The Might and Majesty of Glencoe

Glencoe is a beautiful part of Scotland that is rich, not just in landscape, but also history so today we thought we share a little bit about why we love the spot so much.

Firstly, the landscape. You cant help but love the drama and scale of Glencoe, even if you’ve lived in Scotland your whole life it is still a fantastic place to visit and drive through. A drive through the valley is always enjoyable not matter what the weather is. In the sunshine the hills look stunning and if you’re really lucky you can sometimes catch a glimpse of a golden eagle. Summer is also the perfect time to try some of its many walking routes as the site houses eight Munros. Don’t worry if it’s been raining though. When you get the clouds and the rain Glencoe transforms into an area of classic Scottish atmosphere and the waterfalls through the glens descend from the clouds in a fury.

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Glencoe on a beautiful day

 

The site is very popular with walkers as there are a number of routes and ascents to explore. One of the most popular routes is up the ridge of Aonach Eagach but it is not for the faint hearted. The route travels along a narrowing ridge so anyone with vertigo should certainly avoid it. You can also explore the peaks of the Three Sisters which encompasses the ridges of Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh and makes a lovely day of hilltop walking.

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Glencoe looking very atmospheric

 

For anyone who knows their Jacobite history, as we are sure many of you do, Glencoe is also the site for the infamous Glencoe Massacre. It was here in 1692 that members of the MacDonald clan were killed by soldiers of the Campbell clan for not pledging allegiance to William III. The attack was launched at dawn and at least 37 men were murdered in their homes with as many as 40 women and children dying from exposure after they were forced out of their homes. No one was ever brought to trial for the massacre and the site is remembered to this day as a brutal part of Scottish history.

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Memorial for the Glencoe massacre

 

Associated with the massacre is the point of Signal Rock. This spot is, according to legend, said to be the point at which a fire was started to signal the start of the massacre in 1692, however there is no proof of this being the case. The site is also said to have been an emergency meeting point for the MacDonald clan where they would gather in times of danger. Whether either of these are true is unsure but the rock is a beautiful spot to walk out to and would have been a good beacon point for the glen due to its visibility.

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Signal Rock at Glencoe

 

We hope you get the chance to visit Glencoe, if you haven’t already. It is such an amazing place and pictures just do not do it justice. As always we hope you enjoyed reading our post and please like, tweet, share, comment and tell us your favourite parts of Glencoe.

All the best, K & D

5 Great Summer Walks

With summer heading our way, and hopefully some wonderful weather to go with it, we’re taking a look at some of the best walks the NTS has to offer.

 

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Pathways of exotic plants at Inverewe Gardens

Firstly Inverewe Gardens. Perfect for a pleasant stroll through gorgeous grounds, Inverewe Garden is a special place on the North West coast of Scotland. Its unique ecosystem allows plants from all over to grow and its home to pine martens, squirrels, buzzards and if you’re lucky even an eagle. There is usually plenty of colour and enough variety to dazzle all the senses. Their Pinewood trail takes just 45 minutes and is perfect for families, plus you can stop off at the restaurant after for a quick pick me up.

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A view up to the castle of Culzean

Secondly, Culzean Castle and its lovely beach. A classic mixture of sand and rocks this beach lies below the stunning castle and offers a more secluded beach environment than usual. As you walk along you get great views out to sea and, to the south, the granite rock that is Ailsa Craig. You’ll also see caves dotted in the cliffs and, if you fancy, you can join a guided tour taking you into the cave chambers where you can discover tales of smugglers from years ago. http://www.nts.org.uk/Events/Culzean-Castle-and-Country-Park/Explore-Culzeans-Caves/

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The majestic Falls of Glomach

If you fancy something a bit more adventurous you can head to the Falls of Glomach. One of the highest waterfalls in Britain, with a drop of 113m (370ft), the Falls of Glomach are set in a steep narrow cleft in remote Highland country. The easiest walk is 2.5 miles uphill from the car park at Dorusduain but the rewarding views and atmospheric misty conditions definitely make it worth the effort. This is one of the few walks where rain is actually welcome as the runoff makes the falls even more spectacular.

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The beautiful coastline of Rockcliffe

Rockcliffe, on the other hand, can offer something for everyone. From mudflats to meadows, rocky shore to heather-topped granite outcrops, this area is home to a huge diversity of wildlife and a network of paths gives access to most of the area. One of the highlights is the Mote of Mark which dates back to the late 6th or 7th century AD. This defended settlement is thought to have been the citadel of one of the princes of the ancient kingdom of Rheged. Huge stone and timber ramparts surrounded a large timber hall and some smaller stables and workshops, where bronze jewellery was made. Today you can only see the remains of the ramparts but it is still an impressive site. You can also see Rough Island, a bird sanctuary, where oystercatchers like to nest and ringed plovers are also found. If you time it right you’ll also see the oystercatchers probing for cockles in the soft estuary mud when the tide is out. If that’s not enough though you may catch sight of porpoises in the water as the feed to close to shore or, if you are very lucky, even a peregrine falcon as it hunts on the mudflats and cliffs.

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Ossian’s Hall at the Hermitage

Finally, for more of a woodland walk, we turn to The Hermitage. Here you can follow in the footsteps of notable visitors of the past including Wordsworth, Queen Victoria, Mendelssohn and Turner. The area takes you through spectacular Douglas firs, including one of the tallest trees in the country, and then on to a lovely little folly called Ossian’s Hall which sits overlooking the Black Linn waterfall.  With summers long hours if you visit in the evening there is also a chance of seeing bats flying over the river or perching in the trees and you can often here the calls of a tawny owl of two.

Hopefully these walks have tempted you to head out on an adventure. As always please like, tweet, comment, share and keep your fingers crossed for some sunshine.

All the best, K & D

 

Top Five NTS Mountains

The National Trust for Scotland is the 3rd largest landowner in Scotland and looks after 190,000 acres of countryside with a grand total of 46 Munros under its care.

With that it mind we’ve put together a short list of our favourite mountains to hopefully inspire you to hit the hills.

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Ben Lawers

1.Ben Lawers.

Ben Lawers is Scotlands tenth highest munro and reaches 1,214m (3,984ft) above the banks of Loch Tay. The mountain is part of the Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve which is famous for its arctic-alpine flora and is regarded by botanists as one of the richest areas for alpine flora in the UK. Ben Lawers itself is the highest point along a ridge that contains seven Munros so if you’re looking to check some Munros off your list this is a good spot to do so. For a slightly less intense walk there is a short hidden history trail which reveals remnants of life that use to work and live in the hills.

 

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Glencoe

2. Glencoe

If you thought Ben Lawers had a lot of munros we can go one better with Glencoe & Dalness. Here walkers and mountaineers come from across the globe to check out the eight Munros which can be found. Glencoe is considered the home of Scottish mountaineering and attracts some 150,000 hill walkers each year. One of the most famous walks is the Aonach Eagach Ridge; not for those with vertigo it traverses an increasingly narrow ridge with spectacular scrambling to cover two Munros.

 

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Ben Lomond

3. Ben Lomond

Situated along the eastern shore of Loch Lomond this Munro rises to 974m and is the most southernly Munro in Scotland. Ben Lomond offers much more than just the Munro though. The site houses a range of walks and at Ardess you will also find the thatched Cruck Building, an example of the type of building people would have made, and lived in, in centuries past.

 

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Goatfell

4. Goatfell

Not quite a Munro, Goatfell is the highest peak on the Isle of Arran sitting at 874m (2,866ft). From the summit if you are lucky you can see all the way across to Ben Lomond in the east and out to the coast of Ireland in the south-west. The best time to visit is probably in May when there is the Arran Mountaineering Festival, a fun packed four days of guided walks, scrambles, wildlife watching, films, ceilidhs, curry nights and more.

 

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Torridon

5. Torridon

Torridon has to be on the list not just because it has five Munros but also because of its geology. Most of the scenery is composed of Torridonian sandstone dating back 750 million years which creates the huge monoliths. For the adventurous there is the mighty Liathach often rated as Scotlands finest mountain reaching 1,054m (3,456ft) whilst for those less vertically inclined there are beautiful walks along the coast by the fjord, Loch Torridon.

If you want to see more of our mountains then do visit the NTS website http://www.nts.org.uk/Home/ and check out some trails from the comfort of your own home as routes have been captured by NTS staff using Google’s StreetView technology. http://www.nts.org.uk/treks

Hopefully this post has inspired you to check out some of the many NTS mountains. As always please like, share, follow, comment and break out those walking boots.

All the best, K &D