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A Year in the Life of Glencoe
A Year In Glencoe

Glencoe Books

Glencoe Hillwalks
Hillwalks: Glencoe and Lochaber (Hill Walks)

Fort William and Glen Coe Walks
Fort William and Glen Coe Walks (Ordnance Survey Pathfinder Guides)

Glencoe Massacre



Macdonald Monument


Tour Scotland, Glencoe

Glencoe Scotland Photograph

House in Glencoe Pass, impressive Scottish landmark and site of the Massacre of Glencoe, Scotland. 10x8 Photograph (25x20cm) House in Glencoe Pass from Robert Harding.

Perhaps the most famous glen in the Highlands, Glencoe runs roughly east to west for seven and a half miles from a 1,011 feet col near Altnafeadh, on the edge of the Moor of Rannoch, to Loch Leven at Carnach. Through its gloomy, but very impressive, length runs the little river and the present road, the building of which caused so much controversy in the 1930’s when conservationists fought and lost their battle to prevent the beauty and tranquillity of the glen being violated. By common usage, however, the name Glencoe has become descriptive of the whole river valley, eastward as far as the river Etive near Kingshouse.

Much of the glen has been acquired by the National Trust for Scotland and contains some of the finest rock climbing mountains in the land, thus making the ramparts that flank the glen a mecca for climbers from all over the United Kingdom. The river Coe, or Cona, enters the glen through a steep-sided gorge interlaced with waterfalls. To the north are the crests of Beinn A’ Chrulaiste (2,805 feet) and Meall A’ Bhealaich (2,291 feet).

Above the hamlet of Altnafeadh the old drovers route across the eastern flank of the Aonach Eagach winds is twisting way up in a series of hairpins. Known as the Devil’s Staircase, and probably thus named by the sweating soldiers who built the road from Fort William to Stirling in 1750-52, it is now merely a track leading to the industrial wastelands around Kinlochieven, although the climb to Beinn Bheag is still unspoiled and very much worthwhile.

The southern flank of the entrance to Glencoe is marked by the mountain range running south and capped by the
great rock face of Buchaille Etive Mor (‘the Great Shepherd of Etive’) and the summit of Stob Dearg (3,345 feet). The Crowberry Ridge is the most popular of
Glencoe’s rock-climbs, first conquered in 1900. A similar range, where the Buchaille Etive Beag tops 3,129 feet, lies to the west and splits the Royal Forest above Glen Etive.

Further in and facing almost the entire northern edge of the glen are the craggy edges of Aonach Eagach, the great ‘Notched Ridge’, which stretches for six miles and is split by deep gorges between peaks which top 3,000 feet in several places. The greatest of these is the Clachaig Gulley which cleaves Sgor nam Fiannaidh to provide a well-known test for rock climbers. Here are the Three Sisters of Glencoe, Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and
Aonach Dubh. Beinn Fhada, the ‘Long Hill’, reaches back to join the slopes of the largest mountain in Argyll, Bidean
nam Bian (3,766 feet) and at their feet is Loch Achtriochtan and the cleft of Ossian’s Cave, reached by way of Ossian’s Ladder, another well-known rock climb. Here is said to have lived the Gaelic bard of the 3rd-century who, tradition has it. was born in the glen.

The old road clings to the northern side of the glen at Clachaig Inn winding round to the Bridge of Coe below the isolated Pap of Glencoe (2,430 feet), while the new road swerves south across the mouth of Gleann Leac na Muidhe before reaching Ballachulish.

Of course the glen’s fame, or notoriety, comes form the foul crime committed in February, 1692, when the Macdonalds were put to the sword after MacIan of
Glencoe, their leader, delayed too long before swearing allegiance to King William III but this was probably only an excuse used to settle old scores but whatever the reason it was in the King’s name that Captain Campbell of Glen Lyon, their old enemy, entered the village with a company of 120 men of the Earl of Argyll’s regiment and were quartered among the villagers in friendship for more than a week. On 13th February, despite some hints of what was about to take place, the sleeping Macdlonalds were set upon and more than forty men, women and
children died at the hands of their erstwhile guests. Many of those that fled died on the lonely mountains in the cold while their crofts were burnt to the ground. MacIan was buried iii the island of Eilean Munde in Loch Leven, while a monument to the Macdonald clan was later erected close by the old road to Invercoe.

The famous curse of the Campbells is said to have extended down the centuries on the descendants of those that committed the outrage.

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