When you travel on a barge cruise, Scotland offers one of the most dramatic and breath-taking sightseeing opportunities imaginable. Cruising the waterways of the Scottish Highlands on a comfortable and welcoming hotel barge is a magical and memorable experience that appeals to a wide range of people. |
With a small group of like-minded passengers, you’ll be able to sit back and relax as you’re navigated through the waterway of the beautiful Caledonian Canal. With plenty of chances to take shore excursions to explore, from crumbling historic castles to the heart-rending rugged beauty of the landscape, for those on a barge cruise, Scotland delivers a never-ending supply of the ‘wow’ factor.
One place you’ll probably visit on a Scottish cruise is the town of Glencoe, most famous as the site of one of the most horrific massacres in the country’s history, in 1692. But while it’s undeniably defined by its dark heritage, there’s plenty to see, do, taste and enjoy in this picturesque place.
The volcanic landscape around Glencoe (or Glen Coe) is, in a word, spectacular. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the world, and the area has featured in numerous films and television productions, including Harry Potter and James Bond’s Skyfall. It is epic, enigmatic and undeniably romantic, with vast, scarred mountains, deep green valleys, desolate moors and mirror-like lochs. It’s topped off by the brooding presence of the soaring peak of Buachaille Etive Mor.
The Folk Museum
If you want to learn more about this fascinating region, a visit to the Glencoe Folk Museum is a must. Housed in several traditional thatched cottages, the museum may be small but it packs a punch when it comes to local history. You can wander the houses and view collections of ancient weapons from the infamous massacre, Jacobite artefacts, clothing, toys and household utensils. It’s excellently curated to paint a detailed and compelling picture of the lives of the people of this area from times gone by.
The Visitor Centre
For those who want to learn more about the famous Glencoe Massacre and the events leading up to it, the local Visitor Centre is a wealth of information. You’ll discover the gruesome facts of this tragedy, where MacDonald women and children were among the 38 clanspeople killed by soldiers after inviting them into their homes. It is one of the most shocking events in the history of the country but the story deserves to be told.
Old Inverlochy Castle
A short distance from Glencoe, Old Inverlochy Castle sits at the base of the famous Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Dating back to the thirteenth century, the castle is renowned as the site of numerous bloody battles; it plays a major part in the long and turbulent history in the fight to control the strategic south-west access to the Great Glen and the Western Highlands. Today, despite its crumbling status, it still retains an air of grandeur and is well worth visiting for both the impressive ruins and the ambience.
Cruise Scotland and Immerse in an Ancient Land
A barge cruise is one of the most immersive ways to get to grips with Scotland’s storied past. You’ll be awed by the majestic landscape and being able to stop off and visit places like Glencoe (and many other interesting sites) provides a very thorough and tangible history lesson with a difference.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holiday itineraries. If you’re planning a relaxing barge cruise, Scotland, France and Italy are just a few of the great destinations you can choose. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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