Etive is the name I've given to my adventure travel company. It's a name which is personally meaningful and one that kindles my own urge to visit my favourite places around the world.
Glen Etive is a spectacularly beautiful valley in the Western Highlands of Scotland. Etive is also the name given to the prominent mountain Buchaille Etive Mor, which sits at the head of Glen Etive and Glencoe.
Quiet and haunting, both glens are steeped in history. The dramatic peaks on both sides of each glen attract walkers and climbers in all seasons. It's not for any reason that poets, writers, artists and filmmakers come here from around the world to capture it's spirit. James Bond went there to fight-off off his foes in 'Skyfall'. Hogwart's Express travelled the Glenfiddian Viaduct, The old classic movie, 39 Steps was filmed in Glen Etive. Braveheart was filmed here. Charles Dickens claimed its very recollection made him shudder. He wrote, "There are scores of glens, high up, which form such haunts as you might imagine yourself wandering in, in the very height and madness of a fever." How you see Glencoe and Glen Etive may leave an image, but how it makes you feel, may never leave you.
Bonnie Prince Charlie fled to Skye along the old military road through Glencoe. Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and countless other writers and travellers have taken refuge at the Kings House Inn. Ten miles away at the western end of Glencoe there is still a sign at the Clachaig Inn, which says "No Hawkers and No Campbells", a tongue-in-cheek but poingant reference to February 13, 1692 when thirty eight MacDonalds were massacred by their guests, the Campbells at the end of the Jacobite Uprising.
Today it's a peaceful place, which breathes life into adventures and leaves a person with a sense of timelessness.
With my brother, as we were growing up, I explored this area as if we wanted to see every pebble and blade of grass in it. I can't remember how many days and nights we spent there. I do remember my first rock climb on Etive Slabs as well as my first snow and ice climbs. One was particularly harrowing retreat in a blizzard after getting 'off route' on the climb of Curved Ridge. We lost a rope, I broke-off four crampon points as well as the pick of my ice axe and after descending intact, I fell in the river as we struggled our way back to our car.
Years later, I led my father on one of his first mountain climbs there, a pivotal experience of sorts, which led to many happy years of walking those hills after he retired. In many ways, he showed me how rewarding the process of adventure can be, at any age and no matter how fit or healthy.
Those many days created the blueprints for personal adventures all over the world and each time I return, the Glens are no less beautiful, imposing, dramatic or peaceful. It makes me very happy to lead our Western Highlands adventure beginning in 2015, I promise there'll be no icy retreats or heart-attack narrow escapes, but we'll have ample opportunities to enjoy these places and to take in the majesty of the surroundings as we wind down our day's adventure by the fireside at Kings House Hotel.
Whether you come to Scotland, climb Kilimanjaro, do a walking Safari or a trail running adventure at the Grand Canyon... I hope that Etive Adventures inspires the same deep passion for you as it does for me. I do believe that there is a sense of adventure in everyone. I believe that how we express it is a valuable personal exploration. Often it starts with a spectacular setting for a journey and it involves being outside, with friends along to enjoy the experience with, a connection with the history, culture and people who we visit. I believe that we become a part of every where we go and that those places and people become a part of us too. It's my hope and expectation for everyone coming on an 'Etive Adventure', that we'll return home feeling deeply connected with the places we've been, in some cases having made a contribution to local charities and causes, positively touching the lives of people as we receive the gifts they have to offer too.
Thank you for visiting our site and company. I hope you feel inspired to join us on a future adventure.