Glen Etive

Summer’s hordes of happy highland holidaymakers tend to hack, nose-to-tail, up and down the A82 in single-minded determination to tick off the statutory sights of Scotland – Glencoe, Loch Ness, Eilean Donan, Ben Nevis etc – and quite rightly too, all of these are fabulous. Well, apart from Loch Ness which, putative wildlife aside is, frankly, a bit dreech. By doing so though, too many of them miss out on some of the great hidden places: one such is Glen Etive, an almost unremarked turning off the A82 after the Glencoe Ski Centre.

The road immediately shrinks to a single track, one which twists, turns, rises and falls alongside the tumbling waters of the River Etive, opening finally to Loch Etive to the west. Formerly the preserve of walkers and the HFS crowd (Huntin’, Fishin’ and Shootin’, don’tcha know?) a particular spot along this road recently gained notoriety for its part in Skyfall, so there is now a regular procession of overly low-slung sports cars grinding their sumps along the road in order to set up a replica of the iconic Bond-staring-into-the-distance shot with his beloved DB5 behind him. A hint here: guys (and it mostly is guys), fluorescent Gore-Tex, baggy cargos and overly low-slung bellies does NOT make you into Daniel Craig, regardless of location. And here I am Guilty as charged, M’Lud…

That aside, this is a magnificent, brooding Glen which instantly creates the feeling that you’re alone in a very large and largely hostile world. And the worse the weather (short of one of the regular white-outs), the better Glen Etive looks. So here then are some recent shots of the Glen, taken mostly in conditions in which more sensible folks are warmly tucked up in the Clachaig, downing drams and crying, “Hoots!” for all they’re worth.