Go - Glencoe - A World to Discover - Updated
When people think of Glencoe they automatically think of, steep-sided valley, and that’s true, but it’s so much more than that.
The magnificence of the glen was formed around 10,000 years ago from a volcanic explosion and the Ice Age, though we can’t be sure of the exact date :)
There’s no better place on earth, quite like the highlands of which Glencoe is a part. With its rich heritage, stunning landscapes, it will envelop your senses transporting you away from your daily routine and lifting your spirit.
Glencoe and the surrounding area is an exploration of simple pleasures, from sampling all the delicious local produce to taking in the breathtaking vistas. Go back in time with steam train trips on across the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct while having afternoon tea. Or for those more active days, sightseeing, land rover ranger tours, hill climbing, water and winter sports are just everyday things to do. Maybe the only problem you’ll have, is not having enough time!
Here are some of our top tips for your next visit to the area……
But First - Some Local History
Back in January 1692, 128 soldiers arrived in Glencoe where they stayed under the hospitality of the MacDonald Clan for 12 days. On the 13th day, the soldiers turned on their hosts early morning, killing 38 of the clan, with others escaping the slaughter by running into the snowy hills. Many perished.
What was the reason for this “murder under trust”? King William the Third had ordered all clan chiefs to pledge an oath of their allegiance. Maclain of Glencoe traveled to Fort William to sign for the clan and, on arrival, he discovered he had to go to Inveraray. Difficult conditions meant he signed on January 6th – 5 days after the deadline for signing. He thought all was fine, however, others decided he should be punished for his late pledge.
Maclain is buried on the Eilean Munda – a small island opposite the Isles of Glencoe Hotel and a memorial for the massacre can be found in Glencoe Village in Upper Carnoch.
Before starting your journey in the footsteps of some of the massacred clans, pop into the newly transformed visitor centre and equip yourself with local knowledge of what makes the glen so special, it’s history, where to go, and what to look out for. A short film - The Glen Revealed – takes you on a journey of millions of years, not to be missed. The Highland Coo café will keep you topped up with food and refreshments.
To get there - Click here for more information.
No matter the time of year, Glencoe Mountain is open for business. Whether it's going out for a peaceful walk, hill walking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, or skiing, it literally has something for everyone. You might even just want to get the chairlift up to the cafe, get a refreshment, and take some photos of some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland.
The chairlift climbs from the valley floor up to the Eagles Rest at 2200ft in just 12 minutes and costs around £12 per adult, other price options exist. In that time you'll get the opportunity of viewing the stunning scenery like a bird flying through the ski, and what a birds-eye view you'll get.
For Skiers, Glencoe is just a delight. Due to its snow holding record and amazing terrain is very much still a firm favorite ski resort with many Scottish skiers and boarders. It was the first commercial Ski resort in Scotland and has 8 lifts and 20 runs over some of the best skiing terrain in Scotland.
If you've never skied before but always fancied it, well it's never too late to try. The Snow Sports School offers fully inclusive lessons to all age groups and families. Some deals include your lift pass, equipment, and lessons, but may require you to book these in advance. Plus, if you're a family of four or more, you can make the group lesson completely private if you wish.
Adventure filled, action-packed, funfilled, tranquil, exhilarating, peaceful, and educational are all words that have been used to describe this wonderful location and place of beauty.
Many events and activities are seasonal. Find out what's on and how to get there - Click here for more information.
The Glencoe National Nature Reserve - Land Rover Safari
The National Trust for Scotland’s Land Rover safari will transport you through Glencoe, going slightly off the beaten track. The ranger-led Land Rover safari will give you an hour and a half of history, wildlife, geology, and more!
Binoculars are provided but you may wish to bring a camera and a snack. Outdoor clothing and footwear are advised.
Suitable for adults and children aged 10+
Open from Aug 23rd to Nov 15th, 2020.
For opening times and booking - Click here for more information.
Wet & Wild
As well as many mountains in and around Glencoe, there are lochs and rivers lending themselves to the many watersports available in the area. Whether it's paddleboarding or Kayaking on Loch Leven or you might prefer the adrenaline rush of white water - rafting, river tubing, or river bugging on River Etive, there's something for all the family to enjoy.
Vertical Descents are local to the Glencoe area and offer a wide choice of organised water sports as well as land activities such as Segways, Mini Highland Games, and Paint Ball.
Jacobite Steam Train (Hogwarts Express)
Travel back in time on the world-famous Jacobite Steam Trains 84-mile journey from Fort William To Mallaig. The two-hour journey is a real treat for anyone and one of the highlights is traveling across the Glenfinnan Viaduct and passing such mighty landmarks as Ben Nevis.
Ride in first-class in your own compartment with a cream tea or standard class and dreamily gaze in awe at the amazing scenery as the train chugs along, puff puffing away. Once in Mallaig, you’ll have just under two hours before the return journey to sightsee have a spot of lunch, etc.
Book in advance to avoid disappointment and be sure to add in any extras before you complete your booking. Trains run morning and afternoon, from spring to autumn.
For train times and to book - Click here for more information.
Looking for great accommodation options on your next trip to Glencoe? Then look no further than these top-class places to stay. Book direct and pay no booking or agency fees....
The world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct built-in 1897 carries the Jacobite steam train (as well as modern diesel trains)(as mentioned above) from Fort William to Mallaig. The 380m long structure built for around £19,000, has featured in many movies not least of all Harry Potter and many tourist commercials advertising Scotland. The Viaduct overlooks Loch Sheil and is a place of natural beauty and visited by thousands of tourists each year.
The busiest times of day are when the Jacobite steam train is due to cross, as it's a great photo opportunity if you're in the right place at the right time. The car parks fill up very quickly, so it's best to get there sharpish. For a small fee, you can park in the National Trust for Scotlands car park, which adjoins the visitor centre at the Glenfinnan Monument.
For directions, follow - The Glenfinnan Viaduct A830 Road PH37 4LT.
Glenfinnan Monument, History & Visitor Centre
Moving tribute to those who died fighting the Jacobite cause, framed by dramatic Highland scenery
Raise your bonnet to the lone Highlander on top of Glenfinnan Monument and take the dizzying climb up the tower for an unrivaled view of Loch Shiel.
Discover the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 Jacobite Rising in our informative visitor centre and find out about the clans that supported him.
Immerse yourself in the magical setting of a Harry Potter film location and witness the ‘Hogwarts Express’ steam train crossing the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Framed by spectacular Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel, the Glenfinnan Monument is a striking tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings.
Less than a year before the Battle of Culloden, Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his father’s Standard at Glenfinnan, marking the start of the 1745 Jacobite campaign. An army of 1,500 rallied to join Bonnie Prince Charlie – they marched as far south as Derby before the retreat began that would seal their fate.
In 1815, the 18m-high monument was built here, with the lone, kilted Highlander at the top providing a poignant reminder of the clansmen who gave their lives to the Jacobite cause.
The modern exhibition in the visitor centre tells the story of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and the 1745 Jacobite Rising.
For opening times, booking and prices - Click here for more information.
A Rich History of Distilleries
No trip to the highlands would be complete without a trip to a local distillery. Even though Whisky might not be to everyone’s taste, the story behind these long-established businesses is really quite inspiring and none more so than Oban.
Oban Distilleries' story had a major impact on the town from its inception in 1794 - THE STORY OF OBAN - Uncover the history behind the liquid.
Founded in 1794, the distillery is the heart of the town. In fact, there wouldn’t have been an Oban town if it weren’t for entrepreneurial brothers Hugh and John Stevenson. But it was the improvements of J. Walter Higgin which put Oban Single Malt Scotch Whisky in a different league.
Oban distillery tours have now reopened - Click here for more information.
Castle Stalker on Loch Laich
Open from April to Sept. Before the existing castle was built, there stood a small fort from around 1320 owned by Clan MacDougall who at that time were lords of Lorn. It was around 1388 when the Stewarts took over the Lordship and Sir John Stewart built the castle you can visit today around 1440s. The castle has featured in Scottish adverts and TV programs and has been well photographed over the years.
The castle is steeped in history and well worth a visit. Book in advance.
For opening times and to book - Click here for more information.
Take a trip out on the open sea in your very own guided Seafari. The 90-minute Seafari offers you a superb ride around upper Loch Linnhe, with highlights including a visit to the local seal colony and our famous ‘train chase’, where we race the Jacobite Steam Train along the banks of Loch Eil – guaranteed to get the adrenaline flowing!
Heading South from Fort William, find yourself amazed by the stunning views on either side. Remember to look out for local wildlife, including eagles, dolphins, porpoise, seals, otters, and seabirds.
Other tours may be available from time to time. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment.
For opening times and prices - Click here for more information.
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Blog content was updated on - 10/11/2020.
NOTE - Information contained in this article was accurate at the time of publishing and should be used for guidance only. Whilst we make every effort to keep our information up to date, public information is constantly changing and therefore, no responsibility will be accepted if this information becomes out of date or which warrants this information to be inaccurate.