact that the military road through the glen was the gateway to the Western Islands. The geology is spectacular too, from the hanging valleys and spurs created by Pleistocene epoch, to the ancient gneiss and crystalline which date to precambria. Scotland's uniqueness and stark beauty is related to uplift and erosion exposing the ancient geological formations which are interspersed with many igneous intrusions of a more recent age. Compared to the larger mountain ranges in the world, the bedrock exposed in Northwest Scotland comprises some of the oldest rocks on earth.
Certainly the quality of the rock has influenced the nature of the hiking and climbing in the glens. The erosion has created steep sided gullies and narrow ridges which are a pleasure to hike and climb on. The mountains are not tall, between 3 and 4000 feet mainly, but the steepness, aspect and the backdrop against the sea-lochs of the Atlantic, all combine to create breathtaking views.
Recently I went back to this area to design these unique trips. In addition to the hiking, you'll find that the local people are extremely hospitable and welcoming. There is a rich connection between the Scotland (especially the highlands) and the United States with 27 million Americans whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland.
I hope you consider coming to Scotland on one of our trips. I work as a team with a co-guide, so that we can best meet your needs. If you want to combine these trips with other UK or Europe travel, we can make suggestions and our travel experts can facilitate those arrangements for you.
These trips are fun too, Scotland is a laid back place and not so rushed. The dialect may take a bit of getting used to, but I'll be on hand to ease that path ;)
For a quick primer on US English vs Scottish mountain terminology please click here.