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Hello. Today, I am on a journey on the West Coast of Scotland,

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where the lowlands meet the Highlands in Argyll and Bute.

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I'm starting my journey

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near Altnafeadh in the Highlands,

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discovering how stepping off the West Highland Way reveals

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a hidden world of beauty beyond the beaten track.

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Well, it can be absolutely amazing.

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It can be the best day of your life.

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From up there, everyday life no longer exists.

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Then I'll head down into Glencoe,

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where the bloody events of 400 years ago still resonate today.

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Moving just a couple of miles along the valley,

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I'll come face-to-face with a modern-day scourge of Scotland - the midge.

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And one woman's bid to fight back against this feisty foe.

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So on a good day, or a bad day, if you are staying at this campsite,

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-how full would this get?

-It could get completely full.

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We could get up to 1 kilo of midges, which is about 2 million midges over a single night.

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-A single night!

-Yes.

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I will head south for an exhilarating experience

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near Connel at the tidal cascade known as the Falls of Lora.

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-What's ahead of us?

-Oh, some rather interesting water

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which, if we don't get the amount of edging right,

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will result in a certain amount of getting very wet.

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Before finishing my journey at Ardmaddy Castle with an initiation into the art of warfare.

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Yeah. I'll take that!

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And along the way, I will be looking back

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at the best of the BBC's rural programmes from this part of the world.

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Welcome to Country Tracks.

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Argyll and Bute covers much of the West Coast of Scotland,

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as well as the chain of islands known as the Inner Hebrides.

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It was one of the first areas to be settled

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by those travelling over from Ireland sometime around the sixth century,

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and is a land of breathtaking beauty.

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The mainland alone boasts over 185 miles of coastline,

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but today, this area is more famous as a gateway to the Highlands,

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attracting over 2 million tourists a year,

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including many walkers drawn here by this mountainous landscape.

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And it's amongst these hills that I'm starting my journey.

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Now, when it comes to walking up the Highland hills or mountains,

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I don't have a huge amount of experience.

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But thankfully, the guy that I'm about to meet

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is a man who has quite literally written the book on it.

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He's going to take me on a walk with a fearsome name.

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But he assures me it is not as bad as it sounds.

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I'm heading to the foot of the Devil's Staircase,

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part of the hugely popular West Highland Way,

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to meet Ronald Turnbull, the man who has written guides

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to many of the major routes and who knows the history of these hills inside out.

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-Hi, Ronald.

-Joe, hello.

-Good to see you. Thanks for coming to meet me.

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-Shall we get started?

-OK.

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Ronald, Devil's Staircase is quite an intimidating name.

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-Why is it called that?

-It's a wonderful name, isn't it?

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The name was given to it by the soldiers who built it.

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The path was built in 1745 after Bonnie Prince Charlie's rebellion.

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They built hundreds of miles of paths - roads, they called them,

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they were wider than this is now - all over the Highlands

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as a way of pacifying the Highlands after the rebellion.

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And what was it they hated so much about this stretch that they gave it such an austere name?

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The soldiers, you have to think of them,

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they got sixpence a day extra for the work of building these roads. I don't think it was worth it.

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They had no midge repellents, they had awful boots. You have to think about things like that.

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You have lovely modern boots here.

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Their boots fell to pieces after 400 miles.

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When Bonnie Prince Charlie was marching his army into England,

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every 300 miles, he had to hold townspeople to ransom

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for 1,000 pairs of shoes because they'd fallen to pieces.

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They were living up here in tents, days, even weeks on end,

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in tents that didn't keep the water out.

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In clothes that didn't keep the water out, bitten by midges,

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and their work was hauling boulders and gravel and wheelbarrows up here.

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So...it's a bit surprising they didn't call the whole path the Devil's Footpath!

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Pretty miserable existence. But I'm pleased they persevered, anyway.

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It's a good path.

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But the Devil's Staircase is just one small part of the 96-mile West Highland Way

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that stretches from the outskirts of Glasgow in the south

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through to Fort William in the north.

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And how many walkers would come and do this route in a year?

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Officially, the figure is about 10,000.

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-That is significant, isn't it?

-It is a huge number of people.

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If you come here on a morning when the ones who start it on a Saturday from Glasgow

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are all coming through together, it will be one group of people behind the other.

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All the way along the path.

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You can walk down the path and past 200 people in an hour, sometimes.

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Despite the popularity of this route, Ronald is encouraging walkers

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to leave all this behind and go off the beaten track to see the beauty of these mountains

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from a different angle.

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So, this is so popular,

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why would you write a book about the West Highland Way?

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Well, for some people, including myself,

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it's quite frustrating to be walking in a beautiful woodland path by rivers and all that

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but in the bottom of the glen, looking up at all these wonderful mountains.

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So the point of the book is that on each day of the walk,

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if you are feeling adventurous, you can go high

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and actually experience the top level, rather than the bottom level.

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And how rewarding can it be if you stray off the path and get a bit of that height?

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Well, it can be absolutely amazing. It can be the best day of your life.

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On the other hand, it can be the worst day of your life,

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very easily, it can be the worst day of your life,

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when the rain is pouring down, and then somehow, paradoxically,

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it even can be both at once.

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When you are battling against the wind

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and the rain is coming in here, and out at the bottom...

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And, there is a sort of strange happiness that creeps over you

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when you know that you are strong enough to cope with this.

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Share with me a sense of the vista that you see from the top of these mountains.

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There's this stretch here, the Black Mount, we have just seen the northern end of it there.

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It's six miles of high-level ridge, way up above Rannoch Moor.

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From there, you're looking right across the width of the moor.

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You are seeing mountains which are 40 and 50 miles away on a clear day.

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And you see all the small lakes down there, sparkling away in the sunlight.

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And the miles and miles of heather.

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The chances are that you will see deer, certainly more deer than people up there.

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And when you are up there, when you hit the heights of these mountains,

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how removed to you feel from everyday life?

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Well, everyday life no longer exists. Especially if you spend the night up here.

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Almost invariably, I sleep on the top of a hill if I possibly can

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because it is so beautiful at sunset and in the morning.

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It is the best time of the day. Most people, you know, they start at 9am and they get down again at 5pm.

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So that is work, 9 till 5 -

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but actually, before 9am and after 5pm

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is the time when it is really wonderful in the hills.

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Not just that there's nobody else there, but the light is amazing.

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It is beautiful at that time of day, and the wildlife comes out as well.

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It's clear you've got the bug and there is no chance of you losing it.

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When I lose my legs, I suppose I'll lose it. Not until then.

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When Ben Fogle came here on his West Coast journey,

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he took to the roads, searching out the places that made Western Scotland special to him.

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Between Fort William and Mallaig in the Highlands of Scotland

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is a wild and spectacular landscape, full of high mountains,

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deep lochs and stunning, unspoiled coastline.

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It's a landscape steeped in history and legend,

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with stories of exiled kings, of secret agents and hidden gold.

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And even monsters of the deep.

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And linking all of this history and landscape,

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is the world-famous Road to the Isles.

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That's the name given to the A830.

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The 44-mile stretch of road

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that runs from Fort William in the east to the fishing port of Mallaig in the West.

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It's one of the most beautiful roads in the world.

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But most people just whip along it to catch the Skye ferry.

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Not me, however. I'm going to be taking it nice and leisurely,

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stopping along the way to learn more about the charms of the road.

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Right from the outset, this journey impresses.

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That massive bulk rearing up behind is Ben Nevis.

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At more than 4,400 feet, it's the UK's highest mountain.

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'But I'm not stopping, as I'm off to see something

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'that to Scottish folk is even more significant -

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'the Glenfinnan Monument.

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'It was here in August 1745

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'that Bonnie Prince Charlie stood before his army of 1,200 men

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'with plans to take back the British crown for the Stuarts.'

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And it was on that spot that he planted his standard.

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Or was it?

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Iain Thornber is a historian whose research

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on Bonnie Prince Charlie has thrown this into doubt.

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-Hi, Iain.

-Hello, Ben.

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So, was this the spot that Bonnie Prince Charlie

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raised his standard, or wasn't it?

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Well, he certainly raised his standard at the head of Loch Shiel.

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But where is a matter of some debate.

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He was here to reclaim the Crown.

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But talk me through the scene. What would it have been like here?

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When he arrived he was very disappointed,

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because he was expecting thousands of clansmen

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to be waiting for him here, because he had sent word in advance

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that he was going to be raising the standard.

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But when he arrived, in fact,

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there were only 200 or 300 local people standing around.

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And then he waited, and eventually they heard the pipes

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from up on the glen behind us and then the Camerons appeared, 800 of them.

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I have to ask, what is this sword you've got in your hand?

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This is a basket-hilted claymore, and it was made about 1727,

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and was actually carried here at Glenfinnan in 1745.

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-See these grooves running down the blade?

-Yes.

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These are called fullers, F-U-L-L-E-R-S.

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And this was intended to lighten the blade,

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otherwise it would have been top-heavy.

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-Can I feel how...?

-Absolutely.

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It's remarkably well-balanced, isn't it?

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I thought it was going to go straight down, but...

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It is very light. If you were swinging it the whole day, you wouldn't get tired.

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So this actually saw battle, this would have killed people?

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Yes, yes, as far as I know, and I have no reason to doubt it,

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it was actually used at the Battle of Culloden as well.

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So it may have killed a few Englishmen.

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So, if the monument doesn't mark the spot,

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where exactly did Bonnie Prince Charlie raise his standard?

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Well, 20 years ago, a scrub fire a quarter of a mile away

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revealed an interesting inscription.

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-Looks Latin to me, I'm not very good. Can you translate?

-Yes.

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It says, "In 1745, in the name of the Lord,

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"the standards of Charles Edward Stuart,

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"triumphing at last, were erected."

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So basically insinuating that this was the place

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-that Bonnie Prince Charlie erected the standard.

-Absolutely.

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And to me, it is the preferred place

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because it's on an elevated position,

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rather than down on the plain at the head of the loch.

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There are amazing views behind.

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Indeed, that glen above the viaduct,

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obviously the viaduct wasn't there in these days,

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that's where the Camerons came down.

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They heard the pipers, they could see them coming down the hillside.

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They come across to here, and this is where they gathered.

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-Where do we think the staff would have been raised?

-We've got this indication here,

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there's an arrow with the numerals IV, meaning four.

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And if you start pacing from the point of the arrow,

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see where it takes you.

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One, two, three, four. Into this little pit.

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Into this depression here which was obviously carved out.

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When the inscriptions were revealed,

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there was a round stone in here with a hole in it.

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Obviously, that is where the staff was put.

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Having followed in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie,

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it's time for me and Iain to travel a further nine miles up the road

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to Lochailort, where the most famous fighting unit of them all began.

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Believe it or not, we're looking at the birthplace of the commandos.

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-The commandos, as in the SAS? Special forces?

-Absolutely.

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It was called the special training centre.

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What would this building have been used for?

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This building was the camp canteen and also the cinema.

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-Remember, there were 3,500 troops stationed here.

-All around here?

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Yes, they were in Nissen huts and tents.

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Getting them used to the hardy conditions.

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Absolutely, because they then had to go out and climb the hills

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and live under extreme conditions.

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We're looking out here to these two buildings,

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these were the ammunition sheds.

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They were heavily protected, with bars on the windows

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because they also doubled up as the cells.

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Beyond that, you see, there's a gully going up

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and it's still now called Snipers' Valley.

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Snipers' Valley, up here in Scotland.

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Because the detachments had to crawl up there on their tummy.

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On either side there were people with machine guns, using live ammunition,

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so they really had to keep their heads down.

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So obviously, the commandos were the birth of whole new form of warfare, really.

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Yes, at the outset of the war,

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Churchill was very concerned to get small groups of men

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who could go in and do the maximum amount of damage.

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He had difficulty selling it to the government,

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because some of them said, "That's not cricket."

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He replied, "Hitler is not going to be playing cricket!"

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And this, presumably, was where they were billeted.

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Yes, this is in Inverailort House,

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or Inverailort Castle, as it became known,

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which was requisitioned by Lord Lovat in 1940.

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And the owner had no idea what was going to happen,

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and suddenly one day she got a telegram saying,

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"Your house and estate is requisitioned, don't bother coming back."

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It was a terrible shock to her.

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There were many well-known people stationed here during the war.

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But undoubtedly, the most famous of them all was actor David Niven.

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Pictured here with an impressive haul of fish,

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in these never before seen photographs.

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One of the escapades he was involved with, and I think also enjoyed,

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was trying to get some salmon out of the river to feed the locals and the troops.

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They were using hand grenades and nets.

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We've got some lovely photographs of all this happening.

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From Lochailort, the A830 starts to twist and turn

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as the landscape becomes wilder.

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It takes you past pine-covered islands and wide open sea lochs.

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Like Loch nan Uamh,

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where Bonnie Prince Charlie left for France after the Battle of Culloden,

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and which looks pretty much the same as it did back then.

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It's well worth taking time to sit and take in the silence

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and the unspoiled beauty of this landscape.

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Now, there's a spot just off the road that you simply have to see.

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It's one of my favourite stops

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and never fails to stun me with its sheer beauty.

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These are the world-famous Silver Sands of Morar,

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and to find out what makes them that colour,

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I'm meeting up with local geologist David Bird.

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So, David, what I want to know is, why this sand is so white

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and so light.

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-It's incredible.

-It is, yes.

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The sand here is, like all sand, made of quartz grains.

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Quartz is a very resistant mineral,

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it doesn't get broken down as easily as some of the minerals

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in the rock, especially the ones which give it a dark grey colour.

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They're broken down by the water.

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And it leaves the quartz grains behind,

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and the quartz grains are this lovely white colour.

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So why does the sand here differ from the sand we get in England?

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The sand you get elsewhere is that lovely golden colour.

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That's derived from pre-existing sandstone

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that's been worked by rivers or glaciers, and in these sandstones,

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the quartz is usually bound together by calcite

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or some iron mineral which gives it its rusty golden brown colour.

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This sand here is derived from these rocks.

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The sand grades are almost entirely quartz.

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There's a little bit of mica in them as well, and it's very reflective.

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If you catch this sand in the sunlight, it seems to sparkle.

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That's where we got the name the Silver Sands of Morar.

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Even on a cloudy day like this, the scenery is quite breathtaking.

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You could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean,

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with the white sand, the clear blue water and the odd yacht.

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It's hard to tear yourself away,

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but I've still got a few miles left to drive before my journey's end.

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Oh! So, here I am at the end of the road in Mallaig.

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It has to be said, that 40 odd miles from Fort William

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must be one of the most beautiful, not only in the British Isles,

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but possibly in the world.

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And for many, Mallaig isn't the end of the road but the beginning.

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It's from here that you catch the ferries to the small Isles,

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and like this one just departing, to Skye.

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My journey's taking me into Glencoe,

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a beautiful vista

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which formed the backdrop to a very bloody event

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in the Highlands' history.

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In an imposing and dramatic landscape like this,

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it's quite easy to get a sense of history.

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Generation after generation looked up at these walls of rock

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on either side.

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It was MacDonald clan that settled in the glen and farmed this land.

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And today, their name is still associated with Glencoe

0:19:230:19:26

and famously, the day that so many of their number

0:19:260:19:30

were massacred back in 1692.

0:19:300:19:32

The Protestant William of Orange had just taken to the Scottish throne,

0:19:340:19:38

as Catholic James VII fled.

0:19:380:19:40

Fearing an uprising from the so-called Jacobites,

0:19:400:19:44

still loyal to the ousted king,

0:19:440:19:46

a decree was sent out to all the clans.

0:19:460:19:49

They must sign an oath of allegiance to William

0:19:490:19:52

and his wife, Mary, by 1 January 1692,

0:19:520:19:55

or be considered traitors

0:19:550:19:58

and punished with the utmost extremity.

0:19:580:20:00

No-one knows when that decree reached Glencoe,

0:20:010:20:05

but the chief of the clan set out from here on 29th December

0:20:050:20:09

with just two days until the deadline.

0:20:090:20:12

Travelling conditions were tough. There was thick snow on the ground.

0:20:120:20:16

He eventually signed the oath of allegiance two days late.

0:20:160:20:20

Even so, he returned here believing his clan was safe.

0:20:200:20:24

He couldn't have been more wrong.

0:20:240:20:26

The authorities in Edinburgh

0:20:300:20:32

decided to make an example of the MacDonalds,

0:20:320:20:35

to strike fear into the hearts of other Jacobite sympathisers.

0:20:350:20:39

When 120 redcoat soldiers arrived in Glencoe,

0:20:390:20:42

asking for food and board,

0:20:420:20:44

the clan put them up, in accordance with the Highland code,

0:20:440:20:48

which demanded hospitality be provided

0:20:480:20:51

to any people passing through.

0:20:510:20:53

What neither the MacDonalds nor the troops themselves knew

0:20:530:20:57

was that the reason they had arrived was to wipe out the clan completely.

0:20:570:21:01

The troops stayed with the MacDonalds for 12 days,

0:21:040:21:07

sharing their houses and their food.

0:21:070:21:09

Then, at 5am on 13 February 1692,

0:21:090:21:14

Captain Robert Campbell shared his orders.

0:21:140:21:17

That on his mark, the troops were to kill their hosts as they slept.

0:21:170:21:21

The MacDonalds numbered about 600.

0:21:310:21:34

The soldiers' orders were that no-one was to be left alive.

0:21:340:21:39

At signal rock in the west, a fire was lit,

0:21:390:21:42

giving the go-ahead for the slaughter to begin.

0:21:420:21:45

Then all the way up the valley, as soldiers saw that sign,

0:21:450:21:48

they set about their bloody business.

0:21:480:21:51

In the moments that followed, the clan chief was shot in the back,

0:21:540:21:58

reports tell of a young boy begging for his life,

0:21:580:22:03

and people were tied up and executed.

0:22:030:22:05

But the wholesale slaughter didn't go exactly to plan.

0:22:050:22:09

Only 38 MacDonalds died here.

0:22:090:22:12

It's thought many of the soldiers were appalled by what they had been asked to do

0:22:120:22:16

and had no appetite for this cold-blooded killing of their hosts,

0:22:160:22:20

some of whom were warned in advance

0:22:200:22:22

and given a chance to flee before the bloodshed started.

0:22:220:22:26

For those MacDonalds who were warned and fled the massacre,

0:22:270:22:30

knowing these hills and retreating to a spot

0:22:300:22:33

where the army couldn't find them saved their lives.

0:22:330:22:36

Julia Bradbury followed in their footsteps to discover

0:22:410:22:44

the hidden valley that offered them a safe haven.

0:22:440:22:48

On a rainy day like today, it's easy to identify

0:22:510:22:54

with its history of clan warfare

0:22:540:22:58

and the infamous massacre of 1692.

0:22:580:23:00

This is where the familiar story of the MacDonald clan took place.

0:23:030:23:07

38 members of the clan were murdered

0:23:070:23:09

by their treacherous neighbours, the Campbells.

0:23:090:23:11

And so Victorians would flock here to soak up the morbid atmosphere.

0:23:110:23:15

The south side of the valley is bordered by the majestic mountains

0:23:210:23:25

known as the Three Sisters.

0:23:250:23:27

And they conceal a secret chapter in the story of the massacre.

0:23:270:23:31

On that cold February night,

0:23:310:23:33

running from the sound of gunfire,

0:23:330:23:35

some of the MacDonald clan fled here and began to climb.

0:23:350:23:39

I'm following their route into the mist.

0:23:390:23:42

Certainly a wild and windy day!

0:23:490:23:51

'It isn't the easiest path.'

0:23:510:23:54

Not sure how we're going to get over this.

0:23:560:23:58

'But the place I'm heading for has a long history and many names.'

0:24:000:24:06

This place is known as the Hanging Valley,

0:24:080:24:10

the Lost Valley, the Valley of Capture and the Hidden Valley.

0:24:100:24:15

It is pretty difficult to find!

0:24:150:24:18

'The very inaccessibility of this place

0:24:190:24:22

'is why it's managed to stay so secret.'

0:24:220:24:25

It's a tough old scramble,

0:24:290:24:31

and generally I find the better the scramble, the better the reward.

0:24:310:24:36

'And finally I find the special place the MacDonalds were heading for on that cold night

0:24:400:24:45

'more than 300 years ago.'

0:24:450:24:48

And there she is - the Hidden Valley.

0:24:490:24:54

Looking very moody under the mist.

0:24:550:24:57

Definitely worth the climb.

0:24:590:25:01

'Invisible from the glen, this flat valley floor is entirely unexpected.

0:25:150:25:20

'The treacherous climb to this valley

0:25:220:25:25

was the MacDonalds' only hope.

0:25:250:25:27

'It was their secret refuge.

0:25:270:25:30

'Somewhere they knew they'd be safe.

0:25:300:25:33

'Today, it's a peaceful place.

0:25:370:25:39

'A part of Glencoe you can have entirely to yourself.'

0:25:390:25:43

Glencoe's secret hideaway.

0:25:450:25:48

Well, I've travelled just another mile down the glen

0:25:580:26:01

to the Red Squirrel campsite.

0:26:010:26:02

But I'm not here to spend the night under canvas.

0:26:020:26:05

I'm here tracking down a bloodsucking carnivore.

0:26:050:26:08

The creatures I'm interested in blight many a visit north of the border.

0:26:120:26:15

And leading me to them is expert Dr Alison Blackwell.

0:26:150:26:20

So, Alison, basically you spend your life

0:26:210:26:24

trying to find what most people are trying to avoid - midges.

0:26:240:26:28

That's right. I mean, we make a living of tracking midges,

0:26:280:26:31

finding out about how they interact with the environment,

0:26:310:26:34

whereas most people want to keep away from them.

0:26:340:26:37

Yeah. I know nothing about them at all. I've seen them and know they're very, very small.

0:26:370:26:42

What are they and why are they such a pest?

0:26:420:26:45

They're tiny biting flies. Just like any fly, they've got

0:26:450:26:49

two pairs of wings, six legs. It's the females that bite.

0:26:490:26:52

They need a blood-meal to mature their eggs. The males are nice.

0:26:520:26:55

They just sugar-feed on plant nectar, so they don't harm you at all.

0:26:550:26:59

So, every time you feel a bite, it's a female and you're basically

0:26:590:27:02

-contributing to the continuation of the midge species?

-Yes.

0:27:020:27:05

The Highland midge, which is the one that bites most people, is really clever

0:27:050:27:09

in the fact that it can lay its first batch of eggs without taking blood-meal.

0:27:090:27:13

It uses its own fat reserves to mature its eggs.

0:27:130:27:16

But every subsequent egg batch has to have blood-meal.

0:27:160:27:19

They have two cycles every year,

0:27:190:27:21

so we have two big batches of midges occurring in Scotland -

0:27:210:27:24

beginning of the summer and then halfway through.

0:27:240:27:27

And they spend the winter time in the soil as larvae,

0:27:270:27:30

just a few centimetres below the soil surface

0:27:300:27:32

where they act as mini-earthworms,

0:27:320:27:34

helping break down decaying organic matter.

0:27:340:27:37

It's always Scotland in my mind that we associate with midges.

0:27:370:27:41

Is that fair? Are they all over the country, really?

0:27:410:27:44

Midges occur everywhere in the UK, almost everywhere in the world.

0:27:440:27:47

Scotland has a great habitat and they love breeding in damp, acidic soil which we have here.

0:27:470:27:52

And we've got vast areas -

0:27:520:27:54

uninhabited area for them to breed in.

0:27:540:27:57

They're absolutely tiny. So why are they so painful?

0:27:570:28:00

Why do they irritate so much?

0:28:000:28:02

Partly because they are so small, you don't notice them biting you.

0:28:020:28:05

But also they have a different way of biting you than mosquitoes.

0:28:050:28:09

Mosquitoes kind of inject their mouthparts into your blood capillaries and suck,

0:28:090:28:13

and it's relatively painless until you start reacting.

0:28:130:28:17

Midges are bit more primitive and they have a set of shearing scissors as mouthparts

0:28:170:28:21

and they cut a hole in your skin

0:28:210:28:24

which creates a pool of blood which they then feed from.

0:28:240:28:27

And that biting itself can be very painful.

0:28:270:28:29

And then, as they feed, they pump in saliva to keep your blood flowing.

0:28:290:28:33

And our body reacts to that saliva, and that's why some of us

0:28:330:28:37

come up in big, red lumps and itch for days afterwards.

0:28:370:28:40

Just how to combat these critters

0:28:420:28:44

has left experts scratching their heads -

0:28:440:28:46

not to mention their arms and legs - for generations.

0:28:460:28:50

But now Alison's able to forecast exactly where

0:28:500:28:53

the miserable midges are going to be,

0:28:530:28:55

by enlisting the help of a neat gadget.

0:28:550:28:58

Right, so here we are. But what is it?

0:29:010:29:04

It's a midge trap, and we use them across Scotland to help us

0:29:040:29:08

monitor midge numbers and help with our online midge forecast.

0:29:080:29:12

OK. I mean, it looks like a tiny patio heater or something.

0:29:120:29:15

How does it work?

0:29:150:29:16

It's very similar to a patio heater in the fact that it burns propane gas to produce carbon dioxide.

0:29:160:29:22

CO2 in our breath can be detected by midges from about 200 metres away.

0:29:220:29:25

-200 metres away, in every direction? That's incredible.

-Every direction. So, the trap produces CO2.

0:29:250:29:30

It comes out of the top of the trap here, and as it comes out it gets warmed up

0:29:300:29:34

to body temperature and also it passes over some smelly attractants

0:29:340:29:39

that makes the CO2 smell like the kind of odour that a cow would produce, basically.

0:29:390:29:44

-OK.

-And we've got flashing lights in it as well,

0:29:440:29:46

which add to the attractiveness of the trap.

0:29:460:29:48

They're actually starting to swarm now, I can see a few of them, so where's the smelly cow bit?

0:29:480:29:53

Smelly cow goes in the top - comes off like this, and if you...

0:29:530:29:58

-That's it, there?

-..Place your nose there...

0:29:580:30:02

-Oh yeah, wow.

-It's kind of like rotting mushrooms.

-It is mushroomy!

0:30:020:30:07

OK, yeah. And suddenly they're all around us.

0:30:070:30:09

We're standing in the worst place now, we're giving them extra,

0:30:090:30:12

we're telling them there is a free meal here.

0:30:120:30:15

Exactly. Each trap represents about four-cows-worth of CO2.

0:30:150:30:20

Wow, four cows, that's quite a lot of CO2.

0:30:200:30:22

So, they get sucked in and where do they end up?

0:30:220:30:25

They end up down here in a collecting tray which comes out,

0:30:250:30:28

and they get collected in the bottom.

0:30:280:30:30

OK, so not many there at the moment, why's that?

0:30:300:30:33

This has just been set up and normally we'd put some

0:30:330:30:35

water in which would help drown the midges.

0:30:350:30:38

So on a good day, or a bad day if you're staying at this campsite,

0:30:380:30:41

just how full would this get?

0:30:410:30:43

It could get completely full, we can get up to a kilo of midges

0:30:430:30:46

which is about two million midges over a single night.

0:30:460:30:48

In a single night? That is staggering!

0:30:480:30:51

OK, so you've got all this,

0:30:510:30:52

you've collected two million midges in a night,

0:30:520:30:55

how does that help with the midge forecast?

0:30:550:30:57

What we're doing with the midge forecast

0:30:570:30:59

is trying to help people out and about plan their days

0:30:590:31:02

around what the midges are going to be like.

0:31:020:31:04

So very much like the pollen forecast,

0:31:040:31:06

we do a prediction of midge risk from one to five.

0:31:060:31:09

Um, for nearly every town in Scotland on a seven-day basis.

0:31:090:31:14

The forecast runs on a set of models,

0:31:140:31:16

but we need live data from traps like this to help us

0:31:160:31:19

verify our model output and modify it if we need to.

0:31:190:31:23

OK. And the good news or bad news for Glencoe,

0:31:230:31:26

where does this fall on the midge scale of things?

0:31:260:31:29

Um, Glencoe is often right at the top of our scale -

0:31:290:31:32

a nice, big, red five is not uncommon.

0:31:320:31:34

At the minute, it's a kind of five/four -

0:31:340:31:36

the nice warm weather recently has bumped the numbers up.

0:31:360:31:39

Really? So there's a little swarm on the way is there?

0:31:390:31:43

-I think so.

-Oh, OK! Well, I hate the idea that this thing is working hard

0:31:430:31:47

and I'm holding the basket in my hand

0:31:470:31:49

so all the midges are escaping again so will we put this back on?

0:31:490:31:53

-Good idea!

-We'll let it do its job.

0:31:530:31:56

Thanks to Alison's forecast, more tourists might make it

0:31:580:32:01

out of Scotland without the tell-tale sign of a midge bite.

0:32:010:32:05

When Neil Oliver came to this part of the world,

0:32:050:32:07

he found that working here can also leave its mark

0:32:070:32:10

when he visited Glensanda on the banks of Loch Linnhe.

0:32:100:32:14

The entrance to the loch is guarded by Glensanda Castle,

0:32:200:32:23

once home to the MacLean clan,

0:32:230:32:25

descendants of the Vikings who roamed these waterways.

0:32:250:32:29

A thousand years ago,

0:32:300:32:32

the islands of the west coast were ruled by Vikings.

0:32:320:32:35

More Norwegian than Scottish.

0:32:350:32:37

In fact, the name of this place -

0:32:370:32:39

Glensanda - is old Norse and it means the glen of the sandy river.

0:32:390:32:44

But it's not the sand that's drawn me here, it's the rock.

0:32:490:32:53

This tanker is about to be loaded with 85,000 tonnes of granite

0:32:570:33:02

from Europe's biggest super quarry.

0:33:020:33:04

It's the rock that will make the roads of Britain roll.

0:33:040:33:09

It's quite terrifying actually. Just the sheer mass of it.

0:33:100:33:15

It's just a big, steel cliff.

0:33:150:33:17

Glensanda Quarry sits at the mouth of the Great Glen Fault -

0:33:180:33:23

an area rich in granite.

0:33:230:33:25

Although the quarry's on the mainland,

0:33:270:33:29

it might as well be an island.

0:33:290:33:31

You can't get here by road because there aren't any,

0:33:330:33:37

but who needs roads when you have the sea

0:33:370:33:40

and water deep enough for huge ships?

0:33:400:33:44

Europe's biggest super quarry relies on the coast.

0:33:480:33:51

Rock and machinery all come and go by sea -

0:33:510:33:54

a challenge for deputy manager, David Lamb.

0:33:540:33:57

-David!

-Hello, Neil, welcome to Glensanda. Nice to meet you.

0:33:570:34:02

-That was all very exciting with the boat.

-It certainly was.

0:34:020:34:05

-So where does it all happen?

-It all starts at the top of the hill, basically at the top of the mountain.

0:34:050:34:10

It's 2,000 feet from sea level to summit,

0:34:110:34:14

but suddenly I get the full picture.

0:34:140:34:17

Well, from here you really do get a sense of super quarry!

0:34:200:34:23

You certainly do, it's a big hole, isn't it?

0:34:230:34:25

How much of the mountain have you already taken away?

0:34:250:34:29

Out of this area we've already taken 100 million tonnes.

0:34:290:34:32

And how much remains to be taken?

0:34:320:34:35

There's still almost 800 million tonnes left to go.

0:34:350:34:38

So you're kind of scratching the surface at the moment?

0:34:380:34:42

A big scratch but only a scratch so far.

0:34:420:34:44

-Can we go and blow things up?

-We certainly can, Neil, come on.

0:34:440:34:47

100 million tonnes of rock extracted in 20 years.

0:34:530:34:56

Now, with 18 tonnes of explosive primed,

0:34:580:35:01

I'm about to see how they do it.

0:35:010:35:03

EXPLOSION

0:35:060:35:10

-That's fantastic!

-Pretty impressive, isn't it?

-Can we do that again?

0:35:120:35:16

-Right now?!

-If you're happy to wait another few days, yes!

-Wow!

0:35:160:35:21

It's the way it's just the slow motion ripple...

0:35:210:35:24

Where does all this material go? I mean, who uses it?

0:35:270:35:31

A lot of the rock goes into road-building -

0:35:310:35:34

into construction, sub bases for roads, your motorways,

0:35:340:35:38

almost all the rock for the English side of the Channel Tunnel

0:35:380:35:42

was supplied from Glensanda.

0:35:420:35:43

The granite here is hard enough to withstand the pounding of trucks

0:35:500:35:53

and trains under our roads and railways,

0:35:530:35:56

but what's really special is this quarry's coastal location.

0:35:560:36:01

The rock's crushed,

0:36:010:36:02

graded and washed before it even gets to the quayside.

0:36:020:36:05

There, it's loaded onto huge ships to be sent anywhere in the world.

0:36:070:36:10

The rock might not stay around long

0:36:160:36:18

but the workers can sometimes stay here for weeks on end.

0:36:180:36:21

At least they've got some big toys to play with!

0:36:210:36:24

It's like Jurassic Park in here.

0:36:240:36:27

-Do you like it here?

-Yes, very nice.

-Why? Is it the big toys?

-Big toys.

0:36:310:36:35

-Big toys and the views on a good day.

-The views on a good day are nice.

0:36:350:36:38

-How much do you pay for a set of tyres on them?

-8,000 a tyre.

0:36:380:36:42

So 32,000 for four tyres.

0:36:420:36:44

-So, it's not the sort of vehicle you keep for a hobby, is it?

-No.

0:36:440:36:48

It kind of feels like the wild west out here. It's like Frontier Town.

0:36:480:36:52

You get used to it. You get used to it.

0:36:520:36:56

Hardworking lifestyles are nothing new on the west coast,

0:36:580:37:02

but this machinery is new - it's on a whole different scale.

0:37:020:37:06

New connections to the wider world are changing these communities.

0:37:060:37:13

Neil Oliver there, having quite a blast.

0:37:130:37:17

On my journey along the west coast of Scotland,

0:37:170:37:20

I've headed south to the village of Connel...

0:37:200:37:23

..and the natural wonder of the Falls of Lora.

0:37:260:37:29

The Falls of Lora are a tidal cascade and when they're in full flow

0:37:330:37:38

they provide the ultimate ride for thrill-seeking kayakers

0:37:380:37:41

who surf the waves created by these unique currents,

0:37:410:37:45

risking wipe-out in the swirling undertow.

0:37:450:37:48

I'm heading down to the water's edge to experience the power of the Falls for myself,

0:37:510:37:56

putting my safety in the hands of kayak instructor, Tony Hammock.

0:37:560:38:01

So this is the Falls of Lora - what are we looking at,

0:38:040:38:07

where's all this water coming from?

0:38:070:38:09

OK, Falls of Lora is a tidal overflow

0:38:090:38:11

at the mouth of Loch Etive, which is about 16 miles long.

0:38:110:38:15

And there's about 30 square km of water out there

0:38:150:38:19

and every time the tide goes up and down, the sea tries to fill it up

0:38:190:38:25

and it can't because this entrance here is only 300m wide.

0:38:250:38:30

This is basically a bottleneck and that's what's making the water rush through?

0:38:300:38:34

That's right, yeah, and when the tide level in the sea drops,

0:38:340:38:38

the water tries to pour out of Loch Etive

0:38:380:38:41

but it can't keep up so as - this hand's the sea, this is Loch Etive -

0:38:410:38:47

as the sea drops, the water pours out

0:38:470:38:50

through this constriction creating the gradient.

0:38:500:38:54

The tide outside drops, the whole thing drops,

0:38:540:38:56

and then you get to low water outside in the sea

0:38:560:38:59

and Loch Etive hasn't caught up yet,

0:38:590:39:02

so the sea level outside starts to rise again,

0:39:020:39:05

but the water is still pouring out of Loch Etive.

0:39:050:39:08

Eventually you get to the same level, the sea's rising outside,

0:39:080:39:12

the water pours back into Loch Etive,

0:39:120:39:14

the whole thing goes up and up

0:39:140:39:16

and when you get to the high tide in the sea,

0:39:160:39:18

Loch Etive still hasn't got there

0:39:180:39:21

so you've still got this current pouring out.

0:39:210:39:23

And as it pours over the rock shelf and hits the slower water,

0:39:230:39:27

it creates the hydraulic jump - the waves.

0:39:270:39:29

That's the Falls, isn't it, as it goes over that rock shelf?

0:39:290:39:33

This is actually really tame today. This is just an average tide.

0:39:330:39:37

When you get the big spring tides

0:39:370:39:40

when the sun and the moon are in line

0:39:400:39:42

at the spring and summer equinoxes,

0:39:420:39:44

the range is more than double what it is today.

0:39:440:39:47

You get about a four metre range. An astronomical amount of water.

0:39:470:39:50

Wow. And it's all power... Do you get big waves then?

0:39:500:39:53

Yeah, over by the north bridge pier,

0:39:530:39:56

over there, you get waves about one and half metres high that break.

0:39:560:40:00

When it's really big, it's pretty scary in a sea kayak.

0:40:000:40:03

We do go out there.

0:40:030:40:05

You get experts turning up and we go out and play with them.

0:40:050:40:08

-We usually get a good thrashing, actually.

-Fantastic.

0:40:080:40:11

Now, I'm a bit of a novice,

0:40:110:40:12

so a day like today - is that going to be OK for me?

0:40:120:40:15

With your expert guidance, of course.

0:40:150:40:17

-Hopefully.

-Hopefully. There we go.

0:40:170:40:19

There's the element of jeopardy, in-built.

0:40:190:40:21

Yeah, we'll see how it goes.

0:40:210:40:24

'Now, I'm not the most experienced kayaker in the world,

0:40:270:40:30

'so even with these lower summer tides,

0:40:300:40:32

'it'd be dangerous for me to go out there alone.

0:40:320:40:35

'Fortunately, though, Tony is going to be my guide in a two man kayak,

0:40:350:40:39

'but even so,

0:40:390:40:40

'I've got my work cut out to avoid capsizing

0:40:400:40:43

'in these treacherous currents.'

0:40:430:40:45

Right, then, Joe. Are you ready for this?

0:40:480:40:50

-For your Falls of Lora experience?

-Yeah, it feels quite stable.

0:40:500:40:54

-Well, that's deceptive.

-It's nice to be out on the water.

0:40:540:40:57

-It'll be stable if we paddle it right.

-So, what's ahead of us?

0:40:570:41:01

Some rather interesting water which,

0:41:010:41:04

if we don't get the amount of edging right,

0:41:040:41:06

will result in a certain amount of getting very wet.

0:41:060:41:10

Tony, how fast is the water going up here, where it rushes across?

0:41:170:41:22

Today, it's probably doing seven or eight knots.

0:41:220:41:25

On the really big tides, it's more like 12.

0:41:250:41:28

It absolutely hurtles through here.

0:41:280:41:30

So, here we go. What do we do here?

0:41:300:41:33

OK, when I say, right knee up. Three, two, one, go.

0:41:330:41:36

OK, edge a bit, now. Whoa!

0:41:360:41:40

There we go. And this time, we're right out in the current.

0:41:400:41:44

Suddenly, you see the bridge moving over the top of you

0:41:440:41:46

-and realise how fast you're going.

-You don't get a feeling of speed

0:41:460:41:50

until you look at the shore going past.

0:41:500:41:52

It feels like we're standing still, but we're whizzing along.

0:41:520:41:55

OK, let's get some power on for the tide of the rapid, here.

0:41:550:41:59

Whoo!

0:41:590:42:00

-Big whirlpool on your right.

-It was a whirlpool, wasn't it?

0:42:020:42:05

Here we go. It's a bit choppy.

0:42:060:42:09

I tell you, that's fantastic.

0:42:090:42:12

It's much harder to paddle in the moving water.

0:42:120:42:14

You've got to put your arms into it.

0:42:140:42:16

It's like paddling in treacle, isn't it?

0:42:160:42:18

Great experience, though.

0:42:180:42:20

'When Matt Baker visited here,

0:42:260:42:29

'he headed north into Loch Etive itself,

0:42:290:42:31

'taking a more leisurely voyage

0:42:310:42:33

'through what was once known as the gateway to the Highlands.'

0:42:330:42:38

'We might call it a loch,

0:42:410:42:42

'but this narrow tongue of water is actually a spectacular fjord.'

0:42:420:42:47

Loch Etive in Gaelic translates as little, ugly one.

0:43:000:43:04

First impressions?

0:43:050:43:07

That's not entirely accurate.

0:43:070:43:10

'Today, the loch is deserted.

0:43:100:43:13

'A well-kept secret among locals and the kayakers

0:43:130:43:16

'for whom it's on the list of the best places to paddle in Scotland.

0:43:160:43:20

'Marine scientist Mark Carter has lived here for 12 years

0:43:230:43:27

'and he's taking me on a tour.'

0:43:270:43:29

All set?

0:43:290:43:31

'The best way to explore Etive's riches is from the water.'

0:43:310:43:35

So, Loch Etive, it's a sea loch, isn't it?

0:43:400:43:42

Yeah, I mean, down at Connel and Dunstaffnage,

0:43:420:43:45

it's joined into open ocean,

0:43:450:43:47

so from there, you can go right round the world.

0:43:470:43:49

The area's really very special.

0:43:490:43:51

We're at both the northern and the southern limits of species.

0:43:510:43:55

We've got the Gulf Stream offshore,

0:43:550:43:57

which then comes into the North Atlantic Drift.

0:43:570:43:59

That brings us our climate and makes it very warm.

0:43:590:44:02

We've got the continental shelf

0:44:020:44:04

which comes up from Bay of Biscay, that sort of area.

0:44:040:44:07

That brings up some warm currents.

0:44:070:44:09

We've got the boreal Artic currents coming down

0:44:090:44:12

and it's that junction of the warm and the cold,

0:44:120:44:14

so we get both warm species and cold species all at the same time.

0:44:140:44:18

'These special conditions mean the waters here

0:44:260:44:29

'are home to more than 80,000 salt and freshwater species -

0:44:290:44:32

'from tiny bacteria through to eels and cod.

0:44:320:44:36

'Although the glassy water only gives a hint of the world beneath.

0:44:360:44:40

'I'm hoping to spot a few of Etive's larger residents, though.'

0:44:400:44:45

There is maybe a chance of us catching a glimpse

0:44:450:44:47

of some common seals.

0:44:470:44:49

Seals and kayaks don't normally go,

0:44:490:44:51

so we have to be very careful as we approach.

0:44:510:44:53

They're quite close to this point that we're at now, then?

0:44:530:44:56

They're half a mile ahead of us.

0:44:560:44:58

Right, Matt. If you come over to me now

0:45:090:45:11

and if you look very carefully over there.

0:45:110:45:14

You see where the rock comes down?

0:45:140:45:17

-Oh, yeah.

-You've got two little bits sticking up.

0:45:170:45:19

-Well, they're seals.

-Oh, yeah. I can see them.

0:45:190:45:22

That's the Loch Etive colony.

0:45:250:45:26

'It's a rare glimpse of some of Etive's shiest inhabitants.

0:45:260:45:31

'We leave them to the serenity they enjoy here.

0:45:310:45:35

'Today, this loch is hard to visit with no road access

0:45:370:45:40

'for half its length,

0:45:400:45:42

'unlike its more celebrated cousins, Loch Ness and Loch Lomond.'

0:45:420:45:47

There's quite a few impressive things about Loch Etive.

0:45:500:45:53

Of course, there's the magnificence of these mountains and hills

0:45:530:45:57

and the beauty of the water that just seems to kind of

0:45:570:46:00

cut and carve itself through the landscape.

0:46:000:46:03

But I think the most special thing,

0:46:030:46:05

the most impressive thing is that we have paddled and paddled today.

0:46:050:46:09

We've travelled about 13 miles and we haven't seen anybody.

0:46:090:46:14

We've simply had this place to ourselves.

0:46:150:46:18

'Matt Baker paddling upstream.

0:46:200:46:23

'For the final leg of my west coast journey,

0:46:250:46:27

'I'm heading further south to Ardmaddy Castle

0:46:270:46:30

'on the outskirts of Oban.'

0:46:300:46:32

I'm going to a place that's been used

0:46:350:46:37

as a training ground for Scottish warriors

0:46:370:46:39

for over 500 years,

0:46:390:46:41

to learn one of the ancient arts of warcraft.

0:46:410:46:44

But first, wherever you're heading in the next seven days,

0:46:440:46:47

here's the Country Tracks weather for the week ahead.

0:46:470:46:50

.

0:50:590:51:06

I'm on a journey down the west coast of Scotland,

0:51:160:51:19

through Argyll and Bute.

0:51:190:51:20

I began near Altnafeadh,

0:51:200:51:22

finding out about the beauty hidden just off the beaten track,

0:51:220:51:25

before heading into the valley below,

0:51:250:51:28

the scene of the gruesome Glencoe Massacre.

0:51:280:51:30

Nearby, I met a woman fighting to beat the bane

0:51:300:51:33

of Scottish holiday-makers - the infuriating midge.

0:51:330:51:37

Then to the village of Connel, where I went out on the water

0:51:370:51:40

to experience the swirling currents of the Falls of Lora.

0:51:400:51:44

Now I'm heading for my last stop, a few miles outside Oban

0:51:440:51:47

in the grounds of the imposing Ardmaddy Castle.

0:51:470:51:52

Today, most people come to the castle

0:51:520:51:55

for its glorious walled gardens.

0:51:550:51:57

But back in the 16th century, these grounds

0:51:570:52:00

had a far more fearsome purpose - for training Scottish warriors.

0:52:000:52:05

Sean, the art of the longbow,

0:52:280:52:30

you're very much keeping an old tradition alive, aren't you?

0:52:300:52:33

Yes, these traditions have been in this country for thousands of years

0:52:330:52:37

and it's nice to keep these things alive, and the craft too.

0:52:370:52:40

Tell me about this field, it has a special significance, doesn't it?

0:52:400:52:43

Yes. This field is called Lon a'Chuspair in Gaelic,

0:52:430:52:46

and it means "the meadow of the bow marks".

0:52:460:52:48

It's where the MacDougalls of Reray used to practise their archery.

0:52:480:52:51

How far back are we talking? Hundreds of years?

0:52:510:52:54

-Hundreds of years, maybe as far back as 700-800 years.

-Incredible.

0:52:540:52:58

Is that why the field is the way it is? It's very long and straight.

0:52:580:53:01

Yes, very long, straight and flat.

0:53:010:53:03

Why is the longbow such a significant weapon?

0:53:030:53:06

-Strength, power, accuracy?

-It's a combination of them all.

0:53:060:53:09

They're very accurate bows to use

0:53:090:53:12

and very easy to kill a large animal with these.

0:53:120:53:16

So it follows on that you could kill men with them.

0:53:160:53:19

How recently did people continue to use them in everyday life,

0:53:190:53:22

like hunting or at war?

0:53:220:53:25

In the Highlands, it was a cattle economy,

0:53:250:53:27

so guns came here later than they did in the rest of the UK.

0:53:270:53:32

So the Highlanders were using the bows for war much later than

0:53:320:53:36

anywhere else. Up until, certainly the 1680s, there were recorded

0:53:360:53:40

-incidents of them using the bows in war.

-Wow, OK.

0:53:400:53:44

-This is a modern one, is it?

-It is.

0:53:440:53:45

What would they traditionally be made of?

0:53:450:53:47

I can see two woods on this one.

0:53:470:53:49

Two woods on this one, it's a lamination.

0:53:490:53:51

Traditionally, they would've been made of yew which would've been

0:53:510:53:54

a combination of the heartwood and the sapwood on the outside,

0:53:540:53:58

which makes a perfect natural spring.

0:53:580:54:00

Nowadays we can laminate.

0:54:000:54:01

So they'd get a strip of wood that was almost a cross-section

0:54:010:54:05

of the outer and the inner wood and they'd make one bow out of that?

0:54:050:54:08

Yes, exactly what they would do.

0:54:080:54:10

-What are these two woods in the modern bow?

-Bamboo and ipe.

0:54:100:54:13

Bamboo and ipe? Why are they chosen?

0:54:130:54:15

Because of the characteristics.

0:54:150:54:16

Ipe's excellent on the compression, bamboo's excellent on the tension.

0:54:160:54:20

Sounds an obvious thing,

0:54:200:54:22

but it's the length of the longbow that gives it its power, right?

0:54:220:54:25

It is, partly because the length of the longbow allows us

0:54:250:54:28

to draw a long arrow on it.

0:54:280:54:29

And the longer the arrow is on the bow,

0:54:290:54:31

the more of the energy is imparted to the arrow.

0:54:310:54:34

How hard is it to pull it back? How strong do you need to be?

0:54:340:54:37

It takes a bit of practice, but nowadays,

0:54:370:54:39

because we use bows of a lighter weight because it's recreational,

0:54:390:54:42

it isn't too difficult to learn how to do it and to get up to speed.

0:54:420:54:46

I kind of imagine people would have been lopsided,

0:54:460:54:49

with one really strong arm. Was that the case?

0:54:490:54:51

Not one strong arm, because you shoot with your back.

0:54:510:54:55

But some of the skeletons they found in the Mary Rose, for instance,

0:54:550:54:58

they have distortions in the spine.

0:54:580:55:00

So their bodies had evolved? They'd moulded from constant longbow usage?

0:55:000:55:05

Constant use with the heavy war bows, which would be

0:55:050:55:09

maybe 120lbs-plus to pull.

0:55:090:55:11

That's incredible. Just to give us a sense, what's this to pull?

0:55:110:55:15

-This is about 55lbs.

-So, over double that?

0:55:150:55:18

Right, to give me an idea...

0:55:180:55:20

Yeah, OK, that's pretty stiff, isn't it?!

0:55:200:55:23

The ones they were firing from hundreds of years ago

0:55:230:55:27

were double that strength?

0:55:270:55:28

-Yeah.

-What sort of distance can you get on a bow like that?

0:55:280:55:32

Probably round about 200 yards, but with the big heavy war bows,

0:55:320:55:36

240 yards with big heavy arrows

0:55:360:55:39

that weighed as much as a quarter of a pound.

0:55:390:55:41

Crikey! What sort of damage would a big heavy arrow do?

0:55:410:55:45

It would just burst straight through you.

0:55:450:55:47

-Even with armour?

-Yes.

0:55:470:55:49

-How long have you been doing this?

-About 15 years.

0:55:490:55:52

How long does it take to get really good at it?

0:55:520:55:54

You can be proficient within a year or so.

0:55:540:55:56

Then you progress as you go along.

0:55:560:55:59

OK. And the better guys can do it at all different ranges?

0:55:590:56:02

Yes, absolutely.

0:56:020:56:03

I am absolutely itching to have a go. Have you got a beginner's bow.

0:56:030:56:07

-I have one over here.

-Brilliant, let's do it.

-OK, sure.

0:56:070:56:11

OK, we're kitted out. First of all, what's this?

0:56:210:56:24

This is a bracer, to keep your sleeve out of the way of the string

0:56:240:56:27

-and protect your arm from the whip of the string.

-And this?

0:56:270:56:31

This is a tab, to protect your fingers from the pull of the string.

0:56:310:56:35

-OK, so you have it either side of the arrow?

-That's right.

-OK.

0:56:350:56:39

-It's obviously a beginner's bow.

-Yes.

-How powerful is it?

0:56:390:56:43

How much strength do you need?

0:56:430:56:45

If you pull for 28 inches, you'll have about 30lbs on your fingers.

0:56:450:56:50

-That's a quarter of what the big bows used to be like?

-It is.

0:56:500:56:54

That's the kit. Without any more ado,

0:56:540:56:56

I think we should see how it works.

0:56:560:56:58

-Take it away.

-Sure, OK.

0:56:580:57:00

-Feet shoulder-width apart.

-Yeah.

0:57:000:57:03

-Pick your arrow.

-So it's over the top.

0:57:030:57:05

Over the top. To the string.

0:57:050:57:07

-Wow!

-Over to you.

0:57:150:57:16

Right!

0:57:160:57:18

So, let's lock and load, as they probably don't say with archery.

0:57:180:57:24

So, over the top.

0:57:240:57:25

-You had the white feather facing you, didn't you?

-That's right.

0:57:270:57:33

-It just clicks in.

-Uh-huh.

-Click.

0:57:330:57:35

Lock your shoulder down, slight bend in your left elbow.

0:57:350:57:40

Don't clamp arrow with your fingers. So slight bend in the elbow.

0:57:400:57:45

-Just keep drawing that back, do I?

-Yeah.

0:57:450:57:49

-When do I let go?

-Now.

0:57:490:57:52

-Hey, excellent shot.

-Wow, really flies, doesn't it?

-It does.

0:57:540:57:58

Yeah, I'll take that. That's brilliant. Amazing to think...

0:57:580:58:02

-You have a competition in August, don't you?

-Yes, we do. 6th August.

0:58:020:58:06

-6th August. People come from all around?

-All over Britain.

-Fantastic.

0:58:060:58:10

To have it right here, amazing view, hopefully the sun shining,

0:58:100:58:14

but more importantly, in almost the home of the longbow,

0:58:140:58:17

where people have practised this for centuries.

0:58:170:58:20

Yeah, it's a great privilege for us

0:58:200:58:21

to be able to shoot on such an ancient field.

0:58:210:58:23

-Long may it continue.

-We hope so.

-Fantastic.

0:58:230:58:27

Travelling down Scotland's west coast has been

0:58:330:58:36

a truly memorable experience.

0:58:360:58:38

From a natural landscape that rises majestically from the earth,

0:58:380:58:42

dwarfing all that passed through it, to the history and natural wonders

0:58:420:58:47

that define the character of this dramatic slice of the British Isles.

0:58:470:58:51

It's a land built by warriors, but today defined by the beautiful

0:58:550:58:59

and unspoilt wildness of these surroundings.

0:58:590:59:02

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:59:150:59:18

E-mail [email protected]

0:59:180:59:22

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