Glencoe Waterfalls

Glen Coe / Lochaber, Scotland, UK (Great Britain)

About Glencoe Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2014-08-29
Date last visited: 2014-08-29

Waterfall Latitude: 56.66225
Waterfall Longitude: -4.96607

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The Glencoe Waterfalls were my catch-all term for the handful of waterfalls that we happened to have noticed while we were driving through the scenic Glencoe Valley.

We actually visited the valley twice – the first time when there was fair weather and the second time the very next day when there was bad weather.

Glencoe_059_08292014 - One of the Glencoe Waterfalls
One of the Glencoe Waterfalls

On the first visit, we actually didn’t notice any waterfalls.

Maybe we weren’t paying attention or we didn’t go far enough up the valley.

Spotting Roadside Waterfalls in Glencoe Valley

However, on the second visit when the weather was foul, we saw many more temporary waterfalls tumbling beneath the Three Sisters Mountains as well as a few others that seemed to be more permanent.

One of these seemingly more permanent waterfalls was shown in the photo above.

Glencoe_038_08292014 - Tall cascade tumbling near this house near the mouth of the Glencoe Valley in a rain storm
Tall cascade tumbling near this house near the mouth of the Glencoe Valley in a rain storm

This one (which also turned out to be called the Falls of Glencoe) was near the very head of Glencoe Valley near some obvious roadside pullouts or laybys.

Another one was near some house at the outflow of Loch Achtriochtan in the bottom or mouth of the valley.

We had somehow missed this waterfall on the first visit, but we definitely saw it flowing on the second visit as it was certainly aided by hard rain.

Finally, we spotted a modest-sized cascade near the head of Glencoe Valley near the pass (see photo at the top of this page).

Glencoe_037_08292014 - Looking up at thin veins of waterfalls coming down one of the Three Sisters in Glencoe Valley
Looking up at thin veins of waterfalls coming down one of the Three Sisters in Glencoe Valley

This one actually had a narrow pullout within a few steps of it as well as what seemed to be a lookout bridge.

So perhaps of all the waterfalls we’ve identified on this page, this one probably had the most legitimate infrastructure to enjoy it.

All of these waterfalls (including the ephemeral ones) were either within view from the A82 road close enough to pullouts to consider them roadside waterfalls.

Non-Waterfall Features of Glencoe Valley

When in good weather, we were able to appreciate the attractively deep U-shaped valley where I’m quite certain a glacier must have scraped through here at some point in its past.

Glencoe_009_08282014 - Looking across Glencoe Valley towards two of the Three Sisters
Looking across Glencoe Valley towards two of the Three Sisters

Opposite the road were three prominent mountains called the Three Sisters.

Running right through the valley was the River Coe, and we noticed quite a few people hiking alongside the river itself in the depths of the valley.

But the vast majority of people seemed to be just driving by and choosing to stop at selected laybys (pullouts) yielding the grand views of the valley that we’re showing you on this page.

In fact, one particular pullout had a Scottish bagpipe busker drowning out some of the passing vehicle sounds with his bagpipe music.

The Glencoe Massacre

In addition to the gorgeous scenery reminiscent of the kind of valleys we encountered along the Milford Highway in New Zealand, this place had a bit of a violent human heritage as well.

Glencoe_001_08282014 - Looking downhill towards the mouth of the Glencoe Valley in decent weather
Looking downhill towards the mouth of the Glencoe Valley in decent weather

For it was the site of the infamous Glencoe Massacre in February 13, 1692.

In that incident, 38 people from the MacDonald Clan of Glencoe were killed by the very visitors (from the first and second companies of the Earl of Argyll) welcomed by the MacDonald Clan.

This betrayed the tradition of hospitality that was the norm in the Highlands, and it was kind of like the ultimate double cross.

The perpetrators of the massacre also burned homes resulting in the deaths of another 40 women and children from the resulting exposure to the harsh elements.

Glencoe_035_08282014 - Bagpipe busker performing at one of the pullouts in Glen Coe or Glencoe Valley
Bagpipe busker performing at one of the pullouts in Glen Coe or Glencoe Valley

The massacre was said to be motivated by the apparent failure of the Clan MacDonald to accept the ultimatum to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs.

These new monarchs were William and Mary, and the deadline for acceptance followed the so-called Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1689.

Authorities

The Glencoe Waterfalls reside in the Glencoe National Nature Reserve in Glen Coe (or Glencoe Valley) near Fort William in Argyll, Scotland. It is administered by the National Trust of Scotland. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Glencoe_007_08282014 - Looking up towards the other two of the three sisters of Glencoe in decent weather
Glencoe_048_08292014 - Focused look at the suddenly impressive waterfall near the mouth of Glencoe Valley
Glencoe_045_08292014 - Full context of the mysterious waterfall at the mouth of Glencoe Valley from a small car park
Glencoe_056_08292014 - Looking down at the slanted cascade called the Falls of Glencoe at the head of Glencoe Valley
Glencoe_057_08292014 - A more contextual view of the Falls of Glencoe at the head of Glencoe Valley
Glencoe_060_08292014 - Direct look at the Falls of Glencoe in the rain

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To get to the Glencoe Waterfalls from Fort William (where we were staying), we drove over 18 miles south then east towards Glencoe Valley.

The first waterfall we encountered was off a small turnoff and car park to the right just downstream of the Loch Achtriochtan.

The waterfall you see at the top of this page (called the Falls of Glencoe) was another 3 miles further at the very top of the valley where there were a few more laybys or pullouts on the north side of the road.

Glencoe_053_08292014 - Context of the layby or pullout nearby the lookout for the Falls of Glencoe at the pass or head of the Glencoe Valley
Context of the layby or pullout nearby the lookout for the Falls of Glencoe at the pass or head of the Glencoe Valley

The lookout for that waterfall was on the opposite side of the A82 so cautious was necessary given how quickly vehicles tended to drive on this road.

Overall, the drive between Fort William and the beginnings of Glencoe took us roughly 35 minutes.

From Glasgow, it would be roughly 81 miles along the M8 then onto the Great Western Road, which eventually would join up with the A82 all the way to Glencoe.

This drive would easily take 2 hours or more to do the 94-mile drive.

For additional context, Fort William was about 64 miles (90 minutes to 2 hours drive) southwest of Inverness, about 108 miles (roughly 2.5-3 hours drive) drive north of Glasgow, or 133 miles (over 3 hours drive) northwest of Edinburgh.

Focused on a distant waterfall towering above some house near the mouth of Glencoe Valley in some pretty bad weather


Left to right sweep of a cascade on the main stream (Falls of Glencoe) near the top of the valley under some pretty heavy rain


360 degree sweep of the valley revealing the Three Sisters in fair weather while being serenaded by a bagpipe busker

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Tagged with: glen coe, glencoe, lochaber, argyll, fort william, scotland, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, river coe, three sisters, massacre, earl, macdonald clan, highlands, glorious revolution, jacobite rebellion



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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