The Signal Rock of Glencoe

The Signal Rock

The Signal Rock

A few days ago we were walking around the North end of Glencoe. A forest path eventually takes you to a rocky outcrop called “Tom a’ Ghrianain”. The legend has it that this hill was the site of a beacon which would be lit by the clan in time of emergencies or when they needed to rally the men of the clan. In this way it is very similar to the burning hill of MacKenzie legend. There is a legend that this beacon was last lit to signal the start of the infamous Glencoe Massacre in 1692.

The Gaelic name for this hill “Tom a Ghrianain” is translated into English as “The Hill of the Sun” and this gives us another clue about its significance going way back beyond the times of the MacDonalds who settled these lands. Possibly this was a site of ancient pilgrimage where people would gather to worship the sun.

Bidean nan Bian

Bidean nan Bian

Indeed what is interesting about this spot is how the setting sun in spring and summer bathes the side of the huge mountains that surround the glen such as Aonach Eagach and Bidean nan Bian making them look like great angry gods.


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