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The Massacre of Glencoe
Signal Rock

The rock that I referred to was I believe on the North side of A82 at a site where there was a stream that cut through a vast area of rock. On either side of the highway were huge mountains of rock and there was a paved parking area adjacent to the stream and a footbridge over the stream leading to a walking path through the woods. If you follow the path you came to a fence with a gate. On the left side of the gate was a sign telling the history of the massacre and how the rock was used by the Campbells in the massacre of the MacDonalds. The sign also told how over the years the ownership of the land on which the rock is located had passed to another family who now operate a large inn on the property. But they had given the rock and a small area around the rock to Scotland because of the history and that as long as you stay on the path leading to the rock and did not tamper with any of the flora or fauna you were welcome to take the scenic path to the rock. I did, and it was a wonderful walk. And I climbed the rock, which was much larger than I had expected. And I could envision that back in the 1600's the rock may have stood above the trees and would have made a great place to light a signal fire.

Thanks to Lynda for sending us in this information

I read with interest the extremely accurate article by Raymond Campbell Paterson on the Massacre of Glencoe. I  was however very disappointed in what was written about the Signal Rock and should like to take this opportunity to correct a few things.

My father-in-law Dr Alister Sutherland whoes mother was a Macdonald bought the small estate of Torren (not the Clachaig Inn as stated in your article)in 1936 when the Glencoe Estate was sold on the death of the first Lord Strathcona to whom it had belonged. You were correct in saying that he then gifted the Signal Rock at the same time granting a right of way to the rock through his forest to the National Trust for Scotland.The NTS  had been interested in buying Torren at the sale because they wished to aquire the Signal Rock which because of its position in the apex of the glen could be seen from all sides and was used by the people of the Glen to warn of danger.

The original name for the Rock is "Torr na Grian" which means the Knoll of the Sun. It is thought that it was used by the Druads as from it you can see both the rising and the setting sun. Nowhere in the contempory account written after the Massacre of Glencoe does it say that the signal for the Massacre was given from the Rock. We are told that the soldiers were given instructions to rise at 5am as surprise would then be on their side. The story that a signal was given by lighting a fire on the Signal Rock was only started in about the 1970's but seems to have got to peoples imagination inspite of all the efforts of local people here in Glencoe to quash that incorrect story.

We still live here at Torren and I would like to through your excellent website ensure that the correct tale be attached the Signal Rock which I can see here from my window. Victoria Sutherland

See Victoria's web site at

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