Glencoe Holidays

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See Some Basking Sharks!

Basking sharks are amazing creatures. You can see them up close by visiting Basking Shark Scotland.

Seafari

Seafari offers exciting boat trips and wildlife tours. Experience the beauty of the sea by visiting Seafari.

Walk Highlands

Explore the stunning landscapes of the Highlands by visiting Walk Highlands.

Diving

With the hotel having its own pier, it really is a huge attraction for divers. There is a well-known reef close to the pier which is a favorite spot for visiting divers staying locally or in Glencoe and Lochaber. We often have divers using our ample car parking to leave their car, then going for a fantastic dive and explore off the pier. Although we do not charge divers for using our car parking or pier, we do ask them to bring us something back from the murky deep! We did gather up quite a collection of fascinating old bottles and jars and other such nik naks, but lately this has been in the form of some brilliant footage uploaded to YouTube, usually alongside some fabulous accompanying music. Just type in "Kentallen wall dive" on YouTube and you will have many amazing videos to choose from!

A trip to the Island of Mull

Take a trip to the beautiful Island of Mull. You can travel to Oban to catch the ferry or drive across unspoiled Ardnamurchan and cross on the Fishnish to Lochaline ferry. In Mull, you can tour around and even visit the legendary Isle of Iona. This is the ancient burial place of the kings of Scotland. John Smith, the former leader of the Labour party, is also buried there. You can easily do a round trip to Mull in a day.

Touring Ardnamurchan

A short trip across the Corran Ferry finds Ardnamurchan and this is a great place to tour around. Entirely unspoilt and terrific for stress relief.

A trip to Oban - Gateway to the Isles

An interesting day out could be combining some shopping in Oban or even a visit to the distillery where the fine "Oban" whisky is made. Decide who's driving back before you go! Oban has an interesting monument called McCaig's tower which was built by the wealth philanthropic banker John Stuart McCaig who designed the tower as a monument to his own family, and wanted to provide work for the local stonemasons over the winter months. He fell out with the town council over the tower and then ran out of money before the tower had a roof on it. It is none the less an interesting landmark looking down onto Oban bay from the hill. It is an interesting site and the ferries arriving and leaving Oban are a wonderful sight from within the tower. Lovely spot to picnic and take in the hustle and bustle of Oban.

Oban itself is often described as the gateway to the Isles and Calmac ferries (Caledonian MacBrayne) run to many of the Scottish west coast Islands including Mull, Barra, Lismore, Tiree, Coll, Colonsay, and South and North Uist. The Hotel makes a good stopover on the way to getting a ferry and early breakfasts can be arranged.

Oban is a principal market town serving a number of outlying areas and Islands and as such had a very good selection of both local shops and many high street names, such as Tescos, Boots, Lidl, Aldi, New Look, Superdrug, Specsavers, and Argos.

There are also a number of high street banks and building societies located in Oban.

A visit to Glencoe Village

If you arrive in the Fort William and Lochaber area from the south - on the A82 over Rannoch Moor - it is the dark, majestic mountains of Glencoe which will greet you. However, as you drive past the buttresses of Meall a'Bhuiridh and get your first real view of the towering Buchaille Etive Mor - the Great Shepherd of Etive - a shiver may run down your spine. It may be a shiver of anticipation if you are here to climb or a shiver of sorrow if you recall the treacherous massacre with which Glencoe is forever associated. Or perhaps, for first time visitors at least, a shiver of awe as the mountains rise up to dominate your passage through the glen. If you wish to explore this area, then an interesting diversion can be made down Glen Etive through the scattered settlement of Dalness to Loch Etive. Or you might prefer to get a bird's eye view of the area and the chairlift at the Glencoe Ski Centre can offer you just that. A 15-minute trip whisks you up to 2400 feet from where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. During winter, of course, the centre is one of Scotland's leading ski resorts but whatever time of year you visit, you might want to pop into the Museum of Scottish Skiing and Mountaineering which contains interesting exhibits, photographs, and memorabilia of the great outdoors. Further down the glen, in a spectacular setting on the banks of the River Coe, the National Trust for Scotland's Glencoe Visitor Centre provides an interesting introduction to the area. The centre includes a display on mountaineering, a shop, a snack bar and picnic area. Of course, it also tells the story of the infamous massacre. Following his succession to the throne, William III tried to get all the Highland clans to swear an oath of allegiance by 1 January 1692. After much hesitation the Jacobite clans of the west Highlands agreed to do so, but MacIain of Glencoe, chief of a small branch of Clan Donald, left his journey too late and arrived in Inveraray after the deadline. The government decided that the rebellious clan should be made an example of, and sent the loyal Campbell Earl of Argyll's Regiment to Glencoe, where they spent two weeks billeted with the locals awaiting their orders. On 5 February the fateful orders arrived and early the next morning the soldiers turned on their erstwhile hosts, killing MacIain and 37 of his clansmen in a botched attempt at government-sanctioned genocide. A fascinating visit if you have time, is to MacDonald's Island located just along from Glencoe Village in Loch Leven. Be careful not to scare of the breeding terns when they are in season and there is usually a notice to that effect on one side of the Island. On the Island you can walk amongst the gravestones and think about what trauma and tragedy there must have been in the aftermath of the massacre. Nearby, the village of Ballachulish the local Tourist Information Centre has a number of intepretive displays telling the story of the Ballachulish Slate Quarries. Meanwhile, if you travel east to the head of Loch Leven, where the famous West Highland Way winds through the village of Kinlochleven, you will discover that the Kinlochleven Visitor Centre tells another tale of the area's surprising industrial heritage in 'The Aluminium Story'.

The Appin Murder Sites

The Appin Murder of 1752 has been transformed into Legend by Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel "Kidnapped". However, the real story is closer to home. The legend is based on local clan rivalry between the Campbell's, who were in favour with the Hanoverian government of the time, and the Stewarts of Appin, who were Jacobites. The story goes that the "Red Fox" - Colin Campbell of Glenure, a government agent was on his way to evict a local tenant when he was shot in the back by an unknown assailant. The suspicion fell on Alan Breck Stewart, the colourful character in Stevenson's book. Wisely, Breck, who was probably innocent fled for his life. A local man, James Stewart, in whose house Breck had stayed, was immediately arrested. At his trial in Inveraray he was found guilty of being art and part of the murder plot, and was hanged on the 8th of September 1752, at a spot beside the present site of the Ballachulish bridge in a public spectacle. It is almost certain he did not have anything to do with the murder, but eleven out of the fifteen jury members were Campbells and so it is doubtful if his trial was fair. His body was gruesomely allowed to hang for several months as a warning to the local people. There is now a cycle path that runs along the old roadway and the various Appin Murder sites can be visited either by foot or by the road. There are still various local sites that are worth visiting which were the original sites involved in the murder. Well worth a visit! We have even been honoured to have had members of the Robert Louis Stevenson club stay at the Hotel. They enjoyed a great couple of days visiting the Appin Murder sites near to the Hotel which was a great attraction in Scotland for many of the International visitors with the group. There was even a recent attempt by a member of the Scottish parliament to have the case reopened and looked at by the Scottish criminal review body.

A visit to a Film Location

Films made in the Highlands

Because of its beautiful scenery the Highlands of Scotland has proved a popular destination for many Hollywood films. Here are some of them.

Braveheart

This blockbuster starring Mel Gibson was filmed not far from the Hotel in the mountains of Glencoe with the Hollywood superstar passing actually staying along the road from the Hotel in a rented private house complete with flown in entourage. They constructed a special "fort" in Glencoe for filming and this took months to put together. Rumour has it that one day Mel Gibson had a bit of a hangover and turned up a bit grouchy. They had a fairly lengthy horse scene to do and Mr Gibson said he was not having any of it. So they filmed him from the middle up whilst he was actually straddled on some big guy's shoulders bobbing up and down like he was on a horse for the whole scene.

Harry Potter films

A large part of the films were filmed in a number of locations close to Glencoe. The Hogwarts express train is actually the Mallaig to Fort William steam train which operates during the summer and is a fantastic day out. Enjoy the scenery on the way to Mallaig - a quick bite of fish and chips there and a wander around and then back in time for dinner at the Hotel. A fab day out. Sit on the left hand side of the Hogwarts express as you leave Fort WIlliam. Another location for the film is in Glencoe where they erected a specially constructed Hagrid's house for filming. Robbie Coltrane was in the Hotel during one of his filming trips and really is almost as scary as Hagrid. He's certainly our kids' favourite character. Many of the other kids in the films were extras from the local schools. There was a bit of a debate since they got paid but because part of the filming has to take place during the day for light purposes some of the kids payments were taken by the local authority much to their and their parents' distaste.

Rob Roy

Hollywood hero Liam Neeson starred in this film alongside Jessica Lange, John Hurt, Tim Roth, Brian Cox, Eric Stoltz and Andrew Keir in this epic tale. Scenes were shot in Glencoe, Glen Nevis and Rannoch Moor all not far from the Hotel. Rumour has it that many of the inside shots were actually filmed in a large agricultural building in Perthshire. From one of the opening scenes where Liam Neeson scares off a rough looking crowd of cattle rusters the film makes the most of the wonderful scenery with some of the helicopter filmed scenes quite breathtaking. Well worth a rewatch. Some of the music was written and performed by a band called Capercallie from Taynuilt and Oban in Argyll. Donald Shaw and Karen Mathieson were the founder members both from Taynuilt, near Oban and their bewitching celtic music fits wonderfully well into the film.

Cruachan Power Station

An appealing drive is to go to Oban and then to head for Tyndrum. On the way, you could stop off on Loch Awe and visit the power station dubbed "the hollow mountain" since there is a large tunnel leading to the power station a couple of miles into the mountain. If you then keep going to Tyndrum and then back through the Glen back to the Holly Tree, you will find this a fascinating drive. The drive through the Glen often sees, depending on the weather, the wild deer near the roadside and some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland.

Castle Stalker

Around ten miles on the Oban road lies Castle Stalker, or STALCAIR as it was originally, which was built in the 13th Century. Steeped in history, it was lost in a game of cards by the local Stewart clan but later recovered after the battle of Killicrankie. In 1966 it was bought by the Allward family who open it on certain days, which usually coincide with the local Appin show. The castle, given its location and lowered elevation from the road, makes a wonderful photo opportunity.

Horse Riding or Boating at Lettershuna

The Zveginstov family at Lettershuna will look after you for a morning or afternoon with boating or horse riding. The site is only ten miles on the Oban road. After the exercise, you can retreat to the Holly Tree for some pampering.

A day trip to Fort William Lochaber Outdoor Capital of the UK

Fort William is about 14 miles away and is a lovely drive. The town itself is situated beside the water in Loch Linnhe. It has a population of around 8,000 people which greatly increases in the summer months. There are a large number of interesting shops and a summer market.

A Walk Up Britain's Highest Mountain or Some Munro Bagging

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is located just the other side of Fort William, about twenty minutes' drive from the Hotel. Munro Bagging is a popular hill walking practice of trying to walk up as many hills in Scotland over 3,000 feet in height. Lochaber, the Outdoor Capital of the UK, is blessed with a substantial number of these hills and of course is home to the Glencoe range of mountains and Ben Nevis range which is Britain's highest. Ben Nevis and Munro Bagging

The Munros

Ben Nevis is Britains highest mountain and is located just the other side of Fort William around 14 miles from the Hoel. Scotland's highest mountains are known as Munros, named after Sir Hugh T. Munro who in 1891 surveyed all the country's mountains above 3000 feet (914.4 metres) and produced his Tables which catalogued 236 peaks that he deemed to be individual mountains. Over the years and with advances in surveying methods, there have been several revisions to Munro's original listing, the latest being in 1997. Currently, there are 284 Munros and a further 511 'Tops' (those peaks above 3000 feet which are part of a range or ridge but which are judged not to be a separate mountain). Climbing all the Munros, or Munro-bagging as it's usually called, is a very popular pursuit amongst the climbing and hillwalking fraternity. The first recorded Munro-bagger to climb all the 3000-feet peaks was the Rev. A. E. Robertson in 1901.

The Corbetts

The Corbetts is the collective name given to the 221 distinct mountains in Scotland which are between 2500 (762 m) feet and 2999 (914 m) feet, and which have a re-ascent of 500 feet on all sides. They are named after John Rooke Corbett who in 1930 became the first person to climb all the 2000-feet-high peaks in Scotland. (He was also only the second person ever to complete all the Munros and Tops and the fourth to complete only the Munros). Like Munro-bagging, Corbett-bagging is a very popular pursuit. It has its own dedicated followers who claim that, in general, the Corbetts provide a better day's walking than the higher peaks.

The Grahams

The Grahams are those mountains in Scotland with heights between 2000 m (610 m) and 2499 m (761 m). Originally known as Elsies ('LCs' or Lower Corbetts), the 224 peaks were renamed in memory of Fiona Torbet (nee Graham) who published her own list of these peaks in the early 1990s.

Sailing and Watersports

This area is a magnet for all sorts of water based activities. The sheltered waters of Loch Linnhe make this area perfect. From sailing to kayaking to paddle boarding to open water swimming, this is the perfect place to explore the great outdoors! We often have cruising yachts stop off at the hotel for dinner or just 'refreshments'. We have visitor moorings which are free if you dine in our bar or restaurant. Refreshing warm showers and use of our indoor heated pool and sauna are also available. Can you think of anything nicer than coming off a yacht after a few days hard sailing, for a warm swim, sauna and then delicious meal in our lochside restaurant?! We should always have space for visitors but if you want to call to confirm availability please do.

Fishing

There are lots of places to go fishing in the area, although in some areas there might be restrictions or permits might be required. The stretch of water in front of the Hotel is a sea loch called Loch Linnhe. This is a salt water loch and fishing is free with no permit required. You are welcome to fish off the end of our own pier where you can try your hand at catching pollock, mackerel, conger eel, Thornback Ray, Cod, Flounder, Sea Trout, Dogfish and Ling, to name a few. Mackerel are here in large shoals from around the start of June until the end of September, and taste delicious barbecued! About a 5 minute walk from the hotel there is an old jetty that is excellent for fishing and popular with local fishermen too. Glencoe Lochan is not only a beautiful walk but is regularly stocked with rainbow trout. Permits are required. Heading towards Fort William, the Corran Narrows at Corran Ferry is a great place for a spot of sea fishing too. Watch the seals on their rocky outcrop looking to pounce on the fish before you do! There are three scenic lochans at Torlundy Farm, by Fort William which are well stocked with Rainbow trout. Worth a visit as they supply fishing tackle, fly fishing tuition and the views of Ben Nevis are superb! The local hardware shop in Ballachulish, Tools and Tackle, can also help you out with all your fishing needs. They also sell bait and will let you know the best places to fish at the present time.

Climbing

The West Coast of Scotland is renowned for its fantastic walking and climbing areas. Ben Nevis is Britain's highest mountain and is about 15 miles from Kentallen and the majestic mountains of Glencoe are only an eight minute drive away. We are only twenty minute away from Fort William and Lochaber which has been crowned the Outdoor Capital of the UK. If you don't fancy outdoor climbing, then visit indoor climbing at Three Wise Monkeys.

Harry Potter

A lot of the locations used in the filming of the Harry Potter movies was done in Glencoe, due to the spectacular scenery. One of the notable locations is Torren Lochan, where Hagrid's Hut was built. You can spot a familiar backdrop in the film, and there's even a replica hut built nearby, allowing you to immerse yourself in the magic of the movie. The production team of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also created Hagrid's Hut on location at Clachaig Gully in Glencoe, Scotland. This gives you the chance to witness the craftsmanship that went into constructing this iconic set. Last, but certainly not least, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famously known as the Harry Potter bridge, which appeared in four Harry Potter films. Experience the thrill of standing on this historic bridge and relive the magical moments from the movies - hopefully there won't be any dementors trying to chase you off.

Off The Beaten Track

For some more hard to find and lesser known things to do, a great website to check out is Off The Beaten Track.