Glencoe

Glencoe

I’m reluctantly moving out of Glasgow once I graduate, and now the dust has settled after exams, I think it’s truly dawned on me how fond I am of it here. I have a soft spot for Scotland, which is rivalled only by my affection for Canada, but I’ve been ashamed to say I haven’t seen as much of it as I would have liked to. I decided to amend this, in a small way, by taking a day trip up to Glencoe.

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After a brutal morning start, we awoke on our coach to find ourselves surrounded by beautiful hills. We knew it was going to be an overcast day, but there had also been warnings of high winds. Luckily, it was still and mild, rainy at times, but there were rare moments when the sun peered through and it was absolutely gorgeous. I think the Highlands is probably one of the few places that manages to look stunning despite the rain. Scotland’s broody, wuthering weather is part of its character, even in early June apparently.

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We had an unexpected detour to Fort William for elevenses after the coach driver (on his first day no less) forgot about us. Also, the friendly local passenger who had promised to warn us near our stop had fallen asleep. All of the stops were in the middle of nowhere and unmarked, so it was easy to see how travellers in a unknown land would miss their mark, but it made us wonder how tourists from further afield than Glasgow fared.

Once we actually got to Glencoe, we stopped by the tourist office and armed ourselves with some maps, planning some gentle rambles that would see us through the day. This turned out to be futile, as despite being two people with good orientation skills and common sense, we somehow managed to get lost several times. I blame it on the political and literary in depth chats.

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We passed some lovely wee brooks and the ruins of the house at Inverrigan, one of the sites of the Glencoe Massacre. It was fascinating discussing historical bias, and how information is presented, and learning more about Scottish history. I once again bemoaned the fact that we don’t learn much at all the history of the rest of the UK in English schools. We had a discussion about the site, which is overgrown and barely marked, almost unremarkable so that we had to double back on ourselves to find the spot. We wondered how best to respect this site of slaughter, whether it was acceptable to ramble around the area surrounded by the nine pine trees or observe from a distance. What is a respectable way to honour the dead? How do we commemorate events in history?

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This house reminded me of Hagrid’s Hut
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Faux outdoorsy

After this we made our way down to Glencoe Village, where we stopped for lunch by Loch Leven  just as the heavens opened. We took it in our stride and laughed it off, as it was evidently one of those days that is unplanned, ridiculous but wonderful all at once. We set off to Lochan Trails and eventually found it, after scrambling up a muddy incline (forging our own path, no doubt) and stumbling upon the actual trail. There we chanced upon a friendly middle aged couple feeding some ducks. They were long-time fans of the Scottish scenery and holidayed up from England ever summer, but had never been to Glasgow. Ever ones to enjoy meeting new folk, we banged the doldrums for our city and had a brief political debate the Independence Referendum and the recent General Election.

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Once we bid the couple farewell we scrambled up a fair incline and took in the vista, which was lovely. We looped around, and found ourselves back in civilisation and near the Folke Museum and MacDonald Monument, which we had failed to find earlier. So it all works out in the end.

After making our way back to the Village, we stopped for a well deserved rest indoors and a piping hot meal. We were pretty drenched, bone tired and ravenous but most of the other diners were similarly dishevelled and smiling. We digested our hearty meals as we made our way back to the bus stop – a random patch of gravel by the motorway – and finally clambered aboard the last coach back to Glasgow, watching the sun slowly descend as we passed through Loch Lomond and reached the urban sprawl of home.

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MacDonald Monument
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Folke Museum

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