Thursday, December 13, 2012

Never mind Fracking. We have earthquakes in our village






I should have posted this story a long time ago.Scotland gets a lot of minor earthquakes.I remember last year they had one at Glenfinnan, a much bigger one.

Two little earthquakes hit the area. Residents said they felt it at Duror. Just the same strength as the Fracking quakes at Blackpool

The first quake struck at 6.06am and measured magnitude 1.4. It was followed 12 minutes later with a 0.8 tremor. Both were recorded by the British Geological Society.

Last August, residents reported a magnitude 1.9 quake in the Argyll village which they said “felt like thunder”.

There are roughly 200-300 quakes in Britain every year, but the vast majority are so small that no one notices them.

JOHN

LINKS The magnificent community website for Glencoe Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Half a million people are descended from Somerled, the founder of the MacDonald clan.



This pic is in this site.  The story is mostly from: Viking histories

The great Scottish hero, Somerled, founded two clans, the MacDougalls who were based around Oban, and the MacDonalds, the seafarers who controlled all the Western isles in days gone by. These were called the Lords of the Isles.

"DNA proves Celtic hero Somerled had Viking roots"

A leading DNA expert has shown that the Celtic hero Somerled who was credited with driving the Vikings out of western Scotland was himself descended from a Norseman. (I've always been taught that his mother was a Viking, so that would technically make him a Viking slave. furthermore the Vikings were not driven out, they were absorbed as settlers)

It had always been believed that Somerled was descended from an ancient royal line going back to when the Scots were living in Ireland.

A few years ago Bryan Sykes, an Oxford University professor of human genetics set up a company called Oxford Ancestors to research people’s DNA past, it was Professor Sykes who discovered that Somerled’s Y-chromosome – which is inherited through the male line – is of Norse origin.

Professor Sykes studied three Scottish clans and came to the conclusion that some 500,000 people alive today are descended from Somerled.

The MacDonald, MacDougall and MacAlister clans all claim descent from Somerled and Prof Sykes found that between 25 and 45 per cent of them shared the same Y-chromosome, of a kind normally found in Norway but rare in Scotland and Ireland.

By analysing the rate of mutation in DNA samples from clan members, Prof Sykes was able to show that the Y-chromosome came from a common ancestor who lived roughly 1,000 years ago.

He then tested five chiefs from the clans and discovered they all shared the same chromosome, which convinced him that the common ancestor must be Somerled, Lord of the Isles, in keeping with clan histories.

However, the analysis threw into doubt Somerled’s own origins. Prof Sykes told The Scotsman: “In the traditional genealogy, Somerled is a great Celtic hero who drives the Norse from Scotland, but his Y- chromosome is definitely Norse. The genealogies trace him back to a long line of Irish kings. But that’s not what the Y-chromosome says.

“He is certainly of Norse Viking paternal origin.”

It is open to question whether Somerled, who made driving the Vikings from western Scotland his “cause célèbre”, would have known the truth. (I don't like this idea of Somerled driving out the Vikings. Somerled, like all the clan chiefs was a chancer who took every opportunity to extend his territory. For example on the death of the great Scottish King, David 1st, Somerled took the Western seaboard. It didn't matter to him whether his opponents were Vikings or Scots)

The fact that clan chiefs still share the same basic Y-chromosome after some 87 generations shows that high-status women in the MacDonald, MacDougall and MacAllister clans were extremely faithful.

However, the large number of people alive today with the same Y-chromosome means the men in the family did not share this virtue to the same extent.

Maggie Macdonald, archivist of the Museum of the Isles on Skye, said Somerled was traditionally viewed as a Celtic hero.

But she added: “Maybe at that time it was more important who it was said you were descended from than who you were actually descended from.

“People may well have known his great-great-grandfather was a Viking.

“But it could have been that his great-great-grandmother had relations with someone who wasn’t her husband – it could be Somerled wouldn’t have known and thought he was this great Celtic hero.”

John

HISTORY PAGES. Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area




Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ruud wants the weather to be GRIMMER. That's a novelty.



Are these not two of the most beautiful photographs ever? They were taken by our guest in November, Ruud Putten. Thank you Ruud for letting us use them.

Hi John,

Our stay in Kentallen and Glencoe was very nice. The weather not so much but I wished for some grim weather to make the photographs more interesting.

Glen Etive was for me the most exciting place to visit. Very nice scenery and lovely light at moments. Unlucky as I was, I slipped on the last day and wrecked my lens. This one is for the insurance. Physically I’m alright except for some bruises. All that for the perfect image!

The weather of course was terrible at times but we didn’t expect to have sub-tropical conditions. I hoped for some snow on the mountains and we had. The pouring rain on two days we took for granted. Good for a day to Oban where we had a very nice meal at the harbour. Absolutely wonderful seafood platters! The things we have to bring next time are wellies. My size 11 feet didn’t fit in the ones in the backhouse.

We will certainly visit Glencoe in the future. There is so much more to explore, also in other seasons. So, probably you will hear from us soon again.

Ruud


ATTRACTIONS Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland Last minute, late availability Glencoe, self catering cottage 20 brilliant walks around our cottage area Easy hill walks in Glencoe Why not walk up Ben Nevis one day? Easier Munroe walks in Glencoe Skiing Glencoe and Nevis range, cottage is midway between the two Video. Skiing on Glencoe mountain Weather in the West of Scotland Rock and Ice climbing in Glencoe Cycling and fishing Glencoe Spectacular wild life around our cottage Golf in the Highlands, Dragons tooth golf course, Glencoe Cruising the islands, using Glencoe as a base Safe, beautiful beaches and bays in Glencoe area Touring the Highlands by car from Glencoe, Spring breaks, March April May Glencoe Winter breaks, Jan Feb March in the cottage Autumn breaks November December in the cottage Our new Appin blog site

Friday, November 30, 2012

We've never had a review like this. Thank you so much.



Our guests can be gorgeous. This was totally unexpected. Posted in My Cottage Holiday earlier this month. 

MY COTTAGE HOLIDAY
cottage review

Cottage Name: 3 Bayview
Review:
All we can say is WOW! We have just come back from four wonderful days in this lovely little cottage! Everything was perfect, from the comfy beds to the glorious scenery. The area is minutes away from Glencoe and beautiful Glen Etive. Yet it is also a great base for touring further afield to Oban, Fort William, Helensburgh, Loch Lomond and Loch Awe. Also the drive up to Loch Ness and Inverness,or over to Stirling. Gorgeous scenery is everywhere.

We can also recommend the wonderful craft shop, 'Crafts and Things', which is just up the road from the cottage. Please go in the coffee bar there and don't forget to try the apple pie! Gorgeous views over the sleepy loch, mist kissing the sea and cuddling the mountains. We woke up to that every morning. Romantic? You betcha!

Super warm cottage, fully fitted kitchen and I loved the fact that I could put a wash on! Look out of the bathroom every morning, and see a mountain with even a little waterfall right at the top! What more could we ask, and so reasonably priced too!

It's the best holiday We've ever had. Book it! Plenty to do whatever the time of year. Rain doesn't spoil this kind of scenery-the sky has a bright hue whatever the weather.

There's a big file of things to do to peruse as soon as you arrive! The owner is really helpful too and sends lots of information to you on booking. Go to Glen Etive, we've had close encounters with beautiful deer and other wildlife, and the scenery is indescribably beautiful. Just amazing. Altogether a completely wonderful experience! We returned home relaxed and refreshed. We will definitely be booking this delightful cottage again!

GLENCOE OUTDOORS LINKS
The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Procurator Fiscal should be ashamed.




We get the Oban Times each week.

Drink cases are the meat and stuff of the local Sheriff Courts. Sometimes petty theft, sometimes road incidents, sometimes drugs but it is all petty stuff, and most of it is in Fort William and Oban.

This week there was a shocker, a real shocker. I'm not going to name any names, because I don't like the vicious stuff that can be put on the web.

A lady from near Fort William was charged with a £4,300 Benefit Fraud. She was visibly distressed in Court and no wonder. The Sheriff, who decides these things in Scotland's Courts, cleared her of all charges and said "There is an issue with what the newspapers call "Benefit cheats". I do not put you into this category at all". Good for him.

You know what she did? She got a part-time job while she was claiming benefits. She was told, quite correctly, that she could work up to 16 hours a week without it affecting her benefits. That is exactly what she did.

But no one told her that she must report the new job to the Benefits Office.

For that she was summonsed for fraud.

Heavens, what have we come to? A good talking to is the maximum that should have happened.
We bang on about Human Rights, and the European Courts, but we've got this sort of nonsense in our own backyard. Get it sorted everyone.

John

GLENCOE HISTORY PAGES. Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ONE OF THE LOVELIEST PHOTOS OF STALKER CASTLE WE HAVE SEEN




From our guest Stuart Mitchell from Kent. He went with Debbie in October. Thanks Stuart. Walking down the world championship cycle track at the Nevis Range is not something I had ever considered doing personally. Not sure I'll do it now. Yes, please to the pics of the cottage please.
I love this pic. It is the contrast of the modern girl and the mediaeval building, and her red top really  stands out. I even quite like the way the back to the camera shot adds to a sense of mystery (very difficult to get away with, back to the camera) . I might put it in the main website, is that ok Stuart?
ps. Note that the photo without the human being in it would be nothing.

Hi John,

We had a great week and excellent weather.

We spent a while looking at Castle Stalker, got the cable car at the Nevis range and then walked back down the mountain on the cycle track (not recommended), found a nice little walk at Glasdrum Wood with a very informative accompanying leaflet, did the waterfall walk at Inchree which was nice until it dumped us out onto the road for the last mile, went to the Glencoe visitors centre which was not a highlight to be honest, walked to Signal Rock which was nice although we had to clamber under barriers blocking the bridge(!).

Attached a picture of Debbie at Castle Stalker in a t-shirt, in October. Really lucky with the weather.

We have some nice pictures of the cottage from across the bay if you're interested? Cottages and mountain reflecting in the water, really lovely. Let me know and I'll zip some up.

Thanks.
Stuart.

Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area GLENCOE OUTDOORS The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips




Monday, November 12, 2012

THANKS ED. GLENCOE YES. VISITSCOTLAND NO


I salute Ed Daynes. (why? See the Ps)


We are very lucky in Glencoe. We have magnificent co-operation between different accommodation providers (B&Bs, self catering and one hotel, the Clachaig Inn). It cannot be bettered.

When a visitor cannot find accommodation, we can directly circulate it to other owners to reply if they have room. Thousands of guests have been accommodated this way over the past few years.

When we have no room ourselves in our cottage, then we direct them first to the DiscoverGlencoe website, and we also say that if the Clachaig Inn cannot help them, then they will circulate the information to everyone. (However, no other hotel seems to bother it must be said)

Why mention this? Because last week VisitScotland announced in a specious press release blaming the European Commission that it would no longer be able to take bookings for members on its website. The European reference is bunkum. This excuse is trotted out by every government department known to man when it has to done something unpopular.

It has always been a mess that booking system, ever since they sold responsibility for the website to an outside company. Massive complaints, petitions to the Scottish Parliament from thousands of owners, the lot. The previous management were true egocentric rubbish, the new ones seem a bit better.

VS as it charmingly calls itself, could never make their booking system work well for members. VS is expensive to join, and there are also complaints about the way it grades properties. Having said that, by and large people who go to 4 star properties are pretty well satisified with them. There are few, if any, poor service owners amongst them. 3 star owners vary from good to poor.

We are not members of VisitScotland and never have been. I was taken aback by their arrogance and attitude when Gillian and I visited their offices to ask about their service when we started.

I was a very vocal critic of VS a few years back, but in my view they have improved their general marketing since the new management took over.

I actually think this new move is the start of them cleaning up their act. It will get down their costs. They can't compete in this new online world. Thousands of Owners like us have now got our own websites and we know how to market our properties ourselves. Through avoiding VS membership we have saved nearly £2,000 in fees since we started, and it forces us to do the job properly.

ITS NOT ALL BLACK FOR VS
However, I do believe that VS is doing a magnificent job in advertising and promoting Scotland. They have a sensible European promotion strategy, they've dropped the fancy management trips to America just to get a golfer or two to Fife.

The VS promotion to the English market via advertising and pr is absolutely top class. The reputation of Scotland as a holiday destination is very very high. People who have never visited Scotland tell me they are thinking about it now.

It is not going to be popular to say this, but I have a feeling that they may get the grading system sorted out next.(Tip to VS. Get something going like the Checkatrade reporting system for service providers. That will put you at the forefront of world tourist organisations. It will also slash a large part of the property inspection costs)

Then you'll have a bigger budget for advertising.

John
ps. I can be accused, quite properly, of using the benefit of Scotland's advertising without paying any contribution towards it. My answer would be twofold. First, through having a property for let about 40 weeks of the year we have brought in up to £120,000 of tourist spend in Glencoe since we have had the property. Second, if someone asks us for a sensible levy, we will pay it.

pps. Why the reference to Ed Daynes. Well, he is the owner of the Clachaig Inn and it was his personal inspiration and drive which set up our Glencoe accommodation system. He got everyone to support it. It is the Ed Daynes of this world which you need to get the thing going properly. Not committees. Not time servers.

John
GLENCOE OUTDOORS The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips BLOGS Travellers Tales from the highlands of Scotland Find your ideal holiday cottage anywhere The most beautiful photographs of Glencoe The achingly beautiful area of Appin, Scotland Special offers for self catering in Scotland

Saturday, November 10, 2012

HELEN TOOK THE LIFT UP GLENCOE MOUNTAIN - IN OCTOBER





September and October are sometimes quite good months for a break. Helen Konachick emailed us. Thank you Helen. The photos look really nice. you look lovely by the waterfall but I can't upload it Helen, it comes out horizontal for some reason. Not you fault, not mine. I blame Bill Gates. Always have done. The Holly tree rainbow looks nice but it is not the same. Sorry.

"Glencoe was gorgeous. Lovely time of year to visit. Weather could have been a lot worse; bouts of rain most days, but also some sunshine, which meant a lovely rainbow. Only snow we encountered was up a mountain. It certainly could've been much wetter, so feel we were lucky.

We went walking most days. Cuil Bay was great - saw a seal popping up every few mins, and Highland Cattle. Very boggy ground to walk on. Taking the lift up Glencoe Mountain Resort was excellent. We walked about at the top to the 'summit', saw deer, and scrambled down. 


The walk around Braveheart territory was challenging in places, but also very enjoyable. We loved the view from the Holly Tree. (That is the restaurant and hotel close by the cottage. JOHN)
I've attached a few photos with people in them for your blog."


LINKS Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites





Thursday, October 25, 2012

GOOD PLACE FOR A NEW WIFE SAYS KENNY


We have had many professional photographers take pictures of our cottage, but this is one of the loveliest we have ever seen. This one was taken in September by Rod MacDonald, a guest, (now a prized guest). Thank you Rod for permission. I'll be posting others. His photographic website is to be found here. You can email him from here

Kenny and Donna, just married, came to us a couple of weeks ago. What an enthusiast! Who else would write in the guest book, "Stunning scenery all around. Makes me proud to be a Scot"
He likes the Clachaig Inn up the road, and so do Gillian and I. We were in there two weeks ago.

The best bit of his story is where he tells of coming across three Twitchers who had been in position for 3 days looking for sea eagles. Within 5 minutes of Donna and Kenny arriving two flew over the ridge behind them. Like number 11  buses they are. You wait for days for one then .......

Thanks Kenny for your great comments. 
John
PS. We've just had an enquiry for the New Year - the cottage is still available at £595 for any numbers of days between Dec 28 and Jan 7th if anyone is interested.

Short breaks in Scotland, Last minute cottage holidays Scotland, Autumn, Winter, Spring Weather month by month Scotland summer Weather month by month Scotland Autumn Weather in Scotland Winter, month by month Misunderstandings about Scotland's weather Scotland's rain Advice on driving in Scotland. Several Scotland driving pages are linked to this. Honeymoon cottages in Scotland Scotland for Christmas and New Year The unofficial Scottish tourist Board Cottages in Scotland permitting smoking Cottages in Scotland welcoming pets





Monday, October 22, 2012

THE GORY TALE OF THE ISLE OF EIGG





They have been looking this summer for an ancient monastery, Kildonan, on the Isle of Eigg. That's the Island just off the coast with the huge rock knob shape you can see at the South end with steep cliffs to the North. You can reach it by ferry from Mallaig or Arisaig. The Eigg people own the Island now, as part of a Trust. 

These old church sites, were built upon even older religious sites, and this one might go back to Mesolothic times. The archaeological teams are from Glasgow, Cranfield and Birmingham universities

St Donan was the missionary who led a big expedition to Christianise these Islands. A contemporary of St Columba, he actually led a rival group. Apparently he and his followers were murdered and buried in the Church on Apl 17th April 617. How they know this in such detail beats me. 

They had extensive signs of very ancient peoples here, anything up to 8,000 years ago. It has been a violent place in its day. The Vikings from Norway made this one of their early settlements in the 8th century. They brought the spoils from their raids on Iona and they brought slaves captured in Ireland. These poor souls were destined to be taken to Norway, sold on to Sweden, and the survivors from these journeys were taken to Constantinopol.

Isle of Eigg
The Isle of Eigg is situated in the heart of Clanranald country, this small island has a very bloody history being  involved in every MacDonald rebellion against the crown and in a good many feuds. A lengthy feud between the MacDonalds and the MacLeods in the 16th Century led to the death of 395 MacDonalds in 1577, the island’s entire population, in “Uamha Fhraing” (Cave of Frances, aka Massacre Cave) The Clanranald residents of the island took refuge in a cave on the south coast and they were suffocated by a fire lit at the entrance by a party of MacLeods in what apparently was a revenge attack. The feud was finally ended some years later by the marriage of Alan of Moidart to the daughter of MacLeod of MacLeod. Hugh Miller visited this notorious cave three centuries later, in 1844, and described in his book, “The Cruise Of The Betsy,” seeing the bones of adults and children in family groups with the charred remains of their straw mattresses and small household objects. All were finally removed for burial in hallowed ground.

That's enough blood and gore for one day.

John
The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Home now. We miss this place already



This lovely photograph shows Loch Achtriochtan, with Willie's cottage in Glencoe. Before the Massacre there was a small hamlet here. This is what it looks like at this time of year. The photo was sent to us kindly by Bill MacKenzie. Here is his Flickr site.


Just arrived home. Had a wonderful week there, saw Christine, Alan, and met Felicity on Friday in Comrie, saw Mavis on Saturday, Michelle on Sunday, David on Monday at Crafts, then to Inverness to see Mo on Wednesday, Sheila and Mike at Arisaig on Thursday, chat with Jessie on Friday, took Maggie out to the Holly Tree bar, on Friday – Jim was on the rig - home by Sunday.
Nice relaxing time really. Weather was gorgeous.
John

Short breaks in Scotland, Last minute cottage holidays Scotland, Autumn, Winter, Spring Weather month by month Scotland summer Weather month by month Scotland Autumn Weather in Scotland Winter, month by month Misunderstandings about Scotland's weather Scotland's rain Advice on driving in Scotland. Several Scotland driving pages are linked to this.

Friday, October 12, 2012

David Cooper's champion boat for Sale


This is David Coopers champion racing boat. It has won everything. You'll find it outside Crafts and Things the coffee shop by Glencoe village. He has bought a new one, bigger of course, as you do.
I can tell you personally that this is a good price. It is fully discounted against the current market conditions in my view. He could probably get £2/3000 more somewhere else I reckon. However, that's David. - milk of human kindness.
See the details below.
John
Ps. Just in case you think you may leap to the front of the fleet as soon as you have it then I have to tell you that it is not boats which win races, it is the people wot drive them.
If you want to win races, you'd be better off trying to buy David.


Scottish castles in the West Highlands New page in our site about driving on snow and ice Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

An October afternoon in the Scottish Highlands

Started late, why can't we get out of bed up here? Saw these on the Cormorant Rock a short distance from the cottage. Got a better close up on the proper camera but can't get the wretched files across to the laptop.
Weather is splendid. Sorry you've got rain down South. We don't know what that is up here.


Then down to Crafts and Things. Splendid place for lunchtime latte and a bacon bun. Chat with our chum David Cooper, the owner. He does a brilliant job there. It is so well known this place throughout Scotland, stars of stage and screen stop there. The famous Hamish McInnes the Himalayan climber is there most days with his chums.
Then our favourite short run. Over the hill from Glencoe village down to Kinlochleven, 7 miles of road built by German prisoners in World War 1, then towards the light up the other side. This pics from our parking place shows Glencoe and the biggest mountain in the area Bidean nam Bian, well over 3,000 feet. I must say the mobile is a lot better at taking pics than I thought it would be. No telephoto though. Prob there.


Inverness to-morrow to see an old friend. A couple of hours up the side of the Loch, looking out for Nessie.
Not living in hope.
John
Anyone want to come to the cottage in March? We'll give you a nice deal. Got it let until then.
LINKS
Masses of information about the area in our Site map This is about Fort William Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites







Monday, October 08, 2012

This is a Dream World. Glencoe


First we drove down the Coast of Loch Linnhe. Coffee overlooking Stalker Castle above.
Alongside this view.
Then we dropped down to Oban. This photo by Douglie Lee for us.

Bit of Tesco, bit of Homebase for a new crockery set for the cottage, then back up Loch Linnhe to rest awhile in Cuil Bay, just around the corner from us. Here it is
Then to our own Cuil Bay 3 minutes away. Our cottage is on the left. You know what? It all looked exactly like this. Exactly.
Jan Hamilton's photo, from Duror. Thank you Jan. Why can't I take lovely pics like this?

John





Sunday, October 07, 2012

CORRAN FERRY UP TO £7. Bet I know why.


The fare for a car in 2008 was £5.20. 40% increase in 4 years, ouch!

The thing is that the demand is inelastic - people living in remote Ardnamurchan have to get supplies from Fort William, the journey to Oban is much more expensive. All the builders, bus and delivery companies have to use it.

I'll take a bet that their financial people had already written off the cost of the old ferry, and the piers, in 2008.
Lets say that after depreciation year by year they were valued right down to £500,000 (I've got no idea) For that they would have an easy job of making a 7% return on their assets, only needing £35,000 of profits a year.

Now they been upgraded, at a big cost probably. Their new value could easily be £5 million. So they suddenly need £350,000 a year in profits to get 7%. That is an extra £1,000 a day needed. That's where your price increase comes from.

Its no good everyone bleating about it. Its the commercial fact of life.There is no greedy Russian Oligarch involved. Just everyday normal folks. Like your neighbours. How normal is that?

John
ps. On the other hand the price for the ferry crossing for a car to-day is just about the same as it would cost you in petrol to get to Fort William going the long way round and adding 45 minutes to the journey. Funny that, huh?

Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in the West of Scotland Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in Oban Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in Glencoe Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in Fort William Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in the far West of Scotland Holiday accommodation, B&Bs, hotels in Appin Port Appin and Lismore B&Bs Barcaldine B&Bs and hotels Duror b&b Kentallen b&bs Ballachulish B&Bs Onich B&B

Saturday, October 06, 2012

We stayed at the Holly Tree last night



This great picture is from a lovely website about old Appin
It shows the Oban steamer leaving Kentallen Pier, probably around the turn of the century. There is the old railway line down there with Kentallen Station, which is now the lovely Holly Tree hotel.

Once a week, people from these parts went into Oban for their shopping, until they built the railway line.
This was renowned as one of the most beautiful railway lines in the world, running alongside the shore all the way down to Stalker Castle. Then it was closed by Dr. Beeching.

The old line ran behind our cottage. Jessie, our lovely neighbour, tells of the times when her son came home from school each day, the driver slowed down, the boy would throw his satchel out then himself into his back garden. You can see the railway jobsworths doing that to-day can't you?

We stayed last night at the Holly Tree. The sun shone all day yesterday and all day to-day. To look out on this view is bliss.

Last week's guests write in our book. "What a place to bring my new wife! ....stunning scenery around every corner, makes me proud to be a Scot!

John
The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips

Saturday, September 29, 2012

CYCLING AROUND GLENCOE

They've built a new cycle path along a lovely stretch along the coast from Glencoe to our Kentallen village. Ultimately, when the country has enough money, they'll continue it down to Campbeltown. (Don't ask, Google maps. near Northern Ireland)
I came across this lovely little film and commentary. Quite short. Beautiful though.
John

Friday, August 24, 2012

He was hunted as a fugitive, sheltered by the MacDonalds to become Scotland's most famous King

A longer blog post than usual. People are interested in the story of the most famous King of Scots, Robert the Bruce. His family title was Robert V111 de Bruce. He hid out on with the West coast as a fugitive guarded by his friend Angus Og, the MacDonald Chief. He had a sad family life. We think he looked like this.


In 1307 the King of Scotland, Robert the Bruce was in hiding, in the West Coast of Scotland the world's most glorious playground. He had a close band of followers, including the High Steward of Scotland and was being looked after by his friend Angus Og, chief of the MacDonalds.. A terrible fate awaited him if he was caught. He would have been taken to London to be hanged, drawn and quartered. He would have had a show trial, would have been scorned and abused by the London crowds. His sadistic rival Edward 1st of England would have him found guilty. This dreadful punishment was reserved only for the men most hated by Edward and Bruce was his leading opponent. He had already done this to David, Prince of Wales, for his so-called treason, and to the rebel Scots Knight, William Wallace, again for treason.

As they scrambled in MacDonald boats from island to island, from Rathlin to Islay, to Mull then probably to Tioram Castle on Ardnamurchan, hiding from Edward's fleet often in the open or in caves, the followers of the King formed a close bond of friendship. Bruce spoke Gaelic, which was a great asset in the Highlands. No one there spoke either English nor French.

Their triumph was to come in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn where the Scots army faced overwhelming odds, yet emerged victorious. One year later, Robert the Bruce's daughter, Marjorie, married his friend Walter, the High Steward of Scotland. In triumph, Bruce gave Angus Og the lands of Duror and Glencoe, he gave the Campbells the castle of Inverlochy and the Oban area, and into Appin he put the Stewarts. The Appin land lay strategically between both of the clans probably in case of trouble between them.

Little did any of them know that the marriage would be the foundation of the magnificent line of Stewart Kings and Queens for 400 years. Their son became Robert 11, and their successors included Mary Queen of Scots, the executed Charles 1st, and the final Stewart monarch, Queen Anne. Their homelands in Appin were very important to the Stewarts. James IV often visited his cousin in Stalker Castle, Appin in the 15th century for hunting and fishing.

A SAD POSTSCRIPT
Bruce's family story was extremely sad. His wife died in childbirth at 19. While he was in revolt his 2nd wife, two sisters and his daughter were turned over to the English King. His brother was executed brutally. The women were imprisoned for years, two of them were put in cages for 4 years hung in public view. They were released after Bannockburn in exchange for hostages.

When she was released Marjorie married The High Steward. She had a child, David, who later became King. Then 2 years after Bannockburn she fell off a horse near Paisley and died. She was just 19, the same age as her mother.

WHAT DID ROBERT THE BRUCE LOOK LIKE?
The picture shows a forensic reconstruction of Robert the Bruce's features, as he might have looked just before his death at the age of 55 It was created by a forensic scientist using a cast made of a skull, unearthed during excavations at Dunfermline Abbey in 1818 and believed to have been that of the Scottish king.
It shows Bruce with a deep scar across his face and eye and ravaged by leprosy. It is known that Bruce suffered from dysentery and a skin illness, which may have been leprosy, though someauthorities dispute this.


John
HISTORY LINKS Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area





Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Glencoe Mountain Rescue team out twice


The Coire above the Hidden Valley. 
Thousands of people walk up the Hidden Valley each year. Known as Coire Gabhail it is the main target for folks with only a day or so to spare.
Equally thousands of people walk the West Highland Way each year, from just South of Loch Lomond up to Fort William.
Inevitably a few of them have problems. Two parties were found and helped by the Glencoe Rescue team in one weekend in July. 
A couple of Dutch walkers lost their way near the Kings House Hotel on Rannoch Moor around 11.00pm. They wouldn't be the first people to be lost and confused in that pub. They had to be found first before being taken to Glencoe village. A lady walking in the Hidden Valley tripped, twisted her ankle and had to be stretchered down the hill. 
Have you ever tried to carry someone on a stretcher? Going down a rough path on a steep hill? It is very hard work I can tell you.

The rescuers are all volunteers, unpaid. They are on stand by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is a call out somewhere, on average once a week. They depend mostly upon public support.

This is a website whereby you can buy stuff online and a percentage goes to the Glencoe  Rescue team so technically it does not cost a penny.  You can help the Teams finances without giving a donation through this site

The founder of the team is Hamish McInnes. See our other blog posting for news of him.

John
ps.November seems to be filling up in the cottage, but not October so much. Why is that?

The best walks in Glencoe Ben Nevis, go climb it Munros are over 3,000 feet Some Munros are easy Glencoe rock climbing Skiing in Glencoe is excellent again New cycle tracks around Glencoe There are lovely beaches and bays around Glencoe Accommodation Fort William Golf on the West coast Tour the Highlands You can cruise the West coast Driving around glencoe on snow and ice - Tips

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Shh! This may not be true. (But it probably is)


As you stand on the Ballachulish Bridge and look East along Loch Leven towards the Pap of Glencoe, behind you will be the rock on which they hanged James of the Glens for killing Campbell, the local factor - land agent - after the Bonnie Price Charlie uprising.

Almost certainly James did not do it. The Campbells were intent on revenge. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his famous book Kidnapped, based on the tale. This is true.

But in front of you at low tide you will see another rock, a small one. This is the likely spot of another older historical incident, if the Viking Sagas are to be believed.

Loch Leven would be the deepest point inland point where the Vikings went in their longboats. They were a long way from their supply lines. This small rock beside the shore is covered at mid tide. The Sagas have it that a Viking Price was drowned when his boat struck a rock here and filled with water. No date, no name, no details just a story. True? Well, why not?

The Sagas were stories handed down from generation to generation about the Viking families, their deeds and their rivalries. Look left, to the trees behind the Loch Leven Hotel and there they found the Ballachulish Goddess, dated to 626bc a wooden figure now in the Scottish Museum. Also there are the remnants of a small inland water on which they say they found traces of a Crannog, which was a homestead built on stilts on inland waters used in the Bronze Age. Traces of a Viking battle are round the corner to the South of where you stand.

 Romance? You can't beat Glencoe. A treasure trove of stories. I haven't mentioned the 3,000 year old Standing Stone in Onich, which you can see from the main road, nor the famous Glencoe Massacre, nor Ballachulish house where Queen Victoria stayed.

John
HISTORY PAGES. Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area

Monday, July 30, 2012

Gillian and I each woke up in the middle of the night with this nightmare

Bill McKenzies lovely pic of the cottage and the Bay. He gave us permission to use it from his Flickr site. He has some brilliant photos of Glencoe here


This is everyone's personal horror story, if they offer accomodation. Double booking.

Saturday evening last. Arrive home to find 2 emails waiting for us through this brilliant co-operative email service which Glencoe owners use between us. When there is no room at the inn - or b&b or cottage then the visitor's need can be circulated to everyone in the Glencoe area so they can find somewhere to stay.
In our absence, the Glencoe people were trying to find somewhere for a French family who had  turned up at our cottage thinking they were booked in only to find that existing people had arrived earlier that day.

Aarrgh! The French family were now at the Pineapple House in Duror. They were out at dinner but at least I had their name. Worryingly they were clutching a piece of paper with our cottage details on it. I searched the computer for them, nothing found. I checked Paypal, nothing. I knew we had had no bookings nor enquiries from France in the past year. But I can be notoriously inattentive sometimes. Can you imagine what feelings the poor family had on the first day of their holiday in Scotland?

Gillian and I each woke up in the middle of the night worrying about it. If it is our fault then we would have to find somewhere good and pay for it. Would the Holly Tree Hotel have vacancies for a week? Unlikely in the middle of the school holiday. Then the Clachaig said they might have a cottage available.......

In the morning, Jan the new owner of Pineapple House rang to say that it was all a false alarm. When they looked for their papers, they found they were booked in a cottage in Strontian, across the water, and were on their way there. Oh, the relief.

How did it come about, how did they come to us, why did they have our cottage details with them?

I'm guessing, but this is what I think may have happened. Three years ago I signed up with a big French Holiday directory to list our cottage. When I raised questions with them about their trading I received no reply. I even tried to reach their Chief Executive in Paris. Nothing happened. We seemed to get a number of unsuitable enquiries from them and more just before our renewal date. We asked to be taken off their site but WE ARE STILL ON IT. They send us enquiries from the clients, but we are not enabled to reply, presumably to encourage us back in to this directory. So their clients are disappointed to receive no reply and book elsewhere. The Directory is on our Spam list.

I think this family tried to book with us, received no reply, but by mistake brought a printed copy of the website listing with them.

Tricky this modern world. Keeps you awake at night sometimes.
John

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