Moving down from the Clachaig you come to Signal Rock, a tall rock protruding upwards in the glen [valley]. It is said that from here in the dreadful cold of a highland February night a piper gave the signal for the troops billeted with the McDonalds to turn on their hosts and murder them. The chief, McIan, was shot dead in his bed, while his ageing wife was stripped naked and turned outdoors in a snowstorm. Her sons, alerted by the shots, had escaped and managed to find their mother, but the freezing cold and the shock were too much for her elderly body and she perished soon after rescue. But most troops disobeyed orders and gave their hosts opportunity to escape, though more McDonalds perished of cold than gunfire.
We stayed at Red Squirrel Camp site, about half way down the glen. It is a a piece of open ground adjoining a conifer woodland, a dense softwood plantation. Like all such woodlands it is hard of access, but the site is not vitiated by it.There is plenty of space on good, level ground with soft, springy turf.
As you descend the glen you pass some mountains on your left. These include some good rock climbing grounds.Interesting, but I gave up rock climbing when we had children, just after a climber more talented than I, whom I knew, was killed in a freak accident. Time to think of the children! However, these peaks make for great mountain walks.There is the challenging ridge of Aonach Eagach [Aonach means ridge] which is one of the narrowest ridges in Britain, and one that should not be lightly attempted.It is connected to a peak Sgorr nam Fiannaidh [the Rocky Peak of Fion's warriors, named after Ireland's famous warrior Fionn McCool.] Another pair of summits near the glen are Am Bodach [the Old Man] and A'Chailleach [pronounced calliach, The Old Woman]
The Three Sisters of Glencoe are ridges which are part of the Bidean nam Bian massif [Peak of the Mountains, pronounced Bijan nam Been. ] The ridges are Beinn Fhada, pronounced Ben Fotha, Long Ridge] Aonach Gearr [Short Ridge] and Aonach Dhu [pronounced doo, Dark Ridge.]They are linked to a peak called Stob Coire nan Lochan, [The Peak of the Corry of the Small Lake.] Together they make one of Scotland's greatest walks, one with a magnificent view. But it is serious walking and better suited for the long northern summer days, as in darker seasons being benighted is not uncommon.
Glencoe village is at the foot of the valley, and here you will find an interesting folk museum. Maureen,the children and I enjoyed our visit. The museum is based in a traditional Scottish cottage, and it is a good example of a small,highly specialised museum that focuses on a specific area. There is a display of weaponry, which does not appeal to me, but it is well-balanced by farming and domestic artefacts.
On nearby Loch Leven there is the McDonalds' burial isle, where the murdered chief's sons interred his body after they had recovered it. You might be able to visit, but although the isle is near the shore you would need a boat.
There is a lovely craft shop at nearby Ballachulish, where you can purchase a rich variety of locally made Scottish delicacies.It is one of those places where you are tempted to purchase everything. I contented myself with a bottle of raspberry wine and a haggis, and Maureen, as is her wont, could not resist buying some cakes for the family's dessert.
Glencoe, despite its tragic history, is a wonderful place to visit and when tourism resumes after the pandemic, it is well worth a visit.