If Aaron and I could live anywhere in Scotland, I think we'd choose the village of Glen Coe. It's location, nestled between the huge, rolling hills of the glen, is nearly perfect. One narrow street runs through the majority of the village so we opted to park the car and walk around (because roads are rather tiny here!)
I was so excited to see my first thatched roof building! The Glen Coe Museum was sadly closed, otherwise we would have checked it out.
Looking up the street towards the Pap of Glencoe, the first of the mountains belonging to Aonach Eagach Ridge.
We loved the picturesque cottages surrounded by the massive mountains and hills.
This cross was erected for Clan McDonald, specifically for the Chief of the Clan, who was killed in the Glencoe Massacre along with 37 other men and an additional 40 women and children, who perished due to exposure from the cold. What made the Glencoe Massacre so heinous, beyond just a simple feud between two opposing clans, was the deceit and betrayal of a visiting clan commander and his militia murdering their hosts. Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon was even distantly related to the McDonald clan, by marriage, and he stayed in the McDonald house in Glencoe for two weeks before initiating the massacre and killing the chief. Some under Campbell's command warned their McDonald hosts of the impending murders, which allowed them to escape the massacre. At least two lieutenants broke their swords so the could not participate in what they viewed as a betrayal to the "murder under trust" code under Scottish Law. And by luck, poor timing, or intentional planning, 800 men under Campbell never made it to their positions blocking off the escape routes, thereby allowing many from the village to flee unscathed. The massacre was part of an attempt to break the Scottish clan system. It had been planned for several months, even after McDonald signed an oath of allegiance to William, Prince of Orange, an oath which should have guaranteed the clan's safety. The Campbell's took part in the massacre as a way of "getting even" with the McDonalds after years of raiding and stealing.
As a result of the massacre, those involved became martyrs to the Jacobite cause in 1715 and again in 1745. A revival of of interest in the massacre occurred again during the Victorian era in both art and literature. Even today, George R. R. Martin used the bloody story (along with the Douglass Murder in 1440) as a basis for the "Red Wedding" in his book, A Storm of Swords. As far as bad relations between the Campbells and the McDonalds? Perhaps they're still there, probably more for tourists then actual hard feelings and can be seen in various restaurants and inns where signs bear the inscription, "NO HAWKERS OR CAMPBELLS".
In true Scottish tradition, the Glen is said to be haunted by those who lost their lives in the massacre. Supposedly, on the 13th of February, the date of the massacre, the Glen is filled with the eerie sounds of those who died, and a few claim to have seen the ghostly victims of the massacre. All rubbish of course, but the knowledge that such a dark massacre occurred in this Glen can make it seem a bit creepy after dark.
There are plenty of places to stay in the village, mostly small B&Bs. The Glencoe House is a luxury hotel at the far end of the village (and the lodge initially belonging to the house is for sale if anyone has some extra pennies to rub together and fancies a restoration project!). The Clachaig Inn is a famous nearby inn that boasts cheapish lodging and an excellent pub and tasty food. We personally can attest to the good food found there. The chicken and leek pie is to die for. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! And Fort William is less then a half hour drive away if you're looking for more civilization then just what the village has to offer. Overall, this tiny town is an excellent representation of true Scotland, all due to its stunning scenery, famous history, peace and quiet, and mild ghostly hauntings.