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Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Cottage Scotland The Sma Glen

Cottage Scotland The Sma Glen

The Sma Glen The grandeur of the Sma'Glen, north of Crieff, is breathtaking. Condensed into little over 2 miles/3km, the 'small' glen ... all » contains all the scenic attractions of the Highlands in miniature. Scree, rocks and heather covered slopes tower up on both sides of the glen, with the fast flowing River Almond running along the narrow valley floor. Many famous characters have travelled through this narrow defile, including Malcolm III of Scotland (1058-93), marching to recover his kingdom from the usurper MacBeth. After holding his war council in Crieff the ill-fated Bonnie Prince Charlie also marched his way through the glen on his way to defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

At the northern end of the Sma'Glen keep an eye out for Clach Ossian or Ossian's Stone, an 8 feet high monolithic stone sited where the river and the road almost touch. This is reputed to be the burial place, in about 300AD, of the legendary Gaelic bard Ossian. He was the father of Fingal (immortalised in Mendelssohn's "Fingal's Cave" overture.)

History and legend are so intertwined that the truth will doubtless remain forever shrouded in the winter mists of the glen, however the quote from Sir Walter Scott's poem on Ossian shows that at least he believed the legend.

In this still place, remote from men, Sleeps Ossian in the narrow glen; Sir Walter Scott

Up river from Newton Bridge lies Wester Glenalmond which stretches through to Ardtalnaig on Loch Tay. A rough, private road follows the River Almond for much of the way and is popular with walkers and mountain bikers throughout the year. The entire route to Loch Tay is 17 miles/27km