Is there anything more romantic than a Glencoe elopement? I love them. They are intimate, meaningful and adventurous. Especially if you’ve decided to elope here, in the heart of the Scottish highlands. The adventure is guaranteed. And beautiful scenery. Plus dramatic landscapes. Basically, incredible views all year round, everywhere!
So can you elope in Glencoe, Scotland? Absolutely YES! Glencoe is one of the most popular elopement locations in Scotland.
And if you’re considering eloping in the beautiful village of Glencoe, this Glencoe elopement guide is for you!
Glencoe combines everything that Scotland has to offer - encapsulated in one spot. Glencoe is a very popular elopement spot amongst couples who choose to get married surrounded by the Scottish wilderness. What is more, Glencoe is probably the most popular outdoor elopement location in Scotland chosen by couples!
How come? First and foremost, Glencoe is a beautiful place. And as Scotland elopement photographer, it's in my top 3 favourite Scottish elopement locations. And although it's really a tiny village hidden between mountains, it has so much to offer.
History of Glencoe
But first, where did the name Glencoe come from? Sometimes spelled Glen Coe - glen means a valley and Coe is the name of the rivers which runs through the village.
It became even more famous not just because of its breath-taking scenery, but also because of the fact that its beauty was often used as a filming location for blockbusters such as James Bond’s Skyfall and Harry Potter. And we cannot forget to mention the fan favourite show Outlander. Glencoe appears in the intro of every Outlander episode!
Glencoe is also known to locals for historic reasons. And it is sometimes referred to as Glen of Weeping, with reference to the infamous Glencoe massacre. In late 1692 120 soldiers arrived at Glencoe from Fort William under the command of Captain Robert Campbell. In-keeping with traditions of highland hospitality, the MacDonalds of Glencoe accepted these soldiers as guests into their homes and for 12 days the MacDonalds of Glencoe and their Campbell guests lived together as friends. But on the 13th of February, while the MacDonalds slept, the order was given to murder every MacDonald they could find. By dawn 38 people had been murdered, all for the crime of swearing an oath to the King 5 days too late.
But enough with the grim pages of history, let’s now move onto much more positive subject. Which is a Glencoe elopement!
Firstly, let’s explore the reasons why you should elope in Glencoe.
Glencoe Elopement Guide - How to Get Married in Glencoe
More and more couples choose Glencoe as the destination for their elopement, and it's not hard to see why. Let's explore the reasons why people pick this picturesque village to get married.
- The scenery. Glencoe is really a fantastic place to elope and offers so much - winding roads, mountains, rivers, waterfalls... which will be the most incredible backgrounds for your photos. Dramatic and rugged landscapes will surround you at all times. The natural beauty of Glencoe is unparalleled.
- It's easily accessible. While it feels remote and wild, Glencoe is easily accessible from major Scottish cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh or Inverness. This makes it convenient for you and your guests who may be attending! It's just between 2 and 2.5 hour drive away from all the three cities. What is more, travelling between different photo spots in Glencoe isn’t nearly as time-consuming as it could be in other parts of Scotland - such as Isle of Skye for instance. Which means that you can cover more locations in shorter amount of time - so more spots mean a greater variety of scenery in your photos.
- Outdoor adventures. And if you enjoy hiking, love the mountains and wildlife… and spending time surrounded by nature, Glencoe is just for you. Getting to the ceremony spot does not necessarily need to require a long hike though, as Glencoe village offers a number of stunning locations that are also very easy to get to. So, you don’t need to be an avid hiker to be able to elope in Glencoe!
- They're fans of Outlander, Harry Potter or James Bond. Glencoe had a couple of memorable appearances in famous movies. It was chosen to star in these for a reason! There is no more atmospheric place in the UK than Glencoe on misty, rainy days. And if you're a fan of one of those movies and would love to recreate a scene from one or two of them, you have me on board.
Best elopement ceremony locations in Glencoe - Glencoe elopements
So, what’s the best ceremony location in Glencoe? And the best spots for post-ceremony photos? As local Scotland elopement photographer I know all the hidden gems and places with the most stunning views in Glencoe area.
Let’s see what are your options!
The Study / Ralston Cairn elopement
The Study is a viewpoint in the village of Glencoe overlooking the mountains.
And to be specific the Three Sisters of Glencoe - Aonach Dubh, Beinn Fhada and Gearr Aonach. The best, iconic mountainous views are guaranteed when you’re exchanging your vows at the Study! The viewpoint is accessible with a 10-15 minute hike from a lay-by and it’s very easy. The only challenging part of the short hike for some might be getting to the rocky platform where the elopement ceremonies usually take place. But as long as you’re not suffering from mobility issues and have appropriate footwear, it’s a piece of cake.
The pass of Glencoe is a truly majestic elopement location and the most popular one among couples eloping in Glencoe. Which is definitely understandable - it's a beautiful place!
Interestingly, the Three Sisters viewpoint is situated right next to Ralston Cairn - man-made stack of stones build in a memory of someone. In this case, in the memory of a beloved hiker who lived in the area and loved to roam the highland glens.
Loch Etive elopement
Loch Etive is one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland - surrounded by mountains and incredible scenery. It is situated at the end of the Glen Etive road . So if you follow River Etive through the valley, that's what you'll reach.
It's a beautiful location for an elopement for a variety of reasons. Firstly, of course the most stunning views. Secondly, it's not difficult to find a secluded place by the banks of Loch Etive for more privacy during your elopement scenery. And lastly, the place is much lesser known to visitors - compared to for instance Three Sisters of Glencoe or the Little White Hut of Glencoe. Which means that you can definitely avoid crowds of tourists at Loch Etive.
Furthermore, it is worth noting that Loch is the Scottish Gaelic word for a lake so please don't call the lochs lakes. Unless you want to make Scots angry! I'm joking, Scots are super understanding and laid-back people. But it's worth remembering that anyway.
Besides, it is worth nothing that although the Glen Etive road is only 12-miles long, it takes quite a long time to drive it all the way from the A82 road down to Loch Etive. The reason for that is the narrow single-track road that isn't very easy or safe to drive at the speed limit. And if you add the blind corners, blind summits and the necessity to pass other cars using the passing places, it can become quite a time-consuming round trip!
Glencoe Lochan elopement
Glencoe Lochan offers not only some incredible scenery for your elopement in the Scottish highlands, but also plenty of secluded woodland spots for a private marriage ceremony.
My favourite spot for the elopement ceremony is the pine forest with mossy ground, surrounding Glencoe Lochan car park and loch - it's truly a magical setting. Plus, it's off the beaten path so it's super easy to find a private spot to avoid walkers.
Another beautiful spot in the Glencoe Lochan area which is perfect for exchanging vows is the little floating deck on the loch, with stunning mountain background across from it. This spot is located close to the public path though so it will be perfect for very early morning ceremonies.
Glencoe Lochan is a very peaceful and calming place. Personally, I love ceremonies in this area as they feel very romantic and private. Additionally, having your photos taken among tall pine trees allows you to add a variety of landscapes to your wedding photos. Let's not forget that Glencoe area and the Scottish highlands in general are not very rich in forests.
In conclusion, if you're planning a woodland elopement in Scotland, I cannot imagine a better spot that the Glencoe Lochan pine forest.
Why there are such few forests in Glencoe area in Scotland?
People visiting the highlands for the first time are often curious: how come there are such few forests and trees in the Scottish highlands? The reason is that acres of ancient forests were cut down to make place for sheep farms. And as the population grew, more and more trees were harvested as they were used to build houses and infrastructure. The Highland Clearances marked the end of an era of ancient forests in Scotland with the increasing popularity of large scale sheep farming.
At this moment in time only one percent of ancient pine forests remained in Scotland - compared to the situation from centuries ago. Which is why these few remaining woodland areas are so precious for Scots! And of course are admired and appreciated not only by locals, but also visitors.
For more information about Glencoe Lochan click here (includes details about walking trails, parking information and more).
Rannoch Moor elopement
Rannoch Moor, also knows as the Great Moor of Rannoch, is a boggy but beautiful moorland surrounded by mountainous landscapes.
Located just south of Glencoe, it's definitely worth a visit and it's an amazing place for wedding photos. You do need good footwear if you'd like to explore the place though! Personally, I love the look of Rannoch Moor in starts to turn green and yellow wildflowers start to cover the area.
However, it's important not to wander too far into the moor due to its bogginess.
There is a great variety of elements forming the Rannoch Moor landscapes - it consist of lochans (small lochs), rivers, rocks, bogs, landforms, trees and plants. It's famous as a wilderness reserve - providing perfect environment for different species of birds, wild animals and plants. Rannoch Moor was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation - hence it's often called last truly wild place in Scotland.
Buachaille Etive Mòr elopement
Definitely one of the most adored Munro peaks in Scotland located between Glen Etive and Glencoe. Thanks to its distinctive shape the spot is very popular among Scotland elopement photographers. In order to reach the peak, get prepared for a long walk with steep ascents and changeable weather.
But don't worry, you don't have to climb all the way up the mountain though! The foot of Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain is a super picturesque location for an elopement. The bottom of it guarantees pretty epic views anyway and my favourite spots are by the banks of River Coupall.
Buachaille Etive Mòr is also a perfect backdrop for a surprise proposals in Glencoe.
But if it's not your chosen ceremony location, it's a a gorgeous place for at least a few shots at your Glencoe elopement.
White Cottage of Glencoe elopement - The Lagangarbh Hut
Without a doubt, it's an iconic spot on the drive through the Glencoe village. It looks incredible on a foggy afternoon which makes it a great photoshoot background. You will definitely fall in love with the contrast of the lovely house and sharp mountain peaks piercing the Glencoe skyline.
The official name of the little white house is in fact The Lagangarbh Hut.
The little white hut looks lonely, but at the same time truly majestic with a big mountain right in its background. This is why it’s a fantastic place for whoever’s looking for epic wedding or elopement photos.
There are two car parks nearby, one right on the left side if you’re heading north, and one on the opposite side of the street.
Unfortunately the car park closest to the Lagangarbh Hut is not very well maintained, so be careful when parking there. Unless you’re driving an SUV or a 4×4.
Kilchurn Castle elopement at Loch Awe
Although Kilchurn Castle is situated a bit further away from the Glencoe village, it's only a 45-minute drive away.
Banks of Loch Awe provide a very scenic backdrop for wedding and elopement photos. If you like the sound of an outdoor elopement surrounded by nature, but also history in the form of ruins of 15th century castle... then Kilchurn Castle is an ideal wedding spot for you.
Although the castle itself is currently under renovation (2022), the viewpoint on the opposite side side of Loch Awe still provides a fairytale, stunning view. It's an incredible location for sunset photos and for whoever likes the idea of sheep and highland cows running around.
What is worth noting though, is that getting married in the Kilchurn Castle area required a fee and a permit. Which you can apply for through Historic Environment Scotland - the sooner you do it the better! I do need to mention that it is totally worth it.
If you'd like to use this spot for your wedding photos (even without the official ceremony held there) you need to contact the land owner for permission and to pay a fee (around £100).
You can see the exact location of Kilchurn Castle on the map here.
Best photography locations in Glencoe
Glencoe boasts an abundance of beautiful photography locations that will guarantee epic elopement photos. These might not be that suitable for the ceremony itself, as they aren't as secluded. But they're still breath-taking!
So let's explore more amazing Glencoe elopement locations.
Glen Etive road
Moorland, mountains, lochs and huge skies – this is how to quickly describe Glen Etive. Glen Etive is a long valley and a part of the Glencoe area. The Glen Etive road stretches along River Etive and if you follow it until the end you will reach Loch Etive.
The road leading to Glen Etive is a dead-end and requires a single-track drive. So surely not an easy one for a beginner driver – but it’s also one of the most beautiful part of road trips in Scotland. If you ask me – totally worth visiting, since the famous Glencoe winding single-track road offers incredibly picturesque views. You'll be driving through the Glencoe Valley the entire way to Loch Etive. And the views are really spectacular.
Glen Etive creates an immense number of opportunities for stunning wedding photos because of the variety of landscapes at every corner. And you don’t have to travel too far from the Glencoe village itself to get there. If you’re heading north and you have passed the Kingshouse Hotel on your right, the Glen Etive road will be reachable on the first turn left after a 2-minute drive.
There are a couple of stops along Glen Etive Road that are known and liked by Scotland elopement photographers. I have my favourites as well - and I promise to show you around them!
It's worth mentioning that finding a space to park along Glen Etive road is more than tricky. Especially since the road is narrow, you're not allowed to park in passing places and parking is very limited. By choosing a local photographer you make it less of a problem - they will know all the best locations to take photos at and convenient spaces to park.
As a massive Potterhead, I cannot not mention the iconic Harry Potter filming locations within Glen Etive area.
The first one is Loch Etive where multiple scenes from various Harry Potter movies were filmed. Can you remember the scene from the Deathly Hallows Part 2 when Harry, Ron and Hermione jump off the dragon's back and dive into a lake? Well, it was a loch as we would say in Scotland - Loch Etive. What about Part 1 of the Deathly Hallows when Hermione ties her scarf to the tree and the other two are arguing? It was also filmed on the shores of Loch Etive. So if you follow the Glen Etive road in order to reach it, it will bring you to the north bank of the sea loch. What's important to remember though is that there are no roads surrounding Loch Etive.
James Bond Skyfall location in Glen Etive
Glen Etive has appeared in many popular films, including multiple Harry Potter, Braveheart and James Bond's Skyfall.
If you happen to be there, do not forget to seek the famous James Bond’s Skyfall filming location (photo below).
Why not recreate the iconic James Bond moment from Skyfall with your elopement photographer. It’s a great idea for someone who might not even be a proper movie geek, right?
As the Glen Etive road is long and winding, finding the iconic Skyfall filming location might not be easy at first. So make sure that you put the following in your Google maps: James Bond Skyfall Road and you’ll find it easily!
Outside Kingshouse Hotel
Kingshouse Hotel is not only a pretty awesome place to stay, but the views around it are pretty great too.
Buachaille Etive Mòr, little woodland area, pond, ducks - and sometimes even deer! The local deer like to hang out outside the hotel so if you're lucky you'll get to see them too.
Glencoe Mountain Resort
If you consider yourself adventurous enough to want wedding photos in a mountain chairlift, then Glencoe Mountain Resort will be a perfect place for these.
It's also a great spot for avid hikers. Once you get off the chairlift you can hike to the mountain top - secluded spot with jaw-dropping views is guaranteed!
Best wedding and elopement suppliers covering Glencoe area
One of the most important parts of planning a perfect elopement in Scotland is hiring the right suppliers.
Which vendors should you choose for your big day?
Most eloping couples decide to engage services of the following people: humanist celebrant, florist, hair and make-up artist and sometimes also a piper.
Let's explore the list of recommended suppliers who will help make your Glencoe elopement an unforgettable experience.
Humanist celebrants in Glencoe
Ashton Easter - always kilted officiant Ashton is amazing at preparing relaxed, but intimate elopement ceremonies - always full of humour and very wise words of inspiration!
Annalese McDermott - I have photographed multiple elopement and wedding conducted by Annalese and I have to say that she is the kindest soul that will add heartwarming content to your special day. She's based in Edinburgh but sometimes covers ceremonies in the highlands as well.
Alyson Stewart - Alyson is a specialist in crafting emotional, personal humanist ceremonies for eloping couples. She's always full of joy, interest in people and an absolute pleasure to be around.
Florists in Glencoe
Hair and make-up artists in Glencoe
Pipers in Glencoe
Scotland elopement photographer
When booking wedding suppliers for your big day, Scotland elopement photographer is a very (if not most!) important choice to make.
All the moments, tears, laughs and smiles on the day are going to be a beautiful memory once it's over. But photographs will keep your memories alive for years. And you'll be able to share them with your friends and loved ones right after your elopement gallery is delivered.
As Scotland elopement photographer, I deliver the final gallery within 60 days of your elopement day. But - I will share a sneak peek from the day with you within 48 hours from the day too. I understand how impatient my wonderful clients are to see their elopement photos as soon as they can, which is why I always put good effort into sharing a sneak peek with some highlights of the day with you!
What is more, only a local Scotland elopement photographer will be able to show you around lesser known locations and hidden gems. Also, local photographers are familiar with the the area, location of your elopement and will have the ability to answer your questions on various wedding-related matters and offer you useful advice.
Glencoe elopement photography packages
What are the most popular Glencoe elopement packages?
I offer Glencoe elopement coverage starting from 6 hours, but the most popular package among my clients is the 8-hour one which allows to capture their entire elopement day, inclusive of getting ready photos and toast at dinner. Most photographers offer coverage starting at half-day.
But when choosing the right elopement photography package for you there are a number of things to think through.
Firstly, which locations in Glencoe you like the look of and consider how long it might take you to travel between them. Elopement photographers always offer consecutive photography coverage. So it's important to factor the potential travel time between accommodation and ceremony location and then additional photo locations afterwards. Of course you can definitely discuss this with your chosen photographer which I'm sure they'd be happy to advise on!
Although 6 hour of being photographed might sound like a lot, it really isn't. Believe me when I say, 6 hours will pass in no time. And my clients agree with that. Every single time when I say goodbye to my couples on the day I hear : I can't believe the day is almost over!
Secondly, you need to decide whether you'd like getting ready photographs. Personally, I think it's a great idea. Photographs from bridal/groom preparations help capture the entire story of the day. And if you're staying in separate rooms, you might want to consider first look photos as well. As a photographer I really love capturing the first look moment - it always creates an opportunity for images filled with emotions.
Finally, if you're planning a romantic dinner for two in a nice setting, or a nice candlelit dinner with close friends or family at the end of your elopement day, you might want to get some photos from the last part of your day as well.
Accommodation for your Glencoe elopement in Scotland
Good accommodation options in Glencoe especially in high season may be limited. Which is why I encourage you to look into your options and book a great place to stay as soon as possible. Best if it's soon after you have confirmed your elopement date with key elopement suppliers!
The important part when booking accommodation for your wedding is checking whether the place offers catering or whether it’s a self-catering accommodation.
Top tip: choose stylish spaces that allow for lots of natural light to get in.
Light can make or break the image. Sometimes it helps create a unique, stunning image. And sometimes quite the opposite, it can ruin it.
So, regardless of whether you are choosing the wedding venue, or accommodation, natural light is the number one aspect to keep in mind. Spaces with big windows will allow for softer, more atmospheric images. What is more, they won’t force your wedding photographer to an extensive use of a flashlight, which is usually distracting and contributes to the undesirable flatness of photos.
So, what are the best accommodations options in Glencoe?
Glencoe House – big mansion house located in the Glencoe Glen with stunning Loch Leven views. The hotel is beautiful and situated around a 20-minute drive from the Glencoe village. And if it's just the two of you elopers - and no guests or witnesses - the Strathcona Lodges of Glencoe House might be just the perfect choice for you. Private terrace, hot tub, wood burning stove and a supersize king bed - what more could you want?
Without a doubt, Glencoe House is my favourite elopement and wedding accommodation option in the area. Firstly, it guaranteed an abundance of natural light thanks to its big windows in every room of the hotel. Secondly, the surroundings and scenery are incredible. Glencoe Lochan is right on the hotel's doorstep! So it's also a perfect accommodation option for couples wanting their wedding photos in the area of the loch. And also those planning their elopement ceremony by Glencoe Lochan. Moreover, the hotel staff are able to provide you with a fantastic meal for your elopement, prepared only with locally sourced and artisan Scottish ingredients. Finally, Glencoe Lochan hotel's interiors are all about the cosy and rustic - every room is decorated in a stylish and tasteful manner.
In conclusion, a fantastic place to stay!
Kingshouse Hotel – hotel in the most epic location – in the middle of Glencoe village. Incredible food, especially their haggis, neeps and tatties! Most central and accessible location when eloping in Scotland, Glencoe. It’s a great base to explore Glencoe further. And the best choice if you’d like to have your elopement photographs taken in a few locations around the village.
What is more, their wedding suite offers the most stunning views at Buachaille Etive Mòr from the massive terrace! Another great thing about it is that you are very likely to get to see the deer hanging around the hotel car park. So if you bring some carrots for them you can count on some photos with the Scottish wildlife as well!
It’s a big hotel and will be able to accomodate a lot of people travelling together.
Ardrhu House – guest house in Fort William situated by a picturesque loch. The elegant Scottish mansion is easily accessible and guarantees fantastic views at Ben Nevis, Loch Linnhe and Glencoe. Ardrhu House is often praised for its peaceful location, beautiful surroundings and for serving delicious food.
Finally, it also has a SPA – doesn’t a relaxing time at the hotel SPA a day after getting married sound incredible?
Ballachulish Hotel - situated in a picturesque setting right by the sea loch - Loch Linnhe. Great base to explore the beauty of Glencoe and surrounding areas.
Isles of Glencoe Hotel – located just by the Loch Leven and at the foot of Glencoe, Isles of Glencoe Hotel is a perfectly located place if you want to explore the Scottish highlands. The views from your hotel room will blow your mind if you decide to stay here!
Loch Leven Hotel - family-run hotel in a stunning loch-side of Ballachulish setting with mountain views. It also has its own gin distillery!
Dalness Lodge – large holiday home 17 miles from Glencoe, very picturesque scenery. Beautifully renovated Dalness House is able to comfortably accommodate up to 14 people. Dalness Lodge is really a great accommodation choice, especially for micro-weddings. The Victorian lodge is beautifully decorated and guarantees cosy atmosphere. Just imagine relaxing with your close ones by the fire with a nice glass of single-malt or gin... after an adventurous day spent on exploring this part of the Scottish highlands.
If you are a fan of highland cows – they like to hang out in the fields just outside the lodge! And if you’re interested in booking Dalness Lodge as your elopement accommodation or wedding venue, take a look at this beautiful micro-wedding I photographed there last autumn.
What is more, is perfect from a photographer's perspective. Big windows guarantee a lot of natural light coming in. And - as mentioned before - the scenery is truly breath-taking. So it's a fantastic place for exploring locations along Glen Etive road.
Lastly, Dalness Lodge is only let on exclusive basis. Which guarantees privacy and cosy atmosphere! In my opinion Dalness Lodge is a perfect place to stay for a micro-wedding party.
Glenceitlein Cottage – situated in a secluded spot within the beauty of Glen Etive, the Cottage sleeps 4 with 2 bedrooms and it’s pet-friendly. If you love the idea of being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by nature Glenceitlein Cottage is a perfect place to stay. Especially if it's just the two of you and your two witnesses travelling for your Glencoe elopement.
The Old Byre - I couldn't think of a more perfect place to stay for a couple eloping in Glencoe. The Old Byre is a luxury self-catering cottage for two guests, around 40-minute drive from Glencoe village. Incredibly cosy accommodation option in a quiet, peaceful setting.
Camisky Lodge – around 45-minute drive from Glencoe Village, Camisky Lodge is perfect for someone micro-weddings as it can host up to 14 guests. The Victorian lodge is cosy, beautifully refurbished and guarantees incredible views at the surrounding scenery. Including the picturesque nearby river Lochy.
It was built in 19th century as a fishing lodge and once even host to the Prince of Wales! It's located very close to Fort William and a great spot to explore Ben Nevis area from.
Riverbeds Luxury Wee Lodges – luxury lodges with hot tubs in Ballachulish. I can’t think of a better way to relax than to spend a couple of evenings before or after the wedding than chilling in a hot tub! The lodges are incredibly cosy and situated in a very scenic location. You can definitely count on a sense of privacy and to have a truly magical experience. Also, the accommodation is very well equipped and a lot of guests describe it as a perfect romantic place to stay.
Aos Sí Lodges – dog-friendly lodges overlooking Loch Leven, situated in Ballachulish. If you like the idea of luxury glamping it's a perfect choice for you! The owners also focus on being eco-friendly and minimising their impact on the environment and there is no Wi-Fi available at the property.
Dallachulish Lodge - self-catering lodge situated on a farm by Loch Creran in Dallachulish, 30-minute drive from Glencoe.
Strath Lodge - spacious bedrooms with epic views and excellent visitor reviews.
Highland Croft B&B - situated right by Loch Onich, with the most welcoming hosts serving the absolute best home-cooked breakfast in Glencoe.
Where to eat in Glencoe
Since Glencoe is one of the kind of in the middle of nowhere places, it's a good idea to consider meal plans in advance. Of course it's easy-peasy if you're staying in a hotel offering three meals a day, but definitely a bit more tricky if you chose to stay at a Bed & Breakfast or a self-catering accommodation. No worries though, I got you covered.
As a foodie and a constantly hungry gal, food is never not on my mind. Which is why I'm happy to share my top food recommendations in Glencoe!
Glencoe Café - tiny, but cosy place for breakfast and lunch. Not only offers free Wi-Fi, but also really delicious breakfast choices and lunches. The bacon roll I had there was the best little breakfast I've ever had in the area! They also offer homemade soups, scones, jacket potatoes with various fillings and pastries. Glencoe Café also offers good quality coffee and a selection of local gifts and products.
It's a really tiny space though so it might be tricky to get a table inside during lunchtime. Still a great choice if you don't mind eating outside or in the car.
Kingshouse Hotel Restaurant - my favourite restaurant in the Glencoe area. Their fish & chips and venison pie are really tasty. Also, they always have a great selection of cocktails and single malts to choose from. If you're not staying there it might be a bit tricky to get a table for lunch or dinner during holiday season, but you should definitely give them a call and try! You can also try using their online booking system on the website.
Clachaig Inn - good stop for a quick bite - menu offers game pie, haggis, neeps & tatties, good selection of ales and Scottish ciders.
What about places to eat on the way to your elopement location? My favourite places to grab a snack on the way to Glencoe are:
Mhor Bread - when driving from my home town of Edinburgh to Glencoe, Mhor Bread is a place I always visit. It's a bakery and a tea room offering incredible pies, sandwiches and pastries. My go to pie is a steak & haggis one, best served hot!
Ben Ledi Coffee Co - another great café in Callander, right on the opposite side of the street to Mhor Bread. Ben Ledi café offer great selection of cakes and pastries. Another point for some good gluten-free and dairy-free options. Finally, great coffee!
Glencoe Elopement Day Checklist - what to pack and what to remember about
If it's your first time in Scotland, or maybe you haven't travel much around the Scottish highlands... but you decided to elope here, this is the checklist for you.
Primarily, the first rule of a Scottish elopement is being prepared.
It's good to be prepared and have a list of essential items prior to heading to the Scottish highlands for the biggest adventure of your life. And with my ultimate elopement packing checklist I will make it super easy for you!
So, what is important to bring for an elopement day in the highlands?
1. Appropriate footwear / hiking boots
This is probably the most important thing that should be one of the top 3 things on your Glencoe elopement checklist.
Even if you're lucky enough to have the most amazing, sunny weather on your elopement day, good boots are absolutely necessary.
As even on warm days some areas of the Scottish highlands are boggy and wet. So if you're a wee bit unlucky and step into a bog you'll be covered in mud. Therefore, ankle boots with a waterproof layer are always the best option.
So, make sure that you pack appropriate footwear. And remember that boots look super cool with a stunning wedding gown. Also, in combination with long dress they won't even be visible most of the time. Personally, I love that combination way more than high heels and a wedding dress.
When it comes to groom's wedding attire, there is always an option to change to more elegant shoes for the ceremony. But by no means necessary! Basically, choose whetever looks best in your option. And what's the comfiest choice, of course.
Lastly, if you're having guests at your elopement - please mention that to them too! I've witnessed elopements in the crazy wind and rain with some of the wedding guests wanting to wear heels or sandals at them. It's important to make sure that they are also aware of boots being absolutely necessary to get to the ceremony spot, regardless of what the weather looks like. It can change any minute. Plus, paths in Glencoe often stay boggy and wet even on dry and sunny days.
Also, don't forget the wool socks. Just in case.
2. Clear umbrellas
Fact: the wettest parts of Scotland experience even 250 days rainy days per year on average.
So it's a good idea to have some decent umbrellas prepared for your elopement. As Scotland elopement photographer who always looks at things from the photography perspective as well, I always advise my clients to purchase two clear umbrellas for that occasion.
There are lots of reasons why clear umbrellas are the best choice for a Scottish elopement. But the most important ones are - primarily - that they won't cover your faces from photographer's camera even if it rains heavily. Secondly, they will be a great element of every photograph!
Clear umbrellas won't spoil the photos as they don't have any logos or distracting elements on them. So getting one or two classy clear umbrellas is never a bad idea. Or more - if you’re expecting guests and don’t like the idea of of colorful, patterned umbrellas spoiling the mood in your wedding photos.
Clear umbrellas will:
- Look great in photographs
- Protect you from the unpredictable Scottish weather and keep you dry
- Won’t hide your smiling faces
So it’s always good to ensure you are covered, especially on your wedding day in Scotland. Literally!
3. Tartan shawl or blanket to keep you warm and to add Scottish accent to your elopement
Tartan, often called plaid in different parts of the world, is a uniquely Scottish product which Scotland is super famous for.
Nowadays, it is most often used to make kilts, blankets, scarfs, wraps and shawls.
Scottish tartan shawl or wrap will make a fantastic addition to your list of elopement essentials, it will also add colour to your elopement photos. And - of course - will keep you warm on a windy day.
Scottish shops offer lots of stylish tartan designs. My favourite tartan accessories are designed by Tartan Blanket Co. - company based in Edinburgh. I spent lots of money on oversized scarves from the Tartan Blanket and I love them all - no regrets!
4. Rain poncho / windbreaker
Scottish weather is very often unpredictable and changes all the time.
My personal experiences as a Scottish photographer prove that better than anything. One time, during a photoshoot in Isle of Skye when hiking up the Old Man of Storr in the middle of May, me and my eloping couple got caught up in a hail storm. The funny thing is - the weather forecast which I generally considered rather accurate had shown 0% chance of rain or snow. The sun and an epic sunrise were supposed to be the most likely on that day!
Billy Connolly who's a famous Scottish comedian one said: In Scotland, there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes.
So the important thing when eloping in Scotland is that you're prepared for all types of weather. Waterproof and windproof jacket, even when you're planning to visit Scotland in the summer, is always good to have. Even if you're not planning on wearing an outdoor jacket during a photoshoot or elopement, you can always put it on before or after to avoid getting super cold or wet.
5. Bug spray - don’t let the midges get you down
Midges are probably the most annoying insects you might see in Scotland. You won't if you're lucky - or if you're visiting Scotland between late September and middle of May.
They are prevalent in the Scottish highlands. The unwritten rule is that the further up north you go, the more likely it is they'll try to ruin your time outdoors. Which is quite unfortunate. July and August are usually considered the worst midge season, especially on relatively warm and rainy days. Thankfully they don't like wind so on windy days in Scotland you are very likely to avoid them.
Don't worry just yet though. Scots have some good methods on how to fight these annoying little insects!
First of all, if you're eloping in Scotland in July or August, make sure to pack Smidge and Avon Skin So Soft in your suitcase before your trip. They are quite effective insect repellents in spray form, usually also available on Amazon. Make sure to have one of them with you at all times when outdoors. And always spray them on all exposed skin areas. Also, if you've not had the chance to buy them before arriving in Scotland, most shops in the Scottish highlands should have both of these sprays available to buy.
Smidge and Avon Skin So Soft are also effective against ticks and other insects. Ticks are much more dangerous than midges so after every day spent outdoors in Scotland, check your skin thoroughly.
Finally, it's not a bad idea to get a tick remover or tweezers just in case. It's not difficult to get and it's best to do so just before the trip to the highlands or when you get to Glencoe. In Glencoe village you can get one in every little shop, such as the Glencoe Village Store.
6. Download offline maps
Around 20% of areas in Scotland don't have a very good broadband and mobile coverage, regardless of which network you're with.
And unfortunately the Scottish Highlands have the worst coverage in the UK. Which is why it's a good idea to download the offline Google maps before your trip - to avoid situation when you are not able to find your way to a specific place.
Snacks are an important thing to consider. Especially if you've decided on a sunrise or sunset elopement and might not have a chance to have a meal before your elopement ceremony or after the photoshoot.
Most supermarkets in Scotland are open from 10am to 10pm, but in smaller towns and villager shops might be closing earlier. Also, alcohol is only sold until 10pm. So if you've managed to find a shop open 24/7 you might not be able to get a bottle of wine or champagne you wanted. And shops tend to close earlier than in other parts of the country.
If you'd like to avoid shopping for crisps at a supermarket, there are some amazing bakeries and cafes all around Scotland.
And if you'd like some advice as you don't know the area - please let me know and I will try to send over a list of my favourite places to eat there. And remember to stay hydrated, too! So it's good to get a six-pack of small bottles of water to keep in the boot at all times. Just in case.
Good spots to grab some snacks in Glencoe are:
Backpack is an absolute must-have for your Glencoe elopement. You can pack all the necessary things in it, whether it's snacks, tissues, hairbrush, bottle of water, phone... all the necessities!
9. Vow books
Vow books add a romantic feel to the elopement ceremony.
Although a lot of couples decide to read their vows from their phone or an iPad, I think hand-written vows in cute little books are so much nicer. What is more, they are also an incredible keepsake. Even after years and years after your elopement day.
So if you want your photos to look timeless, avoid phones and other electronic devices during the elopement ceremony.
10. Coins/change and banknotes
It's worth having some change on you in case you need to park somewhere where the parking meter doesn't accept card payments.
Also, some food places only take cashless payment so in case you'd like to leave a tip then you might only be able to do so in cash.
11. Champagne / prosecco
There's nothing better than celebrating tying the knot with a bottle of fizz! Whether traditional or non-alcoholic, it's something that's an essential packing item for lots of couples.
And, most importantly, champagne pop photos at an elopement are absolutely epic!
Just remember to aim the champagne bottle away from everyone, prepare the cork to pop without shaking (just yet!) and then shake, shake, SHAKE!!!
Tips to make your Glencoe elopement perfect
In this paragraph, I'm going to discuss some tips to consider when planning your elopement in Glencoe. To make it even more of a memorable and beautiful day!
Choose the right time of the day for the elopement ceremony and photos
Every Scotland elopement photographer knows that the key to epic wedding photos is light. Right next to beautiful landscapes and adventurous couples, of course. Therefore, choosing the right time of the day for the elopement ceremony is crucial, to guarantee that your elopement photos turn out beautiful.
But what does good light mean? What photographers usually mean using this term is simply soft, natural light. Which is why, for instance, we hate the idea of taking photos in harsh, midday light of a cloudless day. It's because harsh light is bright light, without shade which produces dark shadows on the subject. For that reason, wedding photographers will always advise you that midday ceremony on a sunny day is a bad idea.
Now, the important question is - how to guarantee that we'll have the most amazing light during our elopement?
This will differ significantly based on the season of the year when you've chosen to elope in Scotland.
To give you an example, summer days in Scotland are very long. For instance, in mid-June it doesn't get fully dark until almost 11pm (1) in most areas in Scotland. And it might be even later further up north. Which is why, it might be a good idea to plan your elopement ceremony later in the day, in the late evening.
Lastly, final thing to consider is the crowds in popular spots in Glencoe, especially in the spring and summer. Sunrise and sunset ceremonies guarantee that there will be fewer people around during your elopement ceremony so it will be more intimate.
So what's the best time of the year to elope in Glencoe?
Let's go through all seasons of the year and look at average sunrise and sunset times. And of course, the weather.
Spring in Glencoe
March - sunrise time 6-7am / sunset time 6-8pm hours (note: Daylight Saving Time starts on 26th March 2023 - shift clocks change 1 hour forward)
April - sunrise time around 6am / sunset time 8-9pm
May - sunrise time 4:30-5:30am / sunset time 9-10pm
Best time for an elopement ceremony in Glencoe in the spring could be 4pm or 5pm, leaving time for photos right until the sunset. Alternatively, it might be sunrise ceremony at 6am or a sunset one at 7pm or 8pm.
Summer in Glencoe
June - sunrise time 4:30am / sunset time around 10pm
July - sunrise time 4:30-5:30am / sunset time 9:30-10pm
August - sunrise time 5:30-6:30am / sunset time 8:30-9:30pm
Best time for a summer elopement ceremony could be 4pm or 5pm, depending how much photography coverage you've booked with your Scotland elopement photographer. Sunset could be a great time too. And sunrise ceremony could be just the perfect option for very early birds!
Autumn in Glencoe
September - sunrise time 6:30-7:30am / sunset time 7-8pm
October - sunrise time 7:30-8:30am / sunset time 7-8pm (note: Daylight Saving Time end on 29th October 2023 - clocks change 1 hour backwards)
November - sunrise time 7:30-8:30am / sunset time 3:30-4:30pm
I love autumn in the Scottish highlands, I truly cannot say it enough. Sunrise ceremony in autumn months is a perfect option - you'll most likely have the whole place to yourselves. And since the sunset time is quite early in the day, why not keep taking photos until the sunset? Fingers crossed for the soft light of the golden hour!
What might be worth noting is that autumnal colours appear in the highlands much later compared to the central belt of Scotland (like Edinburgh or the Scottish borders). Hence why if you're into the idea of stunning autumnal colours in photos, you should consider getting married at the end of October or in November. September is still very green, whereas the colours in Glencoe at the beginning of October are definitely more yellow, rather than orange and brown.
If you're considering eloping in Glencoe during autumn, you might want to read about why autumn is the best time to elope in Scotland.
Winter in Glencoe
December - sunrise time 8:30-9am / sunset time 3-4pm
January - sunrise time 8:30-9am / sunset time 4-5pm
February - sunrise time 7:30-8:30am / sunset time 4-5pm
Although winter in Scotland is truly beautiful with snow-capped mountains and deep orange landscapes, the weather can be quite wild. February in particular, tend to be quite windy and stormy. Winter Glencoe elopements can be most magical though so don't get discouraged. It will be epic, I promise you!
If you're lucky to get a sunny day when eloping, then getting married at sunrise and sunset can be the best option from the lighting perspective.
Embrace the rain on your elopement day (!)
First of all, many believe that rain on your wedding day means good luck and that the marriage will last!
Many brides absolutely dread the thought that it might rain on their special day. Especially if the soon-to-be-married couple have chosen to get married outdoors.
But, especially in Scotland, believe it or not - a bit of rain will add magic to your wedding photos. As long as it’s not pouring down to the point of you being completely soaked within 5 minutes, there is really nothing to worry about. As much as a wedding day shower can happen almost anywhere, in Scotland it’s definitely an essential thing to consider. Thankfully, it’s really not as much of a disaster as most people think. And all you need to do is to plan ahead.
Finally, please remember that even on the rainiest day you’d usually get a rainless break throughout the day. And there is truly nothing more beautiful than a misty, rainy day in Glencoe. And many people would say that it's not really a Glencoe elopement without a touch of rain!
Get married on a weekday
Glencoe is a very popular destination among mountaineers, hillwalkers, holidaymakers. And locals who enjoy wild swimming and sports activities in the great Scottish outdoors.
Therefore it gets super busy in the high season. Hence my advice: choose a weekday to elope! Especially in the summer, between June and end of August.
Weekdays are far less busy compared to weekends. And there are fewer issues with finding a place to park, the area is quieter and more peaceful.
Unplugged elopement ceremony
Although historically an elopement would mean that there is just the two of you and no one else, nowadays many couples choose to have a couple of closest people around for their elopement day.
So if you're planning to invite some people to join you, an unplugged ceremony is worth considering. An unplugged elopement or wedding basically means that the newlyweds ask their wedding guests not to use their phones during the ceremony or on the day.
The main reason why so many couples ask their guests not to use phones on their wedding day is to experience the wedding fully and be present in the moment, instead of experiencing moments by looking at them through a phone screen.
If this sounds like a good idea to you, you can ask the celebrant or a person conducting your wedding ceremony to, just before starting, ask the guests not to take photos throughout the duration of the ceremony. As you left this job to a professional and you will gladly share the photos with everyone interested after your elopement day! But if you'd really like for the ceremony to be recorded, it might be best to bring a sturdy tripod with you and attach your phone to it, so your ceremony can be recorded without any of the guests having to hold onto the device for the entire time.
To sum up, unplugged elopement and wedding ceremones are full of emotions and guarantee that the guests are fully engaged. As Scotland elopement photographer - I cannot recommend them enough!
Include Scottish wedding rituals in your Glencoe elopement
There's a whole variety of Scottish wedding traditions and many eloping couples choose to incorporate them into their elopement ceremony.
In this paragraph I'll explore the most popular and meaningful ones.
Celtic hand-fasting ceremony
If you're an Outlander show fan, you might already be aware what a hand-fasting is! Jamie and Claire’s wedding in Outlander had strong elements of Scottish wedding traditions, hand-fasting being one of them.
I'm more than sure that you're familiar with the phrase tying the knot. But did you know that the expression originates from the ritual of hand-fasting? Hand-fasting is a symbolic Celtic ritual. Partners stand face to face to each other and have their hands tied together. It is often described as joining of the hands. Hence the phrase, tying the knot!
The ritual of hand-fasting dates back to ancient Celtic times. And it symbolises binding of two lives, togetherness and trust.
During the ceremony, the humanist celebrant always starts with explaining the meaning of hand-fasting ritual. Subsequently, the couple then join hands together and the officiant proceeds with reading the vows. After that, partners can choose to exchange personal vows as well.
It's a great idea to bring your own hand-fasting cords to your marriage ceremony. This way you will be able to choose your own material - and keep the knotted hand-fasting cords after getting married as a wonderful keepsake.
My favourite type of hand-fasting cords is tartan ribbon as it's very beautiful and traditional. Back in the days two cords of two clan tartans were wrapped around the partners' hands. An important thing to remember is that it's best to have 2 separate and slighty different cords prepared, so that the officiant can conduct this ritual for you in a traditional Scottish way.
The Quaich ceremony - Scottish love-cup
A Quaich ceremony is a Scottish traditional two-handled cup. It is also often referred to as the love cup. But how is it used during the wedding ceremony?
Each of the partners need to take a handle to have a drink. It symbolises trust between two people. As much as you can fill it with a drink of your choice, in Scotland it is usually whisky. Although some couples choose to combine two different drinks to symbolise two parties becoming one.
In 1589 King James VI of Scotland presented a quaich to Anne of Denmark at their wedding. Since the vessel started to be incorporated in Scottish wedding ceremonies.
Traditionally, quaich was a ceremonial love cup. In the past it was used by two families or Scottish clans wanting celebrate a bond in a ceremony form, with each leader of the clan or the head of the family taking a sip of the drink from the vessel.
Nowadays, it symbolises the sharing between the couple.
Additionally, to add personal details to your ceremony you can choose to order a quaich with an engraving. Many eloping couples love the idea of keeping it as a keepsake, with their elopement date and their names engraved onto the quaich. Finally, when choosing to have a quaich ceremony at your elopement, the best whisky choice would be a Scottish one from a distillery in the highlands.
Write your own vows
Exchanging your own vows with each other is a way to make your day more personal. And to fill it with emotions.
If you haven't had time to write your personal vows beforehand, why not write a few words in the morning of the elopement day? It's a wonderful moment to photograph. You can sit by the window soaked in natural light whilst your photographer will take a couple of shots of you with a pen and paper.
Sometimes it's just about a few heartfelt sentences about your other half that will make them shed a little tear during the ceremony. As Scotland elopement photographer I truly love photographing these precious moments for couples.
And after your elopement ceremony, you can keep your vow books as a heartwarming memory of your wedding day for the years to come.
Plan the meal / dinner around the elopement schedule
Depending on whether you're staying at a hotel, bed and breakfast or a self-catering accommodation, arranging a hot meal on your elopement day might be an easy or slightly more difficult task on the to do list.
To begin with, if you're not starting at the sunrise, it's definitely important to get a nice, filling breakfast before heading out to roam the great Scottish outdoors. You will get hungry very quickly after walking and hiking around for photos, trust me!
Another question to ask yourselves is - would we like a break during the photoshoot to grab a meal, or is it better to have lunch or dinner afterwards? During autumn and wintertime my advise would be to wait until it gets dark to make the most of the best light on the day, and eat afterwards. Since in the summer days are incredibly long though, it might be best to pencil in a 2-hour break for food during the day, and then continue taking photos until the sunset time.
When it comes to confetti exit, remember that it’s not reserved just for big weddings. Many couples choose to incorporate it in their wedding day even at micro weddings or elopements! Whether it's just the two of you eloping, or you are accompanied by witnesses or having a micro-wedding - a mini confetti exit isn't off limits!
Confetti photos are always incredibly joyful and energetic due to spontaneous reactions of the newlyweds.
Above all, one thing to consider when planning a confetti exit is to choose eco-friendly, bio-degradable type. Whether it's naturally dried flower petals or a different confetti type, always choose the most environmentally-friendly option.
To sum up, including elements of a traditionally big wedding into your elopement is a great idea. You can throw the confetti yourself, ask your humanist celebrants to do so, or get a few of your wedding guests to do that. Confetti photos are incredible and there's never a good reason not to incorporate them in your elopement.
Your Glencoe elopement photos will get even more creativity with some eco-friendly confetti!
Wear a kilt
If you're Scottish, it's a no-brainer. Most Scottish men choose to wear a kilt for their elopement.
But can non-Scottish people wear kilts? Many of my foreign clients ask me that question before making a decision about their wedding attire. But what's the answer? Absolutely yes. But there is one requirement.
Truly anyone can wear a kilt on their elopement day in Scotland - as long as it's a way of showing appreciation for the Scottish culture and not as a joke, for instance. Other than that, there are no rules!
Put on a tweed suit
Nothing goes better with the rugged Scottish landscapes than a tweed suit!
Tweed suits not only look incredibly stylish, but also will keep you warm in the ever-changing, often quite windy Scottish weather.
Edinburgh is probably one of the best places in Scotland to get one - with my favourite place to shop for a tweed suit being Walker Slater.
It's a company with a great sense of tradition that values sustainability and most of all, Scottish heritage and style. When shopping for a suit with my boyfriend last year, this is the first place we went to - and a perfect suit landed in his shopping bag 45 minutes after walking into the store! What is more, it is worth noting that Walker Slater use Harris tweed to make their tweed garments.
Harris tweed is produced locally in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and is exported to over 50 countries all over the world.
Why is a Harris tweed suit a great choice for groom's wedding attire? First of all, it will keep you warm. Secondly, Harris tweed resists water and it can be cleaned easily. Finally, it looks so good. And it will add more Scottish essence to you big day.
Bring your dog(s) with you
I'd definitely describe myself as a 100% dog person which is why I love photographing dogs at weddings!
It's an awesome idea to have your beloved pet witness his/her humans get married in a scenic, outdoor spot. Having your dog with you will make the day even more special.
Thankfully, there are many accommodation options which are dog friendly so finding a great place to stay should not be an issue. And if your dog is well-trainer, why not let him be a ring-bearer?
Hire a videographer
If you feel like you'd love to have a video with highlights from your elopement day in Scotland, then you can't go wrong with hiring a videographer. Most Scottish videographers offer a few-minute highlight video which will be an amazing thing to show your friends and loved ones. And rewatch, every anniversary.
Activities to make your time in Glencoe more fun
There are so many popular activities in the Glencoe area. You can either incorporate some of them in your elopement day, or plan them before or after your wedding day. Scotland elopement photographers such as myself agree that adding some activities to your day or your stay in the area can make it super fun.
What are the most fun activities then?
Jacobite steam train - see the Harry Potter train at Glenfinnan Viaduct
I do have to admit - I'm a total Potterhead. Which is why - if you are too - seeing or taking a ride on the Jacobite steam train is an absolute must. Glenfinnan village is situated around a 45-minute drive north from Glencoe and it's totally worth it.
Both the train and the viaduct were featured in numerous Harry Potter films. The scenery is really breathtaking, especially in autumn where the colours in the area change to yellows, oranges and browns.
But there are some important things to note. First of all, it's a good idea to arrive early, because the car parks fills very quickly and you need to reserve a few minutes to make a payment at the parking meter. Furthermore, the hike to the viewpoint which guarantees the best view takes around 15-20 minutes, depending on the weather. Secondly, make sure you arrive at the right viewpoint as there are three of them! Lastly, make sure that you check the timetables in advance. Nothing would be more devastating than missing the right time by arriving too late by just a few minutes! There is a morning and an afternoon service but they run in specific times of the day and month, from spring to late autumn.
To sum up, Glenfinnan Viaduct is an iconic location and it's worth visiting even if you're not a Harry Potter fan. Without a doubt. So I recommend it to everyone!
For more information about tickets and timings visit the West Coast Railways.
Visit Loch Eilt with the famous Eilean na Moine island
Another must-see place for Harry Potter fans. Can you remember it from the films?
Eilean na Moine is used as a setting used in scenes with Dumbledore's grave - it's where his white tomb was placed after Hogwart's headmaster's funeral.
But not only for those, though!
Do you remember a scene from Prisoner of Azkaban with heartbroken Hagrid standing in the water up to his knees, skimming stones and telling Harry, Hermione and Ron about the verdict on Buckbeak's execution, following his attack on Malfoy? This specific scene was put together using CGI effects and merging Eilean na Moine island with the landscape of Loch Arkaig.
What about the scene with Harry and Lupin chatting about Dementors at the loch in Prisoner of Azkaban? Also Loch Eilt!
Additionally, scenery of Loch Eilt was also used in many majestic scenes around Hogwarts. Finally, Loch Eilt also appears in many scenes showing Hogwarts Express from outside.
It takes around 1-hour drive to get to Loch Eilt from Glencoe. And I totally recommend checking it out, the place is truly incredible. The lay-by is not in the best condition at the moment though so be careful when parking your car there.
Also, please note that the path leading to the best Eilean na Moine viewpoint gets super boggy and muddy so waterproof boots are indispensable. Here's the link to Google maps with best parking spot.
Hiking and discovering hidden gems of Glencoe
There are so many hidden gems in Glencoe area - and you can discover them by planning a couple of hikes!
My favourite one is Hidden Valley, which also goes by the name Lost Valley (Coire Gabhail).
The Lost Valley hike is considered moderate in terms of difficulty and it takes around 3 hours. For more information about this hike visit the Walk Highlands website.
Another beautiful and not a very challenging hike is the one to Steall Falls (Steall Waterfall). It's a short, 2-mile hike through Nevis Gorge. It is worth noting that it's the second-highest waterfall in Scotland. But also the second highest in the United Kingdom!
Lastly, a full and comprehensive list of best hikes in Glencoe area can be found here.
Drive down the famous Glen Etive road
If you're not having your elopement photos taken along the scenic Glen Etive road, you cannot miss it. So I recommend that you take a drive on this famous, narrow, single-track road leading you through the most epic landscapes Scottish highlands have to offer.
There are two options when it comes to kayaking in Glencoe area - lake or sea kayaking.
As sea kayaking requires a certain level of skill, it's always better to book this activity with an experiences instruction, on an excursion. But when it comes to loch kayaking (kayaking on the lake), you can do it anywhere - as long as the weather is decent, so that's important to check. You can simply rent two kayaks and take them to a scenic loch of your choosing, and the adventure begins!
It's a pretty cool idea to incorporate kayaking in your elopement day in Glencoe or into your engagement photoshoot, but leave it until the end of the day to minimise the possibility of falling into the water! If you choose to book me as your Scotland elopement photographer then I'll be excited to photograph this part of your day.
Climb the highest mountain in the UK - Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis is not only the highest mountain in Scotland, but also the entire United Kingdom. If climbing mountains is something you enjoy, then why not plan a hike up Ben Nevis?
Personally, I wouldn't describe myself as an avid hiker - but I think the views from the summit are definitely worth the effort!
Wild swimming is quickly gaining popularity in Scotland. But what exactly is wild swimming, you may ask?
It's described as swimming outside in a natural pool of water, which in Scotland is always quite cold (by my standards - VERY!). But it's also a memorable adventure. Although it may definitely be more enjoyable in the summer, which higher temperatures.
So where to find the best spots for wild swimming in Glencoe? The most popular ones include natural pools along the River Etive, alongside the Glen Etive road. Loch Etive, at the end of Glen Etive road, is also a suitable and beautiful place for an evening dip in the water following your elopement!
Visit a whisky distillery
This one is a must for all the whisky-lovers!
So many of my elopers were attracted to the idea of eloping in Scotland also because of their love for this spirit, not just because of the incredible views.
The most visited distillery in Glencoe area is Ben Nevis Distillery situated in Fort William, so just a short drive away.
How to drive around Glencoe and the Scottish highlands
First and foremost, please look into the driving rules and drive carefully. Or simply read the paragraph below in which I summarise the most crucial driving rules.
Glencoe has many single-track roads which might seem a bit challenging to drive on, but I promise - as long as you know the rules and drive carefully and don’t speed you have nothing to worry about. But let’s start with explaining - what is a single-track road? It’s a two-way road which is narrow enough that won’t fit two cars, which basically means that you need to use passing places to pass one another. What are the important things to remember when driving on such roads?
First of all, take extra care, especially at blind corners and blind summits.
Secondly, reduce your speed when you see a vehicle coming from the opposite direction - whether you or them are closer to the passing place at that point, that vehicle needs to use the passing place to pull in and give way to the incoming vehicle.
Also, only pull in the passing place if it’s on your side of the road (don’t ever use the passing place located on the right). You need to pass the other vehicle slowly, and take extra care when passing cyclists, walkers, sheep and wild animals.
Another very important rule - don’t EVER park in passing places. By doing so, you may completely block the traffic, making it impossible for cars on the road to pass each other and can lead to accidents. You may also end up with a massive fine! So, you should only ever park in designated car parks by the road.
Moreover, if you’re not feeling very comfortable driving on single-track roads just yet and you prefer to take it slow, that’s totally fine. Please remember though that these roads are used by locals on a daily basis, so if someone wants to overtake you, pull in the nearest passing place for a second to allow them to do so. You shouldn’t be blocking the road for other users, it might end up getting people annoyed and it’s against the fair behaviour rules on Scottish roads.
Finally, it’s a good practice to wave at another driver if they reversed their vehicle for you or waited in a passing place for you, so you can pass. Scots are friendly people and it’s good manners to be friendly in return!
Glencoe elopement inspiration
The best way to find inspiration for your elopement in Glencoe is to firstly - read this guide. Secondly, to look through the galleries of couples who has chosen to elope. If you feel like you need some inspiration before deciding on the key elements of your elopement wedding, here are some wedding stories I had the pleasure to recently document.
Where to elope in Scotland - Scotland elopements
If you chose to elope in Scotland, you have so many options. And of course eloping in Glencoe is just one of them.
But if you're still unsure whether eloping is the right choice for you, read my article about 10 sings that elopement is the right choice for you.
Plan an elopement which is true to you
And if you'd like to look into all your elopement options, feel free to explore my Scotland elopement guide. The guide covers legal requirements of marrying in Scotland, best time of the year to elope, indoor and outdoor elopement options... basically all you need to know! Equally important, would be remembering to plan everything according to what you really want. Therefore - ditch the unwanted traditions. Introduce unique elements. There are no restrictions - remember that. And create your own, personal adventure.
And if you're looking for a Scotland elopement photographer to document your wonderful day in the highlands, I'd love to hear from you.
Finally, please remember that your choices related to your Glencoe elopement day need to feel like the best choice for you. In every way.
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