Prepare yourselves dear reader, for a story of betrayal, misery and murder, for today we visit Glencoe for its gorgeous glen and its murderous mountains. The weather is appalling, ‘pishing it doon’ as they say up here. We’re also well aware that the local inclement weather of the UK can do a perfectly reasonable job of killing us without adequate protection, even for the bravehearted bare chested painted Picts.
That’s exactly what the weather is trying to do to us now in late ‘summer’ as the rain comes down with fist sized punches slamming into our faces. But we’re not letting that stop us, even if it is ruining every camera shot with water on the lens. I remember Glenoce being incredibly photogenic when I came here on a mountaineering course when I was in the RAF, but that was 20 years ago in the snow and better weather than today. Today is unfortunately not the day for that, I’m dragging Lord Nelson round and can’t see further than his 6 foot lead.
First we’re off to James Bond’s back garden, Skyfall, the home of James Bond. Standing on the spot of the single track road where Bond gets out of the car to look down the moody and misty valley at Glen Etive. It’s like I was born for the part, I always knew it, I swear I can hear the theme tune. I’m just like James Bond but without the suave, sophistication and devastating good looks. He probably also doesn’t drive a Kia Sportage either.
It’s stunning and beautifully quiet, apart from the odd few James Bond wannabes and canoeists on the river. Towering peaks, waterfalls, gloriously green valley, its no wonder its been used for many film locations including Highlander and Braveheart (a film which no doubt is a significant factor for some recent Scottish nationalism despite it being wildly historically inaccurate).
Glencoe has many beautiful mountains and waterfalls, with these stunning towering peaks forming 470 million years ago by colliding continents and volcanic eruptions lifting theses giant rocks up. Filled by giant ice sheets during the last Ice Age, the moving ice gouged out the U shaped glen we see today from Buachaille Etive, the Three Sisters to Meall Mor.
Glencoe is known by most for its story of bloody murder under trust in 1692. Captain Robert Campbell had marched 130 troops to Glencoe and had them quartered and entertained there for 10 days by the local MacDonalds. At 5am on the morning of 13th February, 38 men, women and children from clan MacDonald were then brutally slaughtered in cold blood by those same troops carrying out government orders. Another 40 women and children fled to the mountains and died of exposure.
The Glencoe Massacre as it became to be know and inspiration for George RR Martin’s Game of Throne Red Wedding chapter. Brutal. Like today’s weather.
We’ve loved Scotland, we’ll be coming back.