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Saturday, 18 May 2019

A trip to Glen Coe and Glenfinnan in the Highlands

Glen Coe
I mentioned last week that I'd been away for a few days.  I was in Fort William in the Highlands with a friend, Anne, from London.  The weather was cool (cold Anne would say!), but at least it stayed dry most of the time and with very little wind.  Given the West Coast is known for high rain fall I think we did very well weatherwise.  Anyway I'll share some photos of our trip over the next few posts.

We took a tour around Fort William, Lochaber, Glen Coe and Glenfinnan. First stop was Glenfinnan for photos of the iconic stream train crossing the viaduct.  Depending on your point of view it is either "The Jacobite" steam train or the Harry Potter Express!  Either way it is brilliant to watch it go over the amazing Glenfinnan viaduct which was finished in 1901. Hundreds of visitors scramble up nearby hills or around the Glenfinnan centre to catch a glimpse of the steam train going over the viaduct.  We joined in, of course. 

It looks even better with the steam trail!

Sorry they are a bit blurred! I was way too excited to take proper pictures..... but there will be more photos of The Jacobite later as we actually went ON the train.  Whoo hoo!!

Anyway, also at Glenfinnan but sadly often ignored in preference of a steam train, is the monument to the Jacobite rising which began in by the shore of Loch Shiel in 1745.  This was when Prince Charles Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) raised his standard on the shores of the Loch claiming his right to the British throne.  Sadly that claim ended at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Bonnie Prince Charlie fled Scotland and never set foot on its shores again.  The monument was raised in 1815, and in 1835 the statue of an anonymous Highlander was placed on top

And then we set off for Glen Coe (or Glencoe).... I love mountains and these did not disappoint!

There is a lot of history in Glencoe, one infamous incident was the massacre that took place in Glencoe in 1692 when 28 men of the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by government forces (the forces included members of Clan Campbell) who were billeted with them. The massacre was on the grounds that they had not been prompt in pledging allegiance to the new monarchs, William II and Mary II.

Leaving aside the history, the landscape is just awesome.  We had a lovely sunny day to drive through the mountains. There was still snow on the hills and in the corries (the name given to "ice-gouged bowls" carved by glaciers during the last ice age).

Here are a selection of - er - mountains!

I mentioned snow in the corries...

A rather isolated house!  Waterfalls running down from the corrie with melted snow...

A former bothy, now a home...

And a photo of a deer, a helicopter and a mountain.  Now although the James Bond movie, Skyfall, was filmed in the area, I don't think 007 was in the vicinity, sadly.

Fort William is the end of the West Highland Way, a very popular hiking trial. There are also lots of tourists around, as well as serious hillwalkers and mountaineers.  It can get very busy in the summer, and don't forget the midges!  So we were very lucky with our trip in May, no midges, no wind, little rain, and not too busy with tourists!  If you are in the Highlands of Scotland I do recommend a trip through Glencoe! 


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Shame James Bond wasn't in the!

  2. Your comment about the rain made me laugh. My friend is currently working in the area and says she doesn't hang her washing out as it rarely stays dry for long! She says the walks and the views more than make up for having to use a dryer though.

  3. What beautiful scenery! And a steam train. Terrific trip!!!

  4. I love Glen Coe we were there last year staying at the campsite outside Fort William. About 20 years ago I was cycling there and they were filming a Harry Potter and we came across the road lined with turfs and clods to make it look like a track, leading to Hagrebs cottage. A lovely part of the world..........nearly as good as Wales!!!

  5. Sian

    "Sadly that claim ended at the Battle of Culloden in 1746"
    It wasn't sad at all. Many Scots fought on the Government side - one report said more Scots against Charlie than for him. He represented an old "divine right of Kings" dynasty. There were Border troops fighting against him so any ancestors of mine would have been on the Govt side. So the Goodies won at Culloden.

    Great photos of Glencoe etc.

  6. I have been a passenger on the Jacobite Express and was very much looking forward to the experience, but it was marred by the people on the other side of the aisle standing up at the windows to take pictures; very selfish I thought. Though, to be honest, the lunch we had at the Steam Inn in Mallaig more than made up for it.

    I very much enjoyed your pictures because I adore being in Scotland and wish that I could simply visit one day and never leave.