About Glencoe Waterfalls
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. 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), but 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 at the top of this page. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. For it was the site of the infamous Glencoe Massacre in February 13, 1692, where 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) who were welcomed by those who ended up killed (betraying the tradition of hospitality that was the norm in the Highlands). 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. 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, William and Mary, before a deadline following the so-called Glorious Revolution and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1689.
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 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. 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.
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