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  • Writer's pictureBrooke McKinnell

Bonnie Glencoe & Glen Etive

©2023 Wanderscot
The breathtaking Glencoe is a scenic glen (or valley) in the Scottish Highlands. Glencoe is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, with its steep-sided mountains, waterfalls, and lochs (lakes) attracting visitors worldwide. I recommend you spend as much time here as possible; so much to take in. The history that surrounds it is brutal yet fascinating. Please visit being prepared for changes in weather and wear suitable footwear.

©2023 Wanderscot

The Glencoe massacre

The Glencoe Massacre was a tragic event in 1692 in the Scottish Highlands. It resulted from the long-standing feud between Scottish clans, the Campbells, and the MacDonalds.
In 1691, the MacDonalds of Glencoe were late in pledging their allegiance to the new monarchs, William and Mary, and were suspected of Jacobite sympathies. The Campbells, loyal to the new monarchs, were tasked with collecting the loyalty oaths of the Highland clans.

Under the guise of friendship, the Campbell soldiers were invited to stay with the MacDonalds in their homes. After two weeks, on the morning of February 13, 1692, the soldiers rose and began killing their hosts. A total of 38 MacDonalds were killed, including women and children.

The Scottish and English governments condemned the massacre and launched an inquiry. The blame was placed on the commander of the Campbell troops, Captain Robert Campbell, who was found to have exceeded his orders by carrying out the massacre. However, he was not punished for his actions. The Glencoe Massacre has become a symbol of betrayal and treachery in Scottish history and immortalized in literature and music.

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The History of Glencoe

The glen of Glencoe has a long and rich history, stretching back thousands of years. The area was formed during the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago, when glaciers carved out the valley that we know today.

The glen has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with evidence of early settlements and burial sites found in the area. During the 6th and 7th centuries, Gaelic-speaking people arrived and established a kingdom called Dalriada.

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The geology of Glencoe is a fascinating mix of volcanic and sedimentary rock formations shaped by millions of years of geological activity. The region has a complex geological history, with evidence of volcanic eruptions, glaciation, and other natural forces.

One of the most striking features of the Glencoe landscape is the towering peak of Buachaille Etive Mor, which is made up of a mix of volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The peak comprises a series of lava flows that erupted around 420 million years ago during the Silurian period. These flows were later covered by sedimentary rock layers, including sandstone and limestone, deposited over millions of years.

The surrounding mountains and hills in the Glencoe area are also made up of a mix of volcanic and sedimentary rocks, including quartzite, schist, and granite. The region is mainly well known for its granite formations, formed when molten rock (magma) from deep within the Earth's crust was forced into the overlying rock layers. Over time, these granite formations were eroded by glaciers and other natural forces, creating the distinctive landscape seen today.

Glencoe is also home to several critical geological sites, including the Ballachulish Slate Quarry, one of Scotland's largest slate quarries during the 19th century. Thanks to its unique geological formations, the quarry is now a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Glen Etive

Glen Etive is a glen located in the Scottish Highlands near the village of Glencoe. It is a narrow valley that stretches for around 12 miles (19 km) from the head of Loch Etive to the heart of the Glen Coe Mountains. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, with steep mountains, waterfalls, and lochs (lakes) providing a breathtaking backdrop. The area also has various wildlife, including red deer, golden eagles, and otters.

The glen is a popular destination for hiking, hillwalking, and photography, with several well-known trails in the area, such as the route to the summit of Buachaille Etive Mor. It is also a popular location for fishing and canoeing, with the River Etive providing excellent opportunities for both activities.

Glen Etive has also been used as a filming location for several movies, including the James Bond film "Skyfall," in which it played the role of Bond's ancestral home. The glen can be accessed by a single-track road, which runs through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Highlands.

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Archaeology of Glencoe

Glencoe and the surrounding area have a rich archaeological history, with evidence of human occupation dating back thousands of years. Some of the most notable archaeological sites in the area include:

Dun Deardail - an Iron Age hillfort located near the village of Fort William. The fort is believed to have been occupied between the 1st and 3rd centuries AD.

Clachaig Cairns - a group of Neolithic burial cairns located near the village of Glencoe. The cairns date back around 5,000 years and are thought to have been used as burial sites.

Signal Rock - a large boulder located near the entrance to Glen Coe. It is believed to have been used by the MacDonalds as a signal point, where fires were lit to warn of approaching enemies.

Cille Choirill - an early Christian church and burial ground near the Roy Bridge village. The church dates back to the 13th century and is thought to have been built on the site of an earlier church.

Inverlochy Castle - a ruined castle located near the town of Fort William. The castle dated back to the 13th century and was the site of several battles during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

Archaeological excavations and surveys have recently been carried out in the Glencoe area, shedding new light on the region's history. These studies have helped to deepen our understanding of the people who lived in the area over the centuries and have revealed new insights into their way of life and the challenges they faced.

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The hills of Glencoe are some of the most iconic in Scotland, known for their rugged beauty and challenging terrain. The glen is surrounded by mountains on all sides, with the highest peak being Ben Nevis, located just a few miles to the north.

Some of the other notable hills in the Glencoe area include:

Buachaille Etive Mor- is a distinctive pyramid-shaped mountain most photographed in

Bidean nam Bian- a complex mountain massif that is the highest point in the old county of

Aonach Eagach - a long, narrow ridge considered one of Scotland's most challenging walks.

The Three Sisters of Glencoe- is a group of three steep-sided peaks named after three sisters from local folklore.

The Hidden / lost valley

The hills of Glencoe are popular with hikers, climbers, and mountaineers, with many challenging routes and spectacular views. The area also has several ski resorts, including the Glencoe Mountain Resort and the Nevis Range Ski Resort.

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Places to stay in Glencoe

There are a variety of accommodation options available in and around Glencoe. Here are a few options:

Clachaig Inn: This traditional Scottish inn is located in the heart of Glencoe and offers a range of rooms, from basic bunkhouse accommodation to more luxurious en-suite rooms. The inn also has a bar and restaurant on-site.

Glencoe House: This luxurious hotel is housed in a historic mansion and offers spacious suites with views over the surrounding mountains. Guests can enjoy gourmet meals in the hotel's restaurant or relax in the library or drawing room.

Isles of Glencoe Hotel and Leisure Centre: This hotel offers comfortable rooms and suites with views of Loch Leven, as well as a range of leisure facilities, including an indoor pool, sauna, and steam room.

Glencoe Youth Hostel: This hostel offers backpackers and budget travelers affordable accommodation. It's located in a beautiful setting in the heart of Glencoe and offers a range of room options, from shared dorms to private rooms.

Glencoe Cottages: These self-catering cottages are located in the village of Glencoe and offer a cozy and comfortable base from which to explore the area. Each cottage has a kitchen, living area, and bedrooms.

Ballachulish Hotel: This historic hotel is located on the shores of Loch Linnhe and offers comfortable rooms with views over the loch or the surrounding hills. The hotel has a restaurant, bar, and leisure facilities, including an indoor pool and sauna.

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Or fancy a bothy stay at Glencoe?

A bothy is a traditional Scottish shelter or hut, often used by hikers and outdoor enthusiasts as a place to stay overnight. Several bothies located in or near Glencoe are available for public use. Here are a few examples:

Blackrock Cottage: This bothy is located at the foot of Buachaille Etive Mor and is a popular spot for hikers and climbers. It has basic facilities, including a stove and sleeping platforms.

Lagangarbh Hut: This bothy is located near the foot of Ben Nevis and offers basic accommodation for hikers and climbers. It has a wood-burning stove and sleeping platforms.

Meanach Bothy: This bothy is located in the remote wilderness of the Nevis Forest and is only accessible by foot or mountain bike. It has basic facilities, including a stove and sleeping platforms.

It's important to note that bothies are generally very basic and often don't have running water, electricity, or other amenities. They are also maintained by volunteers and rely on visitors to clean up after themselves and leave the bothy in good condition for the next person. If you plan to stay in a bothy, you must be well-prepared and bring all necessary supplies, including food, water, bedding, and a camping stove.

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I spent all day here and even had a wee swim. It was very cold but refreshing. I hope you will enjoy your visit here.

©2023 All content on this page is copyrighted/ owned by Brooke the wandering scot @wanderscot

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Apr 05, 2023

Looks amazing

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