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Glencoe Appeal

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Give a ‘Hug of Heather’ and help us share the story of Glencoe.

A Hug of Heather for you, and a Hug of Heather for Glencoe

Buy a Hug of Heather and help to protect an important piece of Scottish history.

For a donation of £20, you can give your loved one a thoughtful gift and become a guardian of Glencoe’s history.

We’ll send you a Hug of Heather card so you can write your own message and a packet of heather seeds to give to your loved one to plant at home. In return, your donation will help us buy a ‘Hug of Heather’ in your loved one’s name for the thatched roof of our re-creation of a turf house at Glencoe – helping us to share the stories of those who lived in the glen at the time of the massacre.

Give a different gift and make a difference.

How many hugs?

£20 will place 1 hug
£40 will place 2 hugs
£60 will place 3 hugs

(you’ll get the corresponding numbers of cards and seed packets too!)

How your Hug of Heather will help

In 2019, we undertook archaeological excavations at Glencoe, discovering more about the people who called the glen home in the 17th century. We also uncovered new evidence about how Highlanders would have lived at the time of the infamous Glencoe Massacre. We want to share these discoveries, so we’re re-creating a turf house to show how our ancestors lived and worked in the glen.

The house will use traditional materials and methods, sustainably sourced from Glencoe and throughout Scotland. Once complete, the turf house will allow visitors from all over the world to experience life in the glen in the 1600s.

We’re halfway through building the house. It’s wooden timber ‘cruck’ frame has been erected and turf cladding is now being applied to form the walls.

In August, we will thatch the roof of the house. To do so in a traditional way, we need to source 600 ‘hug-sized’ bundles of heather from the glen and from across Scotland. Donating today will help us put the finishing touches to the turf house which will showcase the lost way of life of our Highland ancestors.

Glencoe turf house under construction

Why build a turf house?

Derek Alexander, Head of Archaeology at the Trust


Derek: So one of the reasons we’re excavating here is because there's very little remains in the glen that relate to the time, or about the time of the massacre, and the archaeological evidence on the ground here is actually quite low-lying so it's not very obvious archaeology.

So visitors coming to the glen would like to know where settlement sites were at the time,
but it’s quite difficult to understand on the ground.

So if we’ve got an information panel here, or a leaflet about this site, that would be very good.
But if we can rebuild a structure as it was at the time, I think that’s a better way to tell part of the story of the massacre.

And it would also be very close to the visitor centre, so they can maybe direct people out from the visitor centre to this site further up the glen.

Help us keep our history alive. Donate today.


Millions of years ago volcanic eruptions thrust the mountains of Glencoe into the sky. A series of ice ages ground them down, shattered the rock and sculpted the valleys. Out of sight in the fastnesses dwelt Fingal, hero of legend. Countless lives were lived. Centuries passed, then millennia. In 1692 Glencoe was the scene of an infamous crime, the massacre of the MacDonalds. The glen has cradled all of it and more. It’s a place synonymous with a lost way of life.


On 13 February 1692, 38 men, women and children of the MacDonald clan were slaughtered by a regiment of soldiers they had welcomed into their homes (acting on orders from Lord Stair, the Secretary of State). The tragedy of the Glencoe Massacre had long-lasting consequences for the Highland way of life and still has the power to evoke powerful emotions today.

Working with the local community, we’re unearthing the forgotten history at the sites of three lost villages – Inverigan, Achnacon and Achtriochtan. By undertaking detailed excavation and survey work, we’ve found out more about the families who lived there at the time of the massacre and the onset of the Highland Clearances.

Just to let you know ...

... for one Hug of Heather we’re asking for a donation of £20. If you’d like more than one, please donate the relevant amount and we’ll email you in confirmation.

Please note that we can only send heather seeds to UK addresses.

Your donation will allow us to place a hug of heather on the roof of the turf house in your loved one’s name. All dedications are virtual and no names will appear on the turf house.

Glencoe Appeal

Help us share the story of Glencoe.

Donate now