The troubled highlands of Glen Coe
Glen Coe Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
So much to see, so little time! We had only three days, so to catch a glimpse of Scotland we did a bus tour through the Highlands. I know it isn't the best way to experience a country and I actually feel a bit ashamed that I did a tour like this, but on the other hand we saw some of the highlights of Scotland which is of course very nice.
We left early in a bus loaded with tourists from all over the world. Our tourguide was a real Scotsman of the Campbell clan. His accent was funny but it was easy to get used to (he used the word 'wee' a lot, I guess that is typical Scottish). Our first stops took us past the country where William Wallace and Robert the Bruce have fought, you know from the movie Braveheart. Falkirk, Stirling and later on Bannockburn.
Next we entered one of the most interesting parts of the Highlands, near Glen Coe (a glen is a valley). This is a place loaded with history for the Scots, it is the location of the Massacre of Glen Coe. Lets see if I get this right. My sincere apologies if I tell it wrong; please correct me. Back in the 1600s, King William of Orange (Willem van Oranje for us Dutch folks) demanded an oath of allegiance of the Highland clans, which the MacDonalds were slow or loath to sign. A regiment of soldiers was detached to the MacDonalds, lead by people from the Campbell clan, as a punishment. They were to be nourished by the MacDonalds, which was of course a strain. The MacDonalds welcomed the soldiers and gave them food and shelter, but the next day the soldiers tried to murder the MacDonalds to the last man.
The massacre has never been forgotten and it is still a source of ill feeling between the Campbells and the MacDonalds. Our tourguide, a Campbell, told us there is a saying, never trust a Campbell, and when I asked him he told me that occasionally there was still ill feeling between the clans.
Incidentally, Glen Coe also has magnificent nature. The mountains are rough and scenic and there are waterfalls and beautiful vistas. Scenes from Harry Potter and from Monty Python and the Holy Grail were shot here.