The day the girls had all been waiting for: Glenfinnan Viaduct, i.e. the viaduct shown in all of the Harry Potter films with the Hogwarts Express going over it to.
Most unlike us we didn’t do any pre-planning, like checking the train timetables etc. to get there for when a train was going over the viaduct. We had breakfast and hit the road when we were ready. Simples.
When we got there though the car parks and sides of the road were rammed with cars. It was chaos, and all because a train was due. So with nowhere to park we carried on along the road until we came to an empty lay-by (this took a good mile and a half up the road), parked up, and waited for the train to come along as we were overlooking the tracks.
We saw the train – a steam train at that – and then ventured back to the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre to see if we could get a parking space now that the train had gone. Luckily there was one free so we parked up, changed into our walking boots, and headed off on a walk to the viaduct, on to Glenfinnan railway station, and back to the monument.
The views over the viaduct were stunning, and as luck would have it, as we were standing there looking out over the loch we caught two more trains (not steam ones this time) making their way over the viaduct so the girls were happy.
The walk was lovely and when we got to the station we sat outside the Glenfinnan Sleeping Car cafe and had a drink and ice cream, getting free tickets to the Glenfinnan Station Museum as we’d bought something from them.
We weren’t in a rush to get back so we went into the museum. It wasn’t very big but the girls were fascinated with a lot of the old equipment they had in there.
On our way back to the monument we were walking down a little lane when we spotted an oriental couple in their car, seemingly parked outside a house taking pictures through the car side window. It looked really rather strange until we got closer and actually saw what they were looking at: a deer grazing in the house’s front garden! Two wild deer on two separate walks; how lucky are we?
The monument by the loch side wasn’t too busy, and as we’re National Trust members we could go in for free, so me and the girls did, taking the tight winding staircase to the top, with me just about squeezing my shoulders through the rather small opening at the top! The view was something else from the top though, looking out over the loch.
When we’d planned the day we thought that the viaduct was the only thing Harry Potter we’d see. As it turns out – talking to the National Trust guy at the monument – there was a lot more for the girls to see related to the films. The loch itself was used in the films for the location of Hogwarts (it was added to the righthand side of the loch) and also for the Triwizard Tournament. And if that wasn’t enough, the little island to the left of the loch as you look out over it, that was used for the quidditch matches. Some serious bonuses for the girls there!
A fantastic day that I suspect the girls will remember for a long time.