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Glencoe Valley – Nature & History

by wanderscapes

Our journey through the beautiful Scottish landscapes continues. In this blog, we take you to one of the most beautiful highland journeys along the lovely valleys of Glencoe. If you wish to watch our videos of the series, you can watch them here.


Sitting amidst the beautiful landscapes of Scottish Highlands, Glencoe is a natural wonder of volcanic origins. The entire area is so beautiful that thousands of people travel to the place just to drive and soak in the beauty of the place. It is unarguably one of the most scenic areas in Scotland. The drama and splendour surrounding Glen Coe is breathtaking.

It is only with wonder in eyes and joy in heart that one can pass through the high mountain passes. It takes no time to be blown over by the majestic beauty of the nature all along the valley. No wonder it is the home of Scottish mountaineering. Hillwalkers and climbers consider it a paradise.

The Massacre of Glencoe

The main settlement is a village at the end of the valley. The Glen Coe village, like any other Scottish village of yore, had an active role in the clan war and shaping the Scottish history. However, the massacre of 1692 was singular because of its brutality.

The infamous Massacre of Glencoe took place on 13 February 1692. On that fateful day, the government forces killed over 30 members and associates of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe. This atrocity was allegedly a punishment for failing to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of Scotland and Mary II.

The Jacobite rebellion had almost ended by 1690. But, when the MacDonalds did not swear their allegiance to the monarchy, the Secretary of State for Scotland decided to take action. He wanted to make an example to provide a warning of the consequences of non-allegiance.

There is no evidence to suggest why they selected the Glencoe MacDonalds for the purpose. However, the common belief is that a combination of internal clan politics along with a reputation for lawlessness made them an easy target. While clan wars and massacres were nothing new, the sheer brutality of the incident made it a significant reason for the persistence of Jacobitism in the Highlands.

A History that Lives on

It still remains a powerful symbol for a variety of reasons. Any visit to Glen Coe is incomplete without the tour guides or locals telling you about the tracheary Campbell. They will tell you the story of those who arrived as guests of MacDonalds and killed over 30 members of the family while they were asleep.

Poems and paintings were created based on the infamous massacre and a memorial was dedicated to the MacDonalds in Glen Coe Village. However, a casual visitor admiring the beautiful three sisters mountains or the waterfalls or the valley, may not even know about all those bloodshed and war stories.

Nature stands tall and reminds us that despite everything, we are nothing but a tiny part of her whole. If we are in tune with that, we can enjoy and admire life around us. In fact, when we realise that simple truth, we will know that there is more to see and enjoy all around us.

Amazing Scotland is about all that – the beauty, the culture, the history and what we take away from all of that. For us, it is a bit of everything topped by the realisation, as ever, that there is nothing quite like nature. It has everything – only you need to know how and where to look. Our journeys are our quest…

click here to watch our vlog of Glencoe Valley

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