I have been traveling with Bruce for the last week since I posted the blog on Culloden! Bruce and I got home and our son and family needed the house for a few more weeks due to the work being done on their new home so I decided that a “ROAD TRIP” was in order, so we took 4 days to repack and then headed out on the road for his home state of OHIO!!! So have been a little behind in my “McAlister Adventures in Scotland”, will try to keep this up better for the next couple of weeks while we are here in Ohio.
Glencoe is one of those areas that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who visits there. Each impression is different and can only be described by the individual. I have read and heard many impressions of Glencoe but here is mine!
Living in the USA with as we say “the wide open spaces”. I have seen and now live in the beautiful state of Washington and near the Cascade Mountains and shores of the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. I grew up around the Great Rocky Mountains and the plains of Oklahoma, was born in West Virginia but only seen pictures of the Appalachian Mountains, driven through Utah/Nevada/New Mexico/Arizona/California/Texas and their great Plateaus/plains/mountains. Each region has a majestic beauty that cannot be compared or forgotten! GLENCOE falls into its own class of grandeur, mysticism, and beauty. It has so many different aspects, from the wildlife, the geological formations of the mountains and hills, the flora and fauna, the outdoor activities of the area, and the haunting historical history of the families and people’s of the area. My love is the historical side of Glencoe. In this valley I saw a geological history cut down through the millions of years that has given it the beauty and mystic that I see. I did not see much of the wild life but in my readings there is an abundance in this area and also the flora varieties are many. I am not much of a scientist so could not tell you the difference between many plants or trees but to see how the varieties grow from the cliffs and hillsides and the rocky cliffs of the mountains they would have to be hardy plants. The tragic history of the MacDonald Clan and how they were betrayed was hard to read and hear about but it is also what makes this glen so memorable and the history so intriguing. I loved this glen and all that surrounds it. I would and will visit Glencoe again and hopefully meet more of the folks that live there and who keep the glen so preserved.
This one is for Rachael and Tim who have seen our “Mt Baker”. Is she not beautiful. This was taken from the soccer fields outside Bellingham! Always has snow on it but in the summer time you can see the glaciers on it. Best snowboarding around!
I will not delve too deep into the geological formations other than to give you a lesson in how Glencoe was formed (a short one)! 500 million years ago Scotland lay near Newfoundland and Greenland and England was a small part of what was called Avolonia. As the platonic plates that form the earths crust started drifted together about 450 million years ago a period of extraordinary upheaval and change in the volcanic eruptions of the volcano’s around the world. This upheaval lead to the combining of Scotland and England as one in a new continent that formed 20 degrees below the equator called Devonian. Between 300 million and 60 million years ago the continent movement pushed the small continent to its present position separating it from North America and closer to the European continent. In all this time it went through the violence of the volcanic eruptions and ice age glaciers. As the glaciers receded through Scotland you see today the Glencoe Valley and the majestic mountains and Monroe’s surrounding the valley that were carved out by those glaciers. Below are just some pictures of what will show some of how the valley and mountains of Glencoe were formed. What does not show is the Glacier Period and the receding of the glaciers that formed Glencoe as we see it today.
We began our journey to Glencoe in Inverness after staying at the Culloden House and visiting the Culloden Battle Fields. As we drove up A82 highway which runs along Loch Ness you could see the beauty of the changing colors from summer to fall. The day was cloudy and the mist and clouds still covered the top of hills and along certain areas of the Loch. I am retracing by car where I would be going with the canoe trip and what a different view of the area that is. We made our way to Glencoe thru beautiful country and several road construction sites but arrived around 4 pm. We then tried to find our lodging which was the “Glencoe House”. Glencoe is a small town and before we knew it we had driven through it. We decided to turn around and go back when we discovered the “Visitors Center” for the Glencoe area! Quite an interesting place and has a very good lookout point just outside the center and also great camping and RV areas for people to use. We then went back into Glencoe and stopped at the filling station and ask directions, . Now Bruce let me ask directions so I go in and the young man ask me if I needed help and I said “yep, I am looking for the Glencoe House and my bed for the night and we had been driving around for about 1 hour and not finding how to get into the town of Glencoe!” so the young man who ran the station explained in VERY simple terms that you go down to the corner make a right off A82 and an immediate right again and then go through town until you cross over the hump bridge and make a left at the next road! The crazy americans finally arrived at our distention! Now this place is at the “TOP” of Bruce’s favorite places that we stayed! They are listed as a B & B but not your usual one! They decided that it would be more enhancing to just do “Suites” vs Bedrooms so they divided the house up into suites and each suite has its own breakfast nook and you are served in your own suite vs one shared dining room, the house is set in an area that is located near hiking trails and has ponds and a awesome view of Loch Leven. Below are some of the pictures of our suite and the surrounding area of the Glencoe House! I highly recommend this for a stay, Bruce was so inclined to stay that had we not made reservations on the Kintrye Peninsula and Glenbarr Abby he would not have left we would have completed our time in Scotland in Glencoe House!
Trip over to Glencoe
On our trip over to Glencoe
We had been stopped by a construction site on the A82 hwy on our way to Glencoe. Upper Loch Linnhe.
Duck on the pond
Pond near house
Pond with Lilly pads
One of the ponds near the house
Ceiling in the Bedroom of our Suite
Study area of the great room of our suite
Bar area – Folks the Scots have an honor system that would not work in the good old USA. Just amazing to me.
Our breakfast nook over looking the grounds and Loch Leven.
Breakfast in our suite
Great Room with study at one end, fireplace (wood burning) at the other, Bar along one wall and Breakfast nook near study area.
Glencoe House from the A82 why and Loch leven
Bridge we drove over to reach Glencoe house
Mushrooms on walking path near the house
Ponds near house
We settled in took a short walk and headed back to find a place for dinner. There are several places on Loch Linnhe but we recommend the Holly Tree Inn. Food is awesome and the view is spectacular. Here are some pictures taken from this B & B and restaurant.
Sunset on Loch Linnhe at the Holly Tree Inn Restaurant
Sunset on Loch Linnhe at the Holly Tree Inn Restaurant
We headed back to the B & B for a good nights rest and get ourselves ready for our adventure in exploring Glencoe Valley! We talked to the manager of the Glencoe House and he suggest very highly that we take the A82 hwy through Glencoe Valley at least up to the flat plateau area. So we headed out to see what we could see! It was rainy and cloudy and mist covered most of the tops of the mountains and Munroe’s but you could still see the geological beauty of the area and eventually the sun came out some and we got some awesome pictures. The mountain areas of Glencoe Glen are extremely beautiful whether in sunshine, snow, or rain but can are very dangerous! I could not look at the Glen and tell you which mountain I was looking at but I can give you a general idea with some of the areas that I took pictures and were well labeled. The area is a well-known a hiking and mountain climbing area. The West Highland Way hiking trail from Glasgow to Fort Williams (7 days) goes thru here. We watched many hikers travel this route as we made our travel thru the area. Here are some of my photos of the area. (I will label some that I know and hopefully they are correct!)
This is one of the “Three Sisters” range
Another Part of the “Three Sisters”
The Falls of Glencoe
Mushrooms on walking path near the house
As you can see I was not to knowledgable of the different names of the mountains I took pictures of, sorry but here are a few of the names and they are in Gaelic folks! Behind the “Glencoe House” there is walking trails and they are through the range with names of Sgorr Nam Flannaidh, Stob Coire Leith, Meall Dearg, and Sron Gharbh. As you work your way up A82 highway on your right will be the Aonaoh Dubb, the Three Sisters, Stob nan Cabar, Buachaille Etive Mor and Stob Dearg. There now you just need to get a map and figure out where they are!!! Hopefully I have been helpful. My advice unless you have a guide do not travel these hills without one!!!
The last of the Glencoe adventure is the saddest and that is of the MacDonald Clan in 1692. Many of the Scottish Clans were still loyal to James II who was replaced on the throne by William and Mary of England. To keep the crisis under control William required the Highlander Clan Chiefs to swear allegiance to the English crown by January 1st, 1691. All the Clan Chiefs had done so but Alexander MacDonald waited until the last minute to swear his allegiance to the crown and in doing so sealed his Clans fate. He thought that he could present his oath to the official at Fort Williams but he soon found out that he would have to take it to Inverness which meant that it would not be given until January 1692. Whether this was done to him on purpose will most likely never be found out but the Under Secretary of State, Sir John Dalrumple, took this to mean that the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe would be made an example of by the Crown for the other Clans to understand where the English Crown stood on the Scottish Clan support of James II. Alexander MacDonald went home thinking all was ok and his allegiance given to the Crown. Dalrumple issued a decree to the Commander of Fort Williams that basically said, “You are to hereby ordered to fell upon the rebelle, the MacDonalds of Glenco, and to putt all to the sword under seventy. You are to have a special care that the “old fox” and his sones do not escape your hands……..”. The soldiers and their commander left Fort Williams for Glencoe and were recieved by the MacDonalds as friends, living and eating with them for a few weeks but on the night of February 12 – 13 they struck the Clan while sleeping and killed around 40 members of the Clan including women and children. Many did escape but many died due to the winter snows. This raised many protests but the investigation for this crime was not done for several years. There is much more to this tragedy but I have not read the complete book yet. If you want to know more I suggest that you buy the book by John Buchan, “Massacre of Glencoe”.
The Island in Loch Leven where the MacDonalds are Burried.
We spent 2 days traveling the Glen and experiencing the beauty and history of this area. It was not one we will soon forget nor one that we would want too! On our third day we headed for Oban for one night and then down the west coast to our next destination the Kintyre Penisula and Glenbarr Abby.
I hope you all enjoy this and will take the time if you have not been to Glencoe to visit and spend some time exploring this area! It is quite beautiful!
Good night and I will try to not keep you all waiting for more adventures. I might just surprise you and put some of our USA adventure in between my Scottish adventures! Wait and see!!!!
Love Peg, Grandma, Bruce, and mom