Glen Coe, with its turbulent history and towering mountains, must rank as one of the most impressive landscapes in all of Scotland. Few, indeed, are the pictorial calendars which do not include at least one stunning shot of the amazing scenery to be found here.
So how would you feel about waking each morning to such a breathtaking vista? At Laraichean, that is just what you can do. This unique and unusual house stands quite alone on the hillside towards the western end of the glen. Cunningly designed to accommodate the rake of the hill, it is on three levels, the upstairs sitting room with a wall of windows and doors leading to a raised decking area. From both the sitting room and the decking, you are afforded what must be one of the best and most exclusive views across the glen to Bidean nam Bian beyond. You can sit here and watch the climbers on Aonach Dubh and Stob Coire nam Beith. In the other direction, recently cleared forestry means that there is also a view away to Loch Leven and Ardgour, shimmering in the distance.
The layout of the house is as singular as its situation. On the ground floor is a double bedroom with ensuite toilet. Open tread stairs take you up to the living area, with a split level sitting room with wood burning stove and, three steps down, a large and well-equipped dining kitchen. On this level too is a very elegant bathroom. A further staircase leads to a large galleried double bedroom with wash basin, and a room with bunk beds. The stairs throughout are open tread, so care may be required with young children. (Stair gates are available.)
The house is surrounded by its own sloping grass garden with trees and shrubs where all manner of wildlife, such as deer, squirrels, pine martens and many kinds of birds are frequent visitors.
This area is, of course, beloved of walkers, climbers and mountain bikers (and skiers in winter) and one of the joys of Laraichean is that you can walk straight out into the hills. There are no less than 42 Munros within easy distance of the house and the path to the Pap of Glencoe and the Aonach Eagach ridge starts more or less at the gate. For climbing in any weather, try the Ice Factor at Kinlochleven, where there are rock and ice walls (and an excellent seafood restaurant just down the road).
Climbing, walking and biking aside, there can be few areas in Scotland with so much to offer in the way of things to see and do. On the way to Oban, there is the Sea Life Centre at Barcaldine and a lovely beach at Benderloch. (Cuil Bay by Duror is even nearer.) There is riding at Lettershuna in Appin, where at low tide you can canter across the sands in the shadow of that other iconic image, Castle Stalker, while Ballachulish has a good golf course, shops, and hotel with bistro. Sailing, canoeing, canyoning are all to be enjoyed locally. This is, after all, in the heart of Lochaber, The Outdoor Capital of the UK
To make the most of any stay, you will also want to do some touring, whether along the Road to the Isles from Fort William (14m) to Mallaig (magnificent silver sand beaches at Arisaig and Morar), or on to the Ardnamurchan peninsula via the Ardgour Ferry from Onich. From Fort William you can scale Ben Nevis, or head northeast to Loch Ness.
From the house, you can stroll through the woods to Glencoe village (shop, post office) or, in the other direction the famous Clachaig Inn is 1.5 miles away. Ballachulish has a small supermarket, while major shopping can be done at Fort William.
Bed linen and towels are included in the rental and electricity is charged extra at cost. Sorry, no pets and smoking is not permitted in the house. Wi-Fi is available, subject to provider.
Accommodation (sleeps 6):
- Double bedroom with en suite WC and wash basin
- Sitting room with wood burning stove, TV/DVD and CD player. Three steps to
- Dining kitchen with electric cooker, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, fridge freezer etc.
- Bathroom with bath/shower, WC and wash basin
- Galleried double bedroom (Kingsize) with washbasin
- Bedroom with bunk beds