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A beautiful Scottish valley with a tragic past

The word "glen", derived from the old Irish language, means a long and deep valley. They're often attractive places, but Glen Coe is a particularly fine specimen.
You'll find it in the western Highlands, not far from Ben Nevis. It's has a length of 16 kilometres but a width of just 700 metres. The hills and mountains loom up ominously on both sides. Threading it all together are the various waterways, starting with the River Coe itself, and ending with Loch Leven in the west.
The name "Glen Coe" is often thought to mean "the glen of weeping". This is probably not true, but you can see where the idea came from. In the 17th century, this pretty valley was the scene of one of the saddest events in Scottish history.
At the time, William of Orange had just been crowned King of both England and Scotland. He decreed that all the Highland clans were required to sign a pledge of allegiance to him. One such clan was the MacIains, of Glencoe. Due to a combination of bad weather and bad luck, their leader was several days late in signing this oath. He couldn't have foreseen the consequences that this would have.
A man called Robert Campbell was despatched to deliver the MacIains' punishment. However, when he and his troops arrived at Glencoe, they did nothing at first. They accepted the Highlanders' hospitality, and spent several days living there in peace. It was only later, while the clan slept, that Campbell's forces carried out their mission. On that dark night, as a blizzard swept through the valley, they rose from their beds. Quietly and carefully, they began to murder the entire village. Some of the clan managed to escape but, by dawn, 38 villagers lay dead. This atrocity has never been forgotten in Scotland. To this day, some people will never trust a Campbell.
Despite its bloody past, Glen Coe attracts plenty of visitors. It's on the A82, a main northern road, making it very easy to access. Its a journey well worth making. The scenery is unrivalled.
Hiking is an unsurprisingly popular activity, especially with more experienced, adventurous walkers. The area is also something of a Mecca for climbing enthusiasts. What may come as slightly more of a surprise is that Glen Coe offers fantastic skiing. Every winter the snow descends, and the mountains resemble a scene from the Alps.
Down at the bottom of the slopes, the valley has many more features to boast about. At the Pass of Glen Coe, the river pours over a series of pretty waterfalls. Comedy enthusiasts may recognise the place from the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". It was used as the set for both "The Bridge of Death" and The Gorge of Eternal Peril". If you haven't seen the movie, don't let these names put off! In reality, there's very little chance of either death or peril.
The only settlement in the valley, aside from a few farms, is Glencoe Village. It stands at the western end of the glen, on the shores of Loch Leven. There are several hotels and cottages where you can stay, and a few restaurants where you can refuel. Another accommodation option is the famous Clachaig Inn, which is a little deeper into the valley. After a hard day's walking, this is where everybody comes to swap stories of their latest exploits.

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