During the month of August, there is a wonderful opportunity to take the two person ski lift (The Scenic Chair) to the hidden valley on the slopes of Aonach Mor. In winter, the chair lift is referred to as the 'Great Glen Chair' and is used by skiers and snowboarders to gain access to the snowclad slopes.
The scenic chair departs from the Gondola Top Station (altitude of 650 metres) and operates between 11am and 2pm. The journey takes about 20 minutes and extends across the hillside affording some fabulous views of Fort William, Leanachan forest, Loch Eil, Loch Linnhe and the Great Glen on route.
Disembark at the end where there is a small seasonal cafe (not in use on our trip), with wooden benches outside. The wooden benches are ideal for a flask of coffee or a picnic lunch.
Take time to admire the stunning views or take a wander or climb across the upland meadow and heath to immerse yourself the beauty of this awesome place.
Scan the slopes and peak for mountain hare, red deer, ptarmigan, raven and golden eagle. Look out for the signs of pine marten.
Plant assemblages include Calluna and Erica species with deer grass, (Scirpus cespitosus) and purple moor-grass (Molinia caerulea)), and Empetrum-Vaccinium (Crowberry-Bilberry) heath with occasional bearberry (Arctostaphylus uva-urni). The upland grassland consists variously of matgrass (Nardus stricta), Tufted Hair-grass (Descampsia cespitosa), Wavy hair grass (D. flexuosa), sheep's fescue (Festuca ovina) and Viviparous sheep's-fescue (F. vivipara), interspersed with stiff sedge (Carex bigelowii); according to local conditions.
Look out for the patches of creeping willow (Salix repens) and alpine lady's mantle. Bog asphodel sparkles like amber in the damper ground.
A lovely scenic trip across the slopes of Aonach Mor to the hidden valley affording some spectacular views on route. A great trip.