Highlights of Scotland's West Coast: tips from a local guide

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Another tribute to Scotland will grace our page today, this one from Glaswegian guide, Bill. Bill has been on the receiving end of a stream of 5-star praise from guests delighted with the Scotland he showed them during their time in his homeland. Today he’ll tell us about several must-see places along Scotland's West Coast and Highlands.

Scotland has been voted by CNN as one of the world’s best places to visit. The West Coast where most of the cruise liners come into Greenock is without doubt the most scenic. Loch Lomond and the Highlands are only a short trip away and the same can be said for the vibrant city of Glasgow.

Loch Lomond is one of the top beauty spots in the world. It is a photographer’s paradise as the light constantly changes. It has an atmosphere all its own which can only be described as breathtaking. Many travelers have described it as being so beautiful that somehow it seems unreal. The scenery constantly changes and the experience of the place is always very personal. The famous song "Oh you tak the high road and I'll tak the low road" is known by everyone. If you are visiting Scotland’s West Coast, it is an essential place to say "you were there".

You will have heard of the Scottish glens, but Glen Coe is the best of all of them. It is sometimes translated as "The Glen of Weeping", and some speculate that this name is linked to the infamous Massacre of Glen Coe which took place there in 1692. Acting on orders from William II (a.k.a. William of Orange), the Campbells murdered 38 members of the Clan of Macdonald and left 40 others to die of exposure - allegedly for not being quick enough to pledge allegiance to the new King and Queen. This bloody act of Clan violence would resonate through Scotland for centuries: if it is history you are looking for then this is the place.

Glen Coe is awesome and it simply takes your breath away. It is totally unspoilt and has been used as a setting for many films like Liam Neeson’s Rob Roy and more recently the new James Bond film Skyfall. The story of Glen Coe is told in detail at the visitor centre and the village of Glen Coe is in itself quite unique. I have never met anyone who was not visually moved by what they witness in this very special place. I live here and I still can become emotional by its constantly changing nature.

As a contrast to Glen Coe and Loch Lomond’s wild beauty, the largest city in Scotland is Glasgow and it has so much to offer the urban visitor. Glasgow is steeped in history and is the best preserved Victorian city in the UK. It has been called "The Dear Green Place" because of its Victorian parks which contrast with the city’s incredible architecture and cosmopolitan feel. The city’s position ensures that it is possible to be at the coast or the mountains within a very short time, and it has a subway system so it is easy to get around. Glasgow has been voted one of the friendliest cities in the world and it has regenerated itself from an industrial past which included its famous ship building heritage. The Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary were built here and the term "Clyde Built" meant quality. Glasgow sits on the River Clyde where many people left for America all those years ago.

Thank you Bill, for your enthusiastic suggestions for a West Coast Scottish itinerary. Any travelers headed to Glasgow in 2013 should consider getting in touch with Bill to spend time in his charming and knowledgeable company.
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