Friday, October 11, 2019


 On a MIE blog first, here’s a series of pictures.

I once saw a series of photographs framed into a single montage. They showed the same tree, taken from the same place every day for 365 days, in all moods and weathers.

These pictures were taken at intervals as we drove through Glencoe in mid-October, from south to north.
As you look, you can maybe think about running the marathon that takes place here. ‘An epic trail run that ascends a total of 1,608 metres through the heart of Glencoe and into the foothills of Ben Nevis.’
If you are interested let me know and I will hold your coat.

The glen is famous for the “Massacre of Glencoe”
There was a Jacobite rising in 1689, and the roots of the massacre lie deep in that event.

13 February 1692, 30 members of the MacDonald clan of Glencoe
were slain by 920 government troops who were enjoying MacDonald hospitality at the time

 Their crime was not being quick enough to pledge allegiance to the new monarchs, William III of England and II of Scotland, and Mary II.

An interesting bit of history, is that it was important to have peace in Scotland, at that time a separate country, we didn’t join the union until 1707.  The MacDonald clan spread through Scotland and Ireland, as did the Presbyterians. So unrest in one country often meant unrest in the other.

Here’s a quote for   Stan ‘The Glencoe MacDonalds were one of three Lochaber clans with a reputation for lawlessness, the others being the MacGregors and the Keppoch MacDonalds.’

While the massacre is often seen as savage, it was not particularly unusual for the times. But the abuse of the trust of hospitality was less common, and more abhorrent. You can see from the pictures how inhospitable the glen is, and much of the highlands, so it was godly to welcome visitors and travellers. There was a law 'Slaughter under trust’ that covers murdering your house guests.

The story of the massacre fell into obscurity until Queen Victoria came along. The incident was re-branded as a feud between the Campbells and the MacDonalds.  Victoria’s love of Scotland and Balmoral made Scottish traditions very popular and strengthened values that were pro-Union and pro-Empire but uniquely Scottish.

The glen itself has become a focus of Scottish claptrap that doesn’t really have much to do with anything, all that roaming in gloaming, bens, and rainfall, my misty heart belongs in the tartan highlands but I’ll live in the south of France because the weather is better there.

To this day, people who don’t really know history, and I include myself in that, quote the Glencoe massacre as an example of English oppression.

The victims died because of political machinations. Nothing new there.

Caro Ramsay 11 October 2019

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely lovely country, but I'm afraid you'd have to drag me, kicking and screaming, scratching and clawing, to make me live there. I've lived my life near the 45th parallel in the moderate Pacific Northwest climate, and for me it's heaven. I admire the beauty of many other regions of Earth, but shiver me timbers, lass...