Sitting at roughly 740 meters elevation above sea level the Pap of Glencoe might be overlooked due to the jagged peaks that surround it, but don’t be mistaken, this pinnacle of rock can provide a challenging hike and stunning views looking down to Glencoe, Fort William, and out across Loch Leven.
To approach this hike with a car coming north on the A82, follow the road into the village until just past the mountain rescue hut, perfectly located to whisk you of the pap if you get stuck, where there will be a right turn onto the B863. Take the next turn immediately on your right, the road is called The Carnoch. Follow this down past the Nisa Local supermarket and across the bridge and straight on, ignoring the road on your left just over the bridge. Follow the road parallel to the river, past the big metal electrical station, take the next left into a small gravelled area at the start of the forest track, this is a good place to leave your car.
From there walk down the road a few hundred meters, keeping your eyes peeled for the gated entrance to the house Laraichean, take the next gate on the left after this one. A small plastic sign was up last I did the walk, which made it easy to ensure the correct route was taken. The path should then lead straight up a small hill, a nice little warm up to the near vertical you will shortly be slogging up.
There is a right turn over a wooden footbridge near the crest of the hill, take this and follow the path across the hillside. Sections of this path will be very boggy and wet if there has been lots of rain, so don’t make the same mistake as me and forget to waterproof your boots. You will cross a small stream and the path will begin to slope uphill to the right,
this is where the fun really starts. It’s hard to go very wrong once you hit this path, which is well eroded by feet and water. You will eventually reach a pass between the pap and its neighbouring Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh. Then path then traverses to the base of the pap, and the ascent begins towards the north face before you double back towards the left once the crest of the pap is in view.
The views from the top are stunning, spanning 360 degrees and breath-taking at every angle. Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh will loom behind you as you gaze out towards Loch Linnhe. You will forget about the ache in your legs as you look around at the wonders of the Scottish mountains and, trust me, you will be very glad that you took the time and effort to get yourself up the pap.
The walk will be steep and hard, but you can take your time with it, the last section near the top of the pap can be a bit of a scramble. Always check the weather before you set off and bring lots of water. It should take between 4 and 5 hours to complete.