Glen Coe and A Wee Massacre

    I recently purchased the latest Julie Fowlis album on itunes.  Brian and I have had the opportunity of watching her preform a couple of times, singing in Gaelic, old tunes from the islands of Scotland, she is a brilliant musician.  It goes with out saying that each time I hear her tunes I am transported back to Scotland and so many memories arise of our travels through that country.  

    There were so many beautiful places that I find it hard to ever say "X" is the most beautiful place in Scotland.  As a matter of fact, I would find it hard to trust anyone that quickly stated that one single place in Scotland was more beautiful than and other.  So instead I speak in terms of the memory of a place and the level of that memory.  One of my fondest memories  by far was our impromptu walk in the village of Ballachulish,  in Glen Coe.  We had stopped at least a half dozen times to take photos of the glen when we finally decided we should just park the car and take a walk.  We were lucky enough to find an old dirt road that ran parallel to the main road.  Surely this must have been the old road through Glen Coe ?  Our imaginations ran wild with visions of Scots of old in kilts traveling on the road between villages through the glen, Scotland will  do that to the imagination.

   There was the threat of rain and the temperatures were in the low 50's with a good stiff wind, perfect soft Scottish weather.  We walked a couple of miles not really talking, we just took in the awesomeness of the place we had found ourselves in.   Our walk took us over a small brook, and past fields of heather, all the while the wind blew and the clouds would not relent.  It was perfect !!

    After about and hour or more of walking we found ourselves chilled to the bone and extremely hungry.  Luckily not far down the road was the Clachaig Inn, a picturesque inn set back in the woods with a pub that was a total cliche of the typical Scottish country pub.  Fine with us, we had subsisted happily on pub fare throughout much of the country.  It is important to know that during our sojourn to Scotland we were able to meet and spend time with our dear friends Mark and Mairi.  We spent a weekend in Oban and enjoyed a trip to the isle of Mull, sharing pub dinners with locals playing tunes by the fireside and Mark and Mairi's wee dog Texas at our feet as we dined.  

    Now we found in Scotland there are certain nuances to the culture, and people most certainly identify with family groups and regions of birth.  Much of this was lost on us until our lunch at the Inn.  On our arrival this was the sign we encountered.

    Puzzled to say the least, I was concerned as well because I knew that Mairi's maiden name was Campbell.  I had to know !  what on earth would cause a place of business to have such a rule ?  I immediately sent a picture of the sign to Mairi.  Her return text was even more puzzling,  "it was because of a wee massacre."    Well now I was on a mission, I googled massacre at Glen Coe and quickly had my answer.  On February 13 1692 thirty eight men, woman, and children of the McDonald clan were murdered by a contingent of the Campbell clan, without cause.  A massacre.    I wrote to Mairi later that day and explained that I had subsequently learned what the sign really meant and expressed my relief, joking of course, that she wasn't with us.    I heard from Mairi again, I was reassured that the Campbells that committed the infamous massacre at Glen Coe were not her people.  You see the perpetrators of the massacre were the Campbells of Argyll, she herself, my dear sweet, fair haired friend Mairi was a Campbell of Lewis.

Good to know Mairi……………good to know.

Here's a Julie Fowlis video link

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