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18 Sept 2018

Discovering Scotland’s newest National Nature Reserve


Craig McGinlay: What does Glencoe mean to me?

Well, epic, I mean look at this place today, it’s raining today, horrible but do you know what I absolutely love it.

It’s been iconic for so many movies over the years the likes of Skyfall, Highlander and you know just love coming here, I live in London now, coming back here, it feels like it’s never been here before
coming back so love being here today.

So yeah traveling a lot around the world for work, obviously, you know everyone asks me about Scotland and you know I just absolutely love it obviously and that’s what I tell people you know.

I’m so proud of where I’m from, from Paisley initially and you know just absolutely love Scotland so proud of it.

Obviously, everyone knows about the weather which is obviously the first thing
that seems to always come up but it doesn’t change things today it’s wet and windy but still having a great time, people are always keen to come up here, I’ve never heard anyone say they’ve come to Scotland and had a bad time,so you know, no matter what the weather's like it’s always good fun.

What do I love about Scotland?

Definitely the people, I mean coming back and seeing my friends and family it’s just great catching up with them as well, but obviously being able to come somewhere like this on your doorstep that’s the difference you know you’re able to come here and enjoy this, you don’t have that anywhere else so it’s amazing being able to come back and seeing all my friends and family and being able to walk out here today it’s been amazing.

It’s so important that we care for Scotland’s heritage it’s amongst the best in the world and it’s important that we all come together and make sure we preserve it and keep it looking the way it is just now.

The National Trust for Scotland is a conservation charity that protects and cares for over 100 places in Scotland and ultimately, they do everything for the love of Scotland.

The charity is funded by its members and donors and it’s so important that we support them by becoming members ourselves.

To join or donate to the National Trust for Scotland visit this website.

Craig McGinlay is the latest celebrity to get behind the National Trust for Scotland. Here he documents his first visit as a Trust champion to his favourite Scottish destination - Glencoe.

Since moving from Scotland to London for my acting career, I don’t get to see as much of our beautiful country as I would hope to. So, when I was offered the chance to get behind the National Trust for Scotland and its latest campaign ‘For the love of Scotland’, I couldn’t say no.

Scotland’s heritage, culture and spirit are among the best in the world. I’m proud to call Scotland my home and showcasing the best of what it has to offer is something I’m very passionate about, so it was a very easy decision.

Selecting which National Trust for Scotland location to visit was not such an easy decision. There are more than 100 places that the charity protects, but after much deliberation I had to opt for Glencoe. It’s a world-famous site that has played a starring role in some major blockbusters and award-winning TV series - like Braveheart, Highlander, Rob Roy, Harry Potter and Skyfall – so to me it is a symbol of my career aspirations and dreams.

I started off my visit with a tour of the Glencoe Visitor Centre, which just happened to coincide with President Neil Oliver’s visit to unveil the site’s National Nature Reserve status. We met with National Trust for Scotland volunteers, members and employees, and heard about the amazing plans to transform the visitor centre to provide a more immersive experience.

We then set off to explore the wonders of Glencoe. Our first stop was Lagangarbh cottage. We walked along the stream and across the footbridge into the heart of the valley. When I used to think of Glencoe I thought of dramatic mountains, rare beauty and haunting history, but when I was standing in the middle of the glen, only one word came to mind: epic. It was truly spectacular.

Craig McGinlay by the Lagangarbh cottage in Glencoe

We then moved onto what is considered as one of the best views in the UK: the Three Sisters mountains made up of the ridges of Beinn Fhada, Gearr Aonach and Aonach Dubh. We pulled into the ‘Piper’s lay-by’ - so-called because of the usual sideshow entertainment in the summer months - and I was absolutely blown away by the amount and diversity of visitors there to take in the beautiful spot. Looking out at the panoramic vistas around me, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of pride.

Craig McGinlay at the Three Sisters in Glencoe

Glencoe is undoubtably an extraordinary complex place that welcomes visitors from around the world all coming for different reasons: whether it be for the landscape and nature or history and starring role on screens. It’s a fabulous day out for people at all ages and stages of life, it’s educational and its breathtaking beauty creates everlasting memories.

But whatever you love about Glencoe and this place we call home, know that we must protect it now and for generations to come. We must do it so that our heritage will always have a home and to keep our country – and places like Glencoe - as beautiful as it can be. But most importantly, do it for the love of Scotland.

Craig McGinlay holding a National Trust for Scotland sign