We went to Loch Maree because it’s the setting of my current work in progress and I wanted to see the highlands up close and personal. And Loch Maree is the highlands. It resides in Wester Ross in the Northwestern upper regions of Scotland. It’s known as the Jewel of the Highlands because it’s so untouched.
I was unprepared for the raw beauty and power of the place.
Scotland was carved out by huge glaciers that covered the entire continent hundreds of thousands of years ago. That fact never seemed so evident until I saw the Loch Maree area.
This is Mount Slioch. It stands 3219 feet high and dominates its surroundings. It’s very popular with
Loch Maree has a maximum depth of 375 feet and an average depth of 125 and is nearly 13 miles long. It is the 4th largest loch in Scotland.
The loch has around 30 islands, Isle Maree being the most important. It is on that island that a small chapel was built in 766 AD. by St. Maol Rubha. He came to spread Christianity and to try and wean the Druids away from their practices of sacrificing bulls.
It seems he was not completely successful. The last sacrifice was in the 17th century.
The island is said to have a well on it that will cure mental illness and has oak and holly trees that were at one time important to the ancient Druids who worshipped there. There are also graves of a Viking prince and princess.
A wishing tree with coins hammered into it was there when Queen Victoria visited in 1877.
Loch Maree even has it’s own monster called the Muc-sheilch (Pronounced Mook Helluch) .Perhaps a kind of selkie. I kept my eye out for it every time I stopped to take a picture but it must be as camera shy as I am.
Queen Victoria stayed at the Loch Maree Hotel in 1877. She stayed six days and there is a plaque that commemorates her visit outside the building. It seems strange to see motorcycles parked outside it, knowing that.
The area is a favorite camping site. Hiking, climbing, and fishing seems to be the favorite pastime for anyone who visits. The light seemed to change every few minutes as you can tell from my pictures. And the area is known to have unexpected, sometimes violent storms blow through, a fact that I have used to my advantage in my manuscript.
Tomorrow I'll be talking about Cawdor Castle, the stronghold of the Campbell Clan.