Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scots sold as slaves in Istanbul markets. I'm not kidding.

The old Scottish stories are wonderful, but there were some dark, horrible times.

Take the Corran ferry, by Onich, drive for an hour and a bit and you'll find Kilchoan. A lovely delightful remote spot, just opposite Tobermory on Mull. Back down the coast a little way and you'll see an old Lord of the Isles Castle. Mingary.

It has a most gorgeous site. But in the dark days of the Vikings, it would have been the scene of many savage events. Between the 9th century and the 12th century there would have been raid after raid.

Vikings had a habit of attacking from the sea, at night, taking the men and women of a village back to the Orkeys, then shipping them on to Sweden. They would be transported then down the Volga River as far as Istanbul where they were sold in the many slave markets. Yes, I promise you, they went that far. Mingary probably had an old wooden structure for a castle to warn of Viking approaches. But the force used was usually overwhelming against a predominantly fishing community.

The men who resisted were beheaded, and their skulls mounted in Castle Walls. Not nice.This possibly led to later skull and crossbones carvings. You can see one of these at Ardchattan Priory, dating from the 15th century.

ps. If you are around Fort William  then a really lovely way to go to Oban that no one ever thinks of is to get the little Corran Ferry, drive to Kilchoan, get the Ferry to Tobermory on Mull, then Oban via the ferry. Takes you about 6 hours with stops. Wonderful. See Mingary castle as in the photograph. This is God's chosen country isn't it?

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Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands
Last minute, late availability self catering cottage Glencoe  Coottage details More details about our cottage 20 lovely walks around the area

Friday, November 08, 2013


The New Year in Glencoe is wonderful. At the moment the cottage is still available. We usually sell out late in the year. £595 pr £150 a night, Sleeps 4. This truly pretty cottage is on the edge of Loch Linnhe. So what's on? 

The spectacular Holly Tree Hotel with its wonderful location by Loch Linnhe is just a 400 yard walk away. Here is what they offer for New Year's Eve.
"Join us for some mulled wine in the Captain's bar before a wonderful celebratory dinner served in the Seafood restaurant. The evening festivities begin in earnest with a traditional Highland Ceilidh, make sure you bring your dancing shoes!"

This is what is on offer at the climber's Clachaig Inn
"A special 4 course table d’hôte dinner menu served in the Ossian Lounge each evening.  Live music every night Join in the Hoolie from 9.00pm through to the bells in the Boots Bar. Live music ‘til the wee small hours. 
Our Hogmanay celebrations are very informal, and it’s this relaxed and informal approach that makes Hogmanay so enjoyable"

Or you might be lucky and get in at the Lochleven Hotel. It is small.
"Celebrate New Year at The Loch Leven Hotel with festive food and drink and warm atmosphere.  Dinner on New Year’s Eve, Entertainment, A glass of sparkling wine or a dram of whisky at midnight on 31st"

Actually the Onich hotel looks good. It may be the best.
"The Onich Hotel has the perfect night planned. You will be greeted with a Champagne and Canape reception; after which we will seat you in our loch side restaurant where you will be wowed with a  4 Course Gala Dinner

"The evening's entertainment will kick off with a fun Casino Night, the winner of which will receive a fabulous secret prize. Put on you dancing shoes for the Live Music  followed by our LEGENDARY Fireworks to celebrate the bells. Then dance the night away as our House Band continues to play into the wee hours of the morning"

Or, maybe the famous Airds hotel, the plushest in the Region. This is where Cherie and Tony Blair had their honeymoon. It will set you back a bawbee or two.

Join us for a champagne reception from 7.00pm after which our Head Chef will once again serve up a mouth-watering dinner to set you up for the evening!  After dinner we invite you to our Scottish Ceilidh or alternatively just relax in the lounges. Do not worry if you are not well versed in Scottish dancing as we have a caller to explain each dance. Having no doubt built up an appetite again after the dancing, enjoy some stovies prior to retiring to bed.  Alternatively just enjoy the stovies without the dancing! 

This is our Lochside cottage near Glencoe in Lochaber 

Short breaks are often available at the last minute in our self catering cottage 
These are our cottage details and photos 
Some more details about the cottage 
Many brilliant walks around the cottage

Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
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