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Landscapes Of Scotland: Glencoe
Glencoe’s spring sky looked bleak; wrathful clouds glared, threatening imminent showers. Columns of light penetrated the cloud, stood as sentinels guarding entrance to the sweeping valley. The scent of springtime was in the air; a new harvest was approaching.
Animals all around were preparing their nests for new siblings and a busy summer. The echoes of songbirds and their merry tunes sang throughout the valley; the season of courtship was upon us.
A crisp breeze was a reminder of a recent winter; Glencoe was still adjusting to the new season. The wind was the only sound of an otherwise silent valley.
Ahead, a small cluster of trees were dwarfed by the gargantuan mountainside rising steeply from the flat. Foliage managed to climb about a third of the way up the mountain face before conceding to the barefaced rock. It looked impossible to climb; the dominant face was almost vertical.
As the clouds began to clear, the cool, shallow waters to my right reflected an ever changing sky. The lake was fringed by marshland and navigable only by the local wildlife.
I continued my march along the lonely valley road and soon encountered a public house, wonderfully isolated from civilization. It was cast in shadow as the sun hid behind the mountain peaks, threatening to emerge and flood the valley with light.
“Passing through?” enquired the barman politely, breaking his conversation with an elderly gentleman on the opposite side of the bar.
“Heading for the village,” I replied and grabbed the nearest chair to soothe my aching limbs. “Coke please.”
Refreshed and revitalised, I continued my trek along the forsaken road, twisting and turning with the contours of the land.
Glencoe’s history can be traced back over 5,000 years. Perhaps most infamous was one macabre night during the early hours of 13th February 1692. The resurgence of the Jacobites worried King William the Third and he ordered all clan chiefs to declare their allegiances no later than 1st January 1692.
Maclain of Glencoe however was delayed and didn’t sign until 6th January 1692. Unaware of the decision to punish him and his men, Maclain returned to his land believing all was well.
Campbell of Glenlyon led a group of 128 soldiers who stayed with the Macdonalds for 12 nights before murdering 38 of them as they slept during the early hours. Studying this tranquil landscape, it’s hard to imagine such a brutal event ever taking place.
Despite its barren appearance, the land is teeming with wildlife; nature accompanies my every step. In a world seemingly awash with terror and violence, it’s good to know these places still exist. Away from the rigours of city life, Glencoe has evolved as nature intended.