Glorious Glen Coe
Few journeys offer such enthralling history and diversity of scenery. Scotland’s most famous glen was scene of one of the Highlands’ darkest, most bloody and chilling episodes, belying the great tranquillity and beauty of the landscape.
Skirting the mystical northern shore of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle* awaits. A fascinating site evolved from Pictish fortification, it played an influential role in the Scottish Wars of Independence. Repeatedly sacked, destroyed and rebuilt through the centuries, it is now a popular Nessie-watching spot with informative visitor centre.
Fort Augustus, at the very foot of the loch, is a bustling village boasting famous locks created by the great engineer Thomas Telford. Heading south along the Great Glen, we pass the poignant Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge, dedicated to the courageous original British Commando Forces who served during the Second World War. Through pristine countryside beneath Ben Nevis, we then reach Scotland’s unabashed ‘rainiest town’, Fort William, a renowned outdoor sports centre with a rich industrial past.
Glen Coe, itself, will captivate, whether shrouding the traveller beneath its dark, brooding slopes on duller days or with tumbling waterfalls glinting in the sunshine. It is impossible to remain unmoved by the story of the murdered MacDonalds. A three-hour hike and extended tour can take sprightly visitors to and from the Lost Valley, a magical mountain sanctuary, where those unfortunate clansmen were treacherously slain by their overnight guests, the Campbell soldiers.
*Admission fees for exhibitions is extra.