Great Glen

Also known as Glen Albyn or An Gleann Mor this feature is in fact a geological fault line. It dissects the country, running, as it does, from Fort William on the West Coast to Inverness on the East.

It is made up of a series of lochs (“lakes”, in English) — Loch Dochfour, Loch Ness,Loch Oich, Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe.

Very little land mass lies between these lochs and it has been put to use over the years for varying purposes. Thomas Telford engineered the Caledonian Canal in the 19th century linking these lochs to provide a navigable waterway across the country shortening the route by many sea miles round the top of Scotland and the perilous waters of the Pentland Firth.

100 years before and using the same “fingers” of land the infamous Duke of Cumberland built the strategic defences of Fort George, Fort Augustus and Fort William, named after his sons, “plugging the gaps” between the lochs to keep the Highland “rebels” at bay after the incursions of the Jacobite Rebellions. The only remaining outlet for an army of any size would have been over the Pass of Corryarick. This was dealt with by the building and billeting of the Ruthven Barracks at Kingussie.

Perhaps only in Scotland would we floodlight this, now ruined edifice, which signified cruelty and hardship by making it a tourist “attraction” rather than demolish it stone by bloody stone.