The culminating chapter in the excellent Youtube series on the Glen Coe Massacre from The Munros: A Personal Voyage channel is now live. Having some idea of what goes into a project like this, I can appreciate the labor of love that this has been. Love of Story, a need to plumb the depths of a dark history to penetrate myth and legend and get down to hard truths.
In an age of slaughter, religious intolerance and bloody clan feuds, what makes Glen Coe stand out above the many other massacres in the Highlands? Should a soldier unconditionally follow orders, even if those orders are to murder children? Was it “the Campbells”… or is that just what the real villains wanted people to think?
These questions and more are at the heart of our new film, ‘Cruel Is the Snow: Committing the Glen Coe Massacre’. The conclusion to over three years of work, ‘Cruel Is the Snow’ continues the story told in our extremely popular documentaries ’Fallen Kingdom’, ‘Inglorious Revolutions’, ‘Guardians to Gallows Herd’ and ‘Knives in the Dark’.
Aging alcoholic and closet Jacobite Captain Robert Campbell is reluctantly tasked with a secret mission to destroy the Jacobite resistance. He is to quarter his men upon MacIain of Glen Coe, the Lord of the Gallows Herd — but Robert Campbell does not know what the secret is. Nor do his hosts, the MacDonalds of Glen Coe, or, indeed, the majority of his men. When the terrible secret is revealed, it will change the Scottish Highlands forever, and mark the beginning of the end for the Gàidhealtachd.
The title of the doco is lifted from the ballad made famous by The Corries:
Oh cruel is the snow that sweeps Glencoe
And covers the grave o’ Donald
And cruel was the foe that raped Glencoe
And murdered the house o’ MacDonald
While we’re here, might as well take in a new one from Liath Wolf. Andrew Man was a cunning man, or healer, who claimed to be a consort to the Queen of the Elphame. He was burned as a witch in in 1598, at the height of Scotland’s witchcraft hysteria.