Inveraray, a cute charming town, was our first stop and it is known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands and Islands’. It is the traditional county town of Argyll and ancestral home of Duke of Argyll, who founded the town in 1745. Inveraray Castle, the main historic attraction in Inveraray, has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century. The castle is believed to be haunted by the ‘ghost of a harpist who was hanged in 1644 for peeping at the lady of the house’. Fun fact: the main street in Inveraray is also called Main Street.
Glencoe – Three Sisters was our second stop.
Glencoe, a glen in the heart of Highlands, is considered as one of the most spectacular and beautiful places in Scotland. It’s a part of the designated National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glencoe. The name Glencoe is often said to mean “Glen of Weeping”, perhaps with some reference to the infamous Massacre of Glencoe which took place there in 1692. However, Glen is a Gaelic word for “Valley” and in fact the Glen is named after the River Coe that runs through it, and bore this name long before the 1692 incident.
Glencoe featured in Skyfall James Bond movie in 2013 and in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, in May-June 2003. We drove on the same road as James bond drove in his Aston Martin in Skyfall.
Lying in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Fort William is the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, the second largest town in Highlands and the main town in Lochaber. Fort William’s setting is dramatic on the shore of Loch Linnhe (Read Leny), and under the mighty hulk of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis (1344m). Over 700 people in Fort William can speak Gaelic. Learning some Gaelic would be useful here. We only stopped in Fort William for lunch before continuing our route to Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Glenfinnan sits at the head of mysterious and beautiful Loch Shiel at the crossroads of four steep sided Glens. Historically, it was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie called for the local clansmen to assemble in August 1745 and raised his standard proclaiming the throne of Great Britain to rightfully belong to his family, the Stuarts. The village has also become well known worldwide through its appearances in various Harry Potter films, most especially in ‘The Chamber of Secrets’ and also in ‘Maid of Honour’, a Romantic Comedy movie.
There are few things to visit in Glenfinnan, such as:
- Glenfinnan Viaduct (Known as Harry Potter Bridge) is the main attraction in the village. It was built in 1897 – 1901 by Sir Robert McAlpine at the cost of 18,904. It has 21 arches, reaching as high as 100ft (30m). You will see a plaque at the base of one of the arches commemorates the centenary of the viaduct. It was initially famous as the largest concrete viaduct in the UK in the past. The viaduct is situated in a truly picturesque part of Glenfinnan.
As a fan of Harry Potter, can you remember what Harry said to Ron after saving his life in this scene (pictured)?
Hint: “I think we….”
To get the answer, watch this small video on Youtube:
- Loch Shiel is one of the few remaining areas of true wilderness and its surrounding mountains are so scenic. Loch Shiel is marginally above sea level, but it used to be a sea loch when sea levels were higher. Loch Shiel was also featured as the fictional ‘Black Lake’ near Hogwarts in the film versions of the Harry Potter It is also the fictional birthplace of Connor and Duncan MacLeod from the Highlander franchise. The loch also features in the filming of the movie The Master of Ballantrae starring Errol Flynn. A speechless and stunning view of the lake can be captured from a View Point just right next to it.
- Glenfinnan Monument, situated at the head if loch Shiel, was erected by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, in 1815 to mark the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Glenfinnan Monument is surmounted by a statue of an anonymous Highlander in a kilt, to commemorate the raising of Prince Charlie’s standard. He rowed the whole length of the loch for raising his standard.
- Glenfinnan, St. Mary and St. Finnan Church, was consecrated in 1873 and designed by Welby Pugin in the Gothic style. It is overlooking Loch Shiel with a spectacular view of the loch and surrounding hills. Glenfinnan Church is a memorial chapel to the MacDonalds of Glenaladale, the family with whom Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed prior to the raising of the Jacobite standard at Glenfinnan in August 1745.
- Glenfinnan Railway Station, formally opened to the public in April 1901. The Jacobite Steam Train (Hogwarts express) only in summer and other trains regularly run this route. Some old fashioned Harry Potter luggages can be found at the Railway Station.
- Glenfinnan Station Museum, is located in the station building and was set up in 1991. It is so tiny and costs 50p (as contribution) to visit the museum but also you can get some souvenirs in the shop such as post cards of Harry Potter bridge, etc…
- Dining Car, sitting next to the station are two 1950s railway carriages, one converted for bunkhouse accommodation and one into a Dining Carriage serving tea, coffee in summer time. Harry Potter’s filming crew stayed in those Dining Cars during the film production.
Here are more photos from the trip, sit back, relax and enjoy.