Jan Hamilton of Duror's lovely photo of the Kentallen, Glencoe  cottage and bay. Her website click. Glencoe is part of the Outdoor Capital of the UK, near self catering cottages Port Appin feryy to Lismore, 30 minutes from the Kentallen self catering cottage Billy Currie's lovely photo of the young Deer in Glencoe. Click for website. Glencoe Mountain 30 minutes from our holiday self catering cottage Buchaille Etive Mor in Glencoe near self catering holiday cottages Evening from the Holly Tree Hotel, 400 yards from our Kentallen self catering cottage Arisaig, with Skye in the distance. A day out from Glencoe

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German French Spanish Italian Glencoe self catering lochside cottage, in Kentallen bay near Oban, Fort William

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                                             for Self catering  Very few lochside Cottages are near the most beautiful Glen in Scotland. This pretty lochside holiday cottage by Glencoe between Fort William and Oban. We overlook the Bay of Kentallen, Loch Linnhe by Ben Nevis.

Glencoe cottages

WHY SELF CATERING IS SO SO MUCH BETTER THAN B&B  COME AND GO as you please. You can eat in CHEAPLY. Peak time week, family of 4, only £23per person/per night.

EMAIL US CLICK 300 yards walk from the PUB

The MacDonald clan of Glencoe

The MacDonall people from Ireland were originally the masters of the 5,000 year old crannog communities. These little dwellings were built on tiny islands around the West Coast lochs. You can see a re-created one on Loch Tay  to-day. The islands were easy  to defend by these masters of the sea, they had plenty of fuel in the form of peat, and the ground on shore was good for cultivation. The weather was warmer and drier then

The awkward clan

The MacDonalds have always been an awkward clan for the rulers of Scotland. The real clan founder, the great warrior Somerled McDonnell, rebelled against his Viking overlords. His mother was a Viking and his father a Celt. This would make him a slave under Viking law. Sea battle followed sea battle, one possibly  in Glencoe, and the Vikings were finally cleared out in the 13th century.  Somerled was killed while campaigning against the then Scottish king - as usual. After the final Viking defeat at Largs, the MacDonalds were formally granted their lands of Kintyre, and the Inner Islands, by the Scots King Alexander 111.

A separate kingdom - almost

The status of the Isles was a problem for the Scottish Crown. Under Angus Og the area was run as a separate Kingdom, he had absolute rule over all the clans living in the Islands, and woe betide any who stepped out of line. They  would be invaded by a fleet of MacDonald longships, and smaller birlinns.

The MacDonalds had problems with everyone. Not for the MacDonalds the oily tongue of the politician, their swords and dirks spoke a more effective language. They quarrelled with friends, neighbours and enemies alike.  People moved in the West coast by  water, not land. The MacDonalds were master mariners and controlled the traffic from Skye to the Isle of Man - the Inner and Outer Hebrides all.

They had forged their fighting skills against the Viking raiders since the 9th century. They kept captured Vikings as slaves, just as Vikings kept McDonalds as slaves.

Their MacDougall enemies and the alliance with Robert the Bruce.

Their great mainland rival was another clan also descended from Somerled, the MacDougalls. This clan supported a claimant to the Scottish throne, John Comyn. He was killed by his rival Robert The Bruce in a church in Dumfries in 1306 and Bruce immediately sought the Scottish crown for himself. The Bruce claim was as good as, but no better than, the claims of two others. Bruce hid as an outlaw under MacDonald protection in the Islands while the McDougalls fought strongly against Bruce all his life.

The MacDonalds at the battle of Bannockburn then as Lords of the Isles. They win Glencoe  lands

So the MacDonalds allied themselves to Robert the Bruce who won the freedom of Scotland from England. The clan, together with the Campbells and with Robert the Bruce himself laid seige to, and won, Dunstaffnage Castle near Oban.  Their leader, Angus Og, a grandson of Somerled was a notable ally of Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. After the victory, he was granted the lands of "Durror and Glenco, Mull and Lochaber". These lands were previously owned by the McDougalls. You can see to-day the remains of the original McDougall castle at Inverlochy just outside Fort William which was destroyed by Bruce. From then on The MacDonalds were awarded pride of place in Scottish battles - on the right flank, that is when they chose to ally themselves with the Crown. A huge battle at Inverlochy in the 15th century saw the MacDonalds fighting against King James 1st with the support of most of the West.  

                                                                  -  one of Scotland’s greatest clans. They win Glencoe after 1314 and leave in despair 500 years later, after the massacre and the clearances

It was Angus Og's son John who was granted the first title Lords of the Isles about 1340. The Isles they ruled until 1495 were always a semi-autonomous kingdom.

The MacDonalds other enemies - the Campbells of Argyll

The MacDonalds had another problem after Bruce had seen off the MacDougalls - the Campbell's. The Campbells were given the great MacDougall castle at Dunstaffnage by Bruce. The MacDonalds continued to ally themselves with the Bruce line which became the Stewart Kings and Queens of Scotland and England. (Mary Queen of Scots, Charles 1st amongst many) The Campbells were the oily politicians of the day, carefully working out who would win and joining that side. The word cam means "bent" and "buel" means mouth. But they carried swords and dirks as well as well as their politican’s tongues. There was a further division between them. The MacDonalds were Catholics, and the Campbells were Presbyterians.

The battle of Inverary - 900 Campbell’s massacred. Then 1500 Campbells massacred at Inverlochy.

In 1644 a force including MacDonalds supporting a rebellion against the Crown launched a surprise attack on the Campbell stronghold of Inverary and massacred 900 of them. The Campbells re-grouped and gathered a force of 3,000 and marched through Appin to Inverlochy in mid winter 1645.

Here, in a battle between the 3,000 Argyll Campbells facing only 1500 troops, including MacDonalds, the Highlanders again used a surprise march and slaughtered 1500 Campbells and supporters.

Campbells wrongly blamed for the Glencoe massacre - 39 MacDonalds slain

It might not seem surprising then that exactly 49 years later on 13th February the Campbells were the clan used by King William to massacre the MacDonalds of Glencoe in their beds at 5.00am. To their everlasting credit they killed only 39 MacDonalds, letting most go free. Yet the Campbells still got the blame.

The MacDonalds sulk at the battle of Culloden. They gradually leave Glencoe after 500 years

The MacDonalds came out in 1745 with the other Highland clans in support of the action by Bonnie Prince Charlie to regain the Crown for the Stewarts. But the Highland army leaders at the final battle of Culloden made a very grave error in not giving the right flank to the MacDonalds, their traditional place since Bannockburn and Angus Og 432 years before. The MacDonalds took umbrage at this and did not fight to their full power.

After this defeat the Highlanders’ families were systematically cleared out of their lands over the next 100 years. They left Glencoe in despair for Canada, and to-day there are hardly any MacDonalds in Glencoe. (But our housekeeper is Michelle MacDonald we are very pleased to say) They provided one Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald.


Many of the MacDonalds emigrated to North America. One of their descendents built the biggest hamburger chain the world has ever known. So maybe they got their own back in the end.

The MacDonald story video

The MacDonalds of Glencoe

The MacDonalds ran the Islands for centuries

Glencoe was their first mainland holding given to them by Robert the  Bruce