In Scotland, “Glen” means glen, and “Ben” means mountain. We camped in Glen Nevis beneath Ben Nevis, in probably the largest campground we’ve been to yet, sprawled across numerous fields beneath the misty mountainsides. We were afraid our impressions of Ireland and Scotland would be sunny and blue, but the rain and clouds finally set in during our stay in the Glen.
We took the Jacobite Steam Train out of nearby Fort William. This was the train they filmed for the Hogwarts Express, and its route passes a few key filming locations on its way to Mallaig.
Here’s the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which can be seen in the movies.
Here’s Loch Shiel, used as the lake near Hogwarts.
Here’s Loch Eilt. The unique island is Dumbledore’s final resting place. The loch is also featured in the scene of Hagrid skipping stones, and as the location of the second task in the Triwizard Tournament.
Keep in mind the amount of soot we breathed at the open windows in order to capture these visions for your casual perusal. Most of the windows, in fact, were open, since a bit of the recent heat wave decided to linger over the train during our journey, and every time we plunged into a tunnel the whole cabin would fill with black smoke. It became difficult to see, but we didn’t panic because whenever we were able to dimly glimpse another passenger, they would be acting like a cabinfull of black smoke was ordinary. But this was probably only because everyone was dimly glimpsing each other acting normal. And thus was order maintained every time we plunged through a tunnel and the train was filled with black smoke.
Here is a selection of photos from times outside of tunnels when the smoke and steam rose into the sky where they’re supposed to be, and our vision was clear to behold the wonders of the land.
At the end of the line, on the coast, awaited the town of Mallaig, and this statue. Let’s play Which One Is Ryan.
Also, Ryan sketched a boat.
We returned to Fort William on a normal train, and saw the sights in reverse. Next stop: Edinburgh!