This morning, we departed our lodgings at Kyleakin on Isle of Skye and embarked on a trip as set out below.

First to Armadale, Skye where we caught a ferry to Mallaig on the Scottish mainland, late morning.

Ferry arriving Armadale, Skye

Next, tracking the coast to Glenfinnan where we stopped to view the various sites and availed of refreshments.

Here are video clips of the Mallaig-Glenfinnan leg.

Summary information on Glenfinnan as follows:

  • Name: Derived from ‘Fingon’s Glen’. Fingon was an Abbot of Iona in the 14th century. There is also a connection with the surname Mackinnon.  Today, Glenfinnan is famous for (a) the landing-place of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and (b) the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct over which trundles the Jacobite Express Steam Train during the summer months.
  • Glenfinnan Viaduct: Built 1897-1898 as part of the West Highland Railway which opened in 1901. Construction was undertaken by ‘Concrete Bob’ McAlpine who was an early proponent of the then new construction material of concrete. The viaduct, has twenty-one arches, reaches a height of thirty metres (98 feet) and is 380 metres (1248 feet) in length.
  • Filming: The location has become famous for filming, particularly the Harry Potter series following which the viaduct has become unofficially known as the ‘Harry Potter Bridge’ .
  • Loch Shiel: A 28 km ( 17.5 miles) long lake at the northern  head of which stands the Glenfinnan Monument.
  • Glenfinnan Monument:This  dates from 1815 and was constructed to commemorate the landing of Bonnie Prince Charlie in August 1745 in an ultimately doomed attempt to win back by force the thrones of Scotland and England for the Stewart cause. The Monument is 18m (60 feet) high and is surmounted by a statue of a kilted highlander.The Monument is now cared for by Scotland’s National Trust.
  • Jacobite Express: This steam train service operates from May to October over the line between Fort William and Mallaig, a 134 km (84 mile) round trip which has been described as one of the world’s great railway journeys. The train is very popular with fans of the Harry Potter series where the train was used as the Hogwarts Express. We did briefly encounter the Jacobite Express travelling in the opposite direction on our way to Glenfinnan.
  • Glenfinnan Village: A small community with three hotels and railway station. Located  19km ( 12 miles) from Fort William (east) and 42km (26 miles) from Mallaig (west).

Glenfinnan Monument

Glenfinnan Visitor Centre

Next, on to Fort William, the self-styled ‘outdoor capital of Scotland’. Here, our main focus was the site of the actual fort information ion which is provided below.

  • A timber fort was established by General Monk in 1654 at the northern end of Loch Linnhe to accommodate 250 troops for purpose of controlling the Highland clans.
  • In 1690 the fort was re-built in stone and featured 20ft high walls with 15 guns (cannon) and accommodation for 1000 men. At this stage the name was changed from the ‘Fort of Inverlochy’ to Fort William, after the current King.
  • In 1692 the papers authorising the infamous Massacre at Glencoe were signed at the Fort.
  • Between March 14th and April 3rd the Fort withstood a siege by a Jacobite force.
  • The Fort continued as a military garrison until 1855.
  • Fort sold to a civilian in 1864 and then acquired by the Railway in 1889.
  • Railway opened in 1894 with route passing through old Fort.
  • Most of the remainder of the Fort was removed when the Railway Station was located to its current position in 1975.

Site of Fort

Next, we tracked Loch Linnhe south and then on to the Glencoe Visitor Centre which focuses on the local geology, ecology and the infamous 1692 massacre.Information ion the latter is provided below.

The ostensible reason for the Massacre of Glencoe was an edict issued by King William III requiring all clan chieftains to sign an oath of allegiance by Jan 1st 1692. The MacDonald chief was 6 days late in signing the required oath.This was because he first went to North, to Fort William in error and was redirected South to Inveraray where the Sheriff received the required oath on January 6th.

However, long-running tensions between the MacDonalds and neighbouring Campbells combined with the Government’s irritation with the MacDonald chief resulted in a military force being billeted with the MacDonald community.On February 1st 1692, a 120 strong company of Argyll’s regiment under command of Robert Campbell of Glenlyon were billeted in the Glen with the local MacDonald community.Relations between the military force and the MacDonalds was initially amicable but on February 12th Glenlyon received instructions from Robert Duncanson, a major in the Argyll Regiment which required the force to “fall upon the rebels the MacDonalds of Glencoe, and to put all to the sword under seventy. You are to have special care that the old fox and his sonnes do not escape your hands.” (The “old fox” is a reference to the local clan chief, MacIain.)

In all 38 MacDonalds were shot on the day (February 13th.) but due to a policy of burning houses and driving off cattle, leaving neither shelter nor food, the actual number of dead is not certain but could have been as high as 127.

The Massacre shocked the people of the day, principally because the soldiers had previously accepted hospitality of the MacDonalds and breach of the Highland code of hospitality was taken very seriously.

Next, a few miles south to scenic viewpoints of the Glencoe scenery for photographs.

Glencoe Landscape

Glencoe landscape

Next, across Rannoch Moor and a brief stop for views of Loch Tulla then on to Loch Lomond and our destination of the village of Luss where we checked into our lodgings and then visited the loch side.

View of Loch Tulla

Entrance to house at Luss

Ben Lomond (mountain) and Loch Lomond from Luss Pier.

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