This evening, I am focusing on one of Scotland’s top scenic and historic visitor sites, namely Glencoe.

The name probably comes from the Gaelic gleann comhann meaning ‘narrow glen’. However, the second part comes from the River Coe which runs through the glen (valley) and whose etymology is obscure.

In course of my Scotland tours I am a regular visitor to Glencoe but realise there is much more to see than is practical on a typical ‘drive through’ day visit.

To my mind the are two aspects to Glencoe: (a) the famous (or infamous) massacre which took place in 1692 and which still resonates through parts of Scottish society to this day, and (b) the raw and rugged beauty of the landscape which attracts walkers, hikers, mountaineers -and thousands of people with cameras!

The Massacre of 1692

I am going to concentrate first on the massacre which dates back to the late 17th century when the Government/King was trying to get some sort of control over the clan chiefs in the remote Highlands. On August 27th 1691, a proclamation was read in Edinburgh ( capital of Scotland) pardoning all those who had taken up arms provided they took an oath of allegiance to King William before Jan 1st 1692. All chiefs met the deadline with exception of Maclain, the MacDonald Chief of Glencoe and Glengarry. Due to various circumstances was unable to swear the oath until Jan 6th 1692. However, the Government was not satisfied with this and embarked upon a plan to exterminate the MacDonalds of Glencoe. On February 1st 1692 a contingent of British Army (120 of Argyll’s regiment) were billeted with the MacDonalds of Glencoe. These soldiers were mainly of Clan Campbell. On February 12th the military officer, Robert Campbell of Glenlyon received his final instructions from Robert Duncanson, a Major in the Argyll Regiment which commenced with the following narrative:

You are hereby ordered to fall upon the rebels the MacDonalds of Glencoe, and to put all to then sword under seventy. You are to have a special care that the old fox and his sonnes do not escape your hands.”

In all 38 MacDonalds were shot. However, after taking into account the destruction of houses by fire and driving off the cattle, the total death toll may have been 127.

The image below is that of a memorial to the slain at Glencoe.

To this day there is a hotel in Glencoe with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek’ sign over reception which states ‘No Hawkers or Campbells’. No doubt this is in full compliance with all human rights and anti-discrimination legislation!


Glencoe Landscape

A wild and natural environment which includes the following sites:

  • Greymares Tail Waterfall at Kinlochleven.
  • Righ Falls, Inchree, Onich.
  • The Lochan Trail.
  • Signal Rock
  • National Trust Visitor Centre. Lots of information regarding the history, people, wildlife, mountaineering and environmental conservation.
  • Ballachulish Slate Arch

View from Onich


Video no 1 shows Loch Linnhe and the Glencoe mountains from Onich

Video No 2 shows a view of Glencoe taken from the National Trust Visitor Centre.

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