Updated: Dec 6, 2020
There isn't going to be a new Harry Potter story, but if there was, this would make a serious contender for the title. So, unfortunately, no new film but an awesome blog to describe our magical day of filming in the Scottish Highlands. We had planned a day of filming in Glenfinnan as our first port of call, but as many say, it's not the town that's most interesting, it's the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and for us, the story was no different. Three-hundred and eighty meters long, thirty meters high, and a selection of twenty-one sweeping arches, an outstanding piece of structural architecture and with the added backdrop of Loch Shiel, it's picture-perfect.
After successful permission to film from the estate manager, we were able to set-up 30 meters from the viaduct! A dream location for any drone pilot. Structures and landmarks of this nature are calling out to be filmed with a drone. The National Trust, a UK heritage conservation organisation that owns most of these landmarks is so against drones... frustrating.
Let me give you some history. The viaduct was constructed in the 1890s by Robert McAlpine and his sons. The first of its kind to be built using concrete. Officially opening on April 1st, 1901. Its purpose was to take materials across the valley. Now the design, curved, why? so passengers could peer out of the windows and experience a truly unique view of the front and rear of the train at the same time. Despite this being such an innovative idea at the time, it didn't gain praise and fame until appearing in the Harry Potter sequels, the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The highlight scene being Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in a Ford Anglia looking to catch the Hogwarts Express down the rail track, but become shocked as it approaches behind, forcing them to fly out of path and inevitability through the viaducts arches as they lose flight control. This actual scene provided us with the inspiration to replicate the drone footage featured, a relatively easy task, but we were restricted by new rules not allowing flight directly over the rail track, fair enough.
Pulling away from our mini filming project, we did have time to experience the beautiful surrounding walks on offer. The main being an easy trek over the hills from the viaduct to Glenfinnan railway station, the views on the route, some of the best we have experienced in the UK... seriously! At the railway station, there is a traditional museum, small but interesting and the highlight being a cafe situated inside an old railway carriage, with some bloody delicious food. At the station you get the opportunity at the right times to get a good view of the Jacobite Express, this is the official name of the train, even though most prefer calling it the Hogwarts Express. It runs from Fort William to Mallaig in the Highlands of Scotland.
Our team learned many things during our small, but exciting road trip. First, visit Scotland!, it's on our doorstep, the history to discover is endless, the landmarks and scenery are gorgeous and it's not that expensive. The only shortfall is the weather, but down South in the UK isn't much warmer, and going abroad on a budget beach holiday can be a little boring in comparison, and is certainly not as educational. Many people rave about the hidden beauties of Scotland, but in reality, many English still do take the abroad path. From what we experienced though, this needs to change, Scotland deserves a place on everyone's to-do list.
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