Glencoe: A Chill Out Day for Me, Pap of Glencoe for Others!

25 11 2022
View from the Glencoe Visitor’s Center. Improving weather!

We were staying two nights at the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe. Since I was still mending from my summer-long bout with shingles and Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, I decided I’d take a rest day. The group decided to hike the Pap of Glencoe, a relatively short but steep climb to a breathtaking view of the lochs and mountains nearby. A quick read on information about the area revealed that there is a Glencoe Visitor Center down the Glen. I could learn some of the area’s history, take an hour’s hike, and then catch a taxi back to the hotel. There, I could catch up on my journal, read my novel, and maybe hang out on the picnic tables outside and meet fellow travelers. As it turned out, it went by so fast I was really surprised, and enjoyed it immeasurably.

After another hearty breakfast, we piled into our vans with our local guides Tania and Susie, and headed down the Glen Coe. As the road winds, iconic green mountain vistas open up, many with waterfalls cascading down their slopes.

This was where I learned how popular Scotland is with hikers and international tourists! At pull-outs with views, many vehicles. Later in the day, with my taxi return, it was just packed! And why not. It’s very beautiful. And, of course, it has been captured in many films and is rich with history.

The Three Sisters of Glencoe

We stopped at a pull-out in front of the Three Sisters of Glencoe. Somewhere in this valley, a dreadful event occurred. The Massacre of Glencoe. In 1692, the newly crowned Protestant King William III of England was anxious to secure the loyalty of all Scots once and for all. He issued a decree in which he required all Scottish clans sign loyalty to him, or face punishment. Allies of William, Clan Campbell quickly signed. But local Clan MacDonald had not. Clan Campbell was sent up the Glen to speak with the MacDonalds about the issue. Although they were not friendly to one another, the MacDonalds played host to their visitors. The Scottish government had offered to pay 12,000 pounds to the Scottish clans to sign the oath. But many clans, as in typical fashion, disagreed on how to divide the sum amongst themselves, delaying signing. This delay led to William’s impatience, and an example was made to demonstrate the consequences of a lack of signing. The story goes that the MacDonald chief was on his way, but delayed. William III delivered an edict to liquidate the MacDonalds. The Campbells got that instruction and massacred 30 MacDonalds in the Glen.

I was dropped off at the Visitor Center and bid my comrades a good hike and that I’d look forward to their stories later in the day. I checked out the information to be learned, including a film on the region. There is a nice forested garden out back with a view up the valley. It has a house built exactly as they were hundreds of years ago, which visitors can check out. I paused for a bit to enjoy the sun’s warmth and take in the view.

Next, I hiked the longest of several available trails within the Visitor Center property. It was pleasant, if a bit muddy from recent stormy weather. It only took about an hour to complete. Then I waited for a taxi which I’d arranged prior to my arrival. He arrived right on time, and just like that I was on my way back to the Kingshouse Hotel.

After lunch, I went outside and picked out a spot at the picnic tables, one which had a shady roof. It was getting nice and sunny! I went into the nearby pub and got myself a coffee. I didn’t get much of my journal written, as not before long, two Swiss hikers showed up and we spent the next two hours visiting. The Kingshouse is a multi-functional institution. While it has 4-star rooms and some top notch table service cuisine and a bar with over one hundred Scottish single malt whiskies plus local gins to try, it is also a genuine hiker backpacker shelter/lodge with complete facilities for them as well. Camping is allowed on the grounds. There is a large heated room to dry out tents, boots, and camping gear. It has a budget bunk house. Well, my new Swiss friends were in a pickle, because something was delayed with their bunk house accommodation. However, their luck turned golden whilst we chatted. Something was wrong with the bunk house. And so the Kingshouse Hotel gave them one of the 4-star rooms instead! They had just hit the jackpot.

Meanwhile, my trekking comrades had hiked up the Pap of Glencoe. They surely got the view promised! The evening cocktail hour and dinner was full of tales of their adventure that day.


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One response

27 11 2022
Crystal M. Trulove

Incredible photos. What a trip. I think this kind of rest day can make such a difference during overseas travel. It’s so restorative and invigorating, and certainly does not lack for additional adventure, right? What a great story for your new Swiss friends.

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