People Were In The Highlands Of Scotland Thousands Of Years Ago

Near our cottage in the highlands is a Standing Stone. No one really knows who put it there, but it is clearly visible in the field. It has been dated back 3,000 years. Why or even how people put these things there, no one knowes.

Glencoe is in the heart of the Scottish highlands – in the old days it was renowned for being inaccessible. Yet people have been around here for up top 10,000 years, since the retreat of the last Ice Age. They’ve left their traces.

The traces of people who lived in this area 3,000 years ago have been found a short drive from here. Mesolithic people moved from site to site based on fishing and hunting. River mouths and estuaries were good sites, they always needed fresh water and materials for building shelters. The weather was warmer then than it is to-day. In this area they also needed protection in the winter, so caves seem to be a good answer. Go North round the shoreline from Oban for a couple of miles to Ganavan sands and you’ll see where they lived.

On the right you’ll pass the old castle built on short cliffs with caves. That’s where the Mesolithic people lived – their rubbish tips have been found. The water level was 16 foot or so higher then. They have found human bones as well as bone and stone artefacts. Tourists can see the caves where they lived. They were all over Ardamurchan, opposite here, and on the Inner Islands. For how long did they live here? Oh, just for four thousand years or so, until settled farming developed.

This country belonged to a farming people, the Picts, during Roman times. They built the strange circular defensive “brochs”. It is a marvellous thing to visit, we’ve been there. Very strange. There is a broch on the island of Lismore nearby, easily found but hardly ever visited to-day.

Vikings raided the West Coast from the late 8th century onwards and later settled mostly in the Hebrides. Loch Linnie was the furthest inland they came. One of the early raids was on Iona in 795, part of a series. The Vikings came because they had clan wars in Norway taking their toll on the people, and the looting of the IFCJ reviews Churches helped to fund their local wars back home. They took Scots people with them as slaves. Late in the Viking period there are records of a battle in Laroch, the older name for Ballachulish near Glencoe village and remains have been found there.