An adventurous part of our trip to Scotland was seeing some Harry Potter movie locations. Yep, there are a few, but we only went to two.
Firstly, we went to Loch Etive – a picturesque lake at the end of a long valley. The lake edge was used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as one of the beautiful camping spots. This scene was where Ron has an argument with the others and leaves the group.
It was a 45 minute drive along a single lane road (!!) to get there. There was only maybe a dozen houses along the whole road, and a washed out camp site at the end. But it was a beautiful view and you could recognize the shape of the land from the movie. The fog makes it difficult to get the details, but it was definitely the place.
The lake was beautiful, but the most memorable Harry Potter sight for us involved going to Glenfinnan. This is Loch Shiel with the Glenfinnan Monument on the water’s edge. No, this wasn’t in the movie, but is interesting in itself.
The monument is to commemorate the end of the Jacobite cause in 1815 and is surmounted by a statue of an anonymous Highlander in a kilt. Very cool.
But we were here for the Glenfinnan Viaduct, that is, the train bridge the Hogwarts Express train travelled across in the second film. It has 21 huge arches and was built between 1897 and 1901. Very impressive considering the technology of the day!
We decided we wanted to get a better angle of the viaduct for when the train came round, so hiked up the left side of the valley (bit boggy, bit marshy and quite steep) and ended up with this vantage below. Awesome!
It looks exactly like it did in the movie too. No CG required! Well, except for the flying car.
We managed to make our climb up the hill just in time for the Jacobite steam train coming over the viaduct. Fantastic timing!
A great bit of Harry Potter sightseeing, though I recommend you plan your hike up the hill. We just winged it, but it was a struggle to get up there in time. Perhaps try the opposite hill instead of the one we did. We were just relieved we made it up there.
Turns out we missed one sorta Harry Potter sighting by a stone’s throw. We had a delicious lunch and pint at the Clachaig Inn in GLen Coe without knowing there was an easy sighting across the road. Across the road was the location for Hagrid’s hut in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you’re in the area, you might as well check it out.
Scotland is a beautiful country and we had a wonderful time. We’ve barely seen half of it. We hope to go back at least once more to see the east side of Scotland, like up to Fife and Stirling to see castles and learn about Robert the Bruce history.