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Glencoe, The Terrible Glen

Glencoe has always impressed the traveller. Dorothy Wordsworth's description of its grandeur is well known, but perhaps more effective is this passage from a letter by Dickens quoted in Forster's " Life."

All the way, the road had been among moors and mountains with huge masses of rock, which fell down God knows where, sprinkling the ground in every direction, and giving it the aspect of the burial place of a race of giants. Now and then we passed a hut or two, with neither window nor chimney, and the smoke of the peat fire rolling out at the door. But there were not six of these dwellings in a dozen miles; and anything so bleak and wild, and mighty in its loneliness, as the whole country, it is impossible to conceive.

Glencoe itself is perfectly terrible. The pass is an awful place. It is shut in on each side by enormous rocks from which great torrents come rushing down in all directions. In amongst these rocks on one side of the pass (the left as we came) there are scores of glens, high up, which form such haunts as you might imagine yourself wandering in, in the very height and madness of a fever. They will live in my dreams for years, I was going to say as long as I live, and I seriously think so. The very recollection of them makes me shudder.

Charles Dickens

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