Wednesday, August 08, 2012
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.
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