Glencoe is internationally famous for its breathtaking landscape, diverse and rare wildlife and for its cultural heritage, including the tragic and infamous events of 13th February 1692.
The scenery of Glencoe, fashioned by millions of years of geological and geomorphologic processes, is regarded as some of the finest ‘wild’ landscape in Scotland.
The National Trust for Scotland is looking after this landscape ‘on behalf of the nation’ by protecting it from developments that would spoil its special qualities.
For the Trust, Glencoe is an iconic property, one that we are proud to manage on behalf of Scotland. Our conservation work includes habitat and visitor management, footpath erosion work, species surveying and monitoring, and maintaining the iconic ‘wild land’ qualities of this landscape. It is a challenging area to manage but does provide the Trust with a showcase to demonstrate best practice.
The Trust acquired Glencoe during the depression of the 1930’s and the purchase was as a result of an appeal from members of the mountaineering clubs throughout Britain. Led by Percy Unna, who was then the president of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, the donations which enabled the purchase of Glencoe were accompanied by a series guidelines which stated that there should be open access for all but the land must remain primitive.
Unna had observed the “taming” of mountains throughout Europe, through constructions such as cable cars and mountain top restaurants. He appreciated the Scottish mountains, and did not want them to be affected in the same way. In order to keep the mountains primitive, Unna stated that the hills should not be made easier or safer to climb and no facilities for mechanical transport should be introduced, this included no path expansion and no directional signs or markers put in place. No new shelters, lodgings or food facilities are to be built either. These wishes now known, as the Unna Principles, encapsulated in the Trust’s wild land policy, are still the major influencing factor in the way in which Glencoe and all of the Trust’s mountains are managed today.
The Trust strives to implement best environmental practice. The award-winning Eco-design Glencoe Visitor Centre helps to make Glencoe one of the most visited countryside properties in Trust care. Our in house footpath team also focus on sustainable, low intensity, low impact footpath work that promotes the development of new skills. This never-ending work relies on the support of our members, volunteers and donors.
With towering mountains sweeping down on both sides, Glencoe is at once spectacularly beautiful and yet strangely forbidding. Glencoe is also the cradle of Scottish mountaineering and the area provides some of the finest climbing and walking in the …