A good introduction to the splendours of Glen Coe is the half-day hike over the Devil’s Staircase, which follows part of the old military road that once ran between Fort William and Stirling. The trail, part of the West Highland Way, starts at the village of Kinlochleven and is marked by thistle signs, which lead uphill to the 1804ft pass and down the other side into Glen Coe.
Set right in the heart of the glen, the half-day Allt Coire Gabhail hike starts at the car park opposite the distinctive Three Sisters massif on the main A82. This explores the so-called “Lost Valley” where the Clan MacDonald fled and hid their cattle when attacked. Once in the valley, there are superb views of the upper slopes of Bidean nan Bian, Gearr Aonach and Beinn Fhada, which improve as you continue on to its head, another twenty- to thirty-minute walk.
One of the finest walks in the Glen Coe area that doesn’t entail the ascent of a Munro is the Buachaille Etive Beag circuit, which follows the textbook glacial valleys of Lairig Eilde and Lairig Gartain, ascending 1968ft in only nine miles of rough trail. Park near the waterfall at The Study – the gorge part of the A82 through Glen Coe – and walk up the road until you see a sign pointing south to “Loch Etiveside”.