The village of Glenfinnan is a place with spectacular scenery and history! An ideal place to travel through in the Highlands of Scotland, you can take the steam train to Mallaig and continue your journey to Skye, to walk the Isle of Skye Spectacular! Appreciate the history of Glenfinnan by visiting the 1745 Jacobite monument! Also, thousands of people visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct to be in the location where filming for the second and third Harry Potter films took place. Planning a trip to the Highlands? Stopping in Glenfinnan on your way will guarantee you an amazing time! Also, if your end destination is the Isle of Skye, you can travel on the ferry from Mallaig, incorporating the rail journey from Fort William that crosses over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct located in the Highlands of Scotland. At the head of Loch Shiel, a Loch which stretches all the way to Archacale. The Glennfinnan Viaduct holds great historic value! Designed by famous road and rail engineer Robert McAlpine the viaduct carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station. Departing from Fort William and journeying through to Mallaig, the Jacobite steam train is often described as one of the greatest rail journeys in the world! The Glenfinnan Viaduct is around 100ft from the ground and spread across 1,000ft. Though, do consider that the steam train service does only run in the summer months, from June to August. The railway line from Glasgow was extended to reach Mallaig in 1901, so instead of travelling by car, this rail route allows you to have a completely different perspective of this spectacular Highland scenery!
You might also recognise Glenfinnan Viaduct from the Bank of Scotland, £10 note. The viaduct is on the reverse of the note! Why not make a day of it? If you are a strong interest in railways, you will love the Glenfinnan Station Museum. You can spend as much time as you want. Also, here you can have lunch, a tour of the museum or a walk around the local area!
Most people will recognise the Glenfinnan Viaduct from the Harry Potter films. After the viaduct was featured in the second and third films, it has attracted the attention from thousands of visitors. With the massive popularity of Harry Potter, people of course want to experience the outstanding scenery they saw on screen, for themselves! Also, the scenes filmed on the ‘Hogwarts Express’ meant that pupils from the local school could be included in the film.
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Glenfinnan also is famously known for beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. In which Bonnie Prince Charlie, raised his father’s Jacobite standard and announced to the gathered, 1,200 highlanders, he had gained support from, that he claimed the Scottish and English thrones. He wanted to regain the throne that his grandfather, James VII of Scotland and II of England, had lost to William of Orange. Though the Jacobite Army were eventually defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Glenfinnan will still hold global recognition for being the place Bonnie Prince Charlie began his endeavour for the throne.
Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Centre
To commemorate what happened in 1745, a monument was built in 1815. Located at the head of Loch Shiel, a kilted highlander stands at the top of an 18-metre-high column. It was designed by the Scottish architect James Gillespie Graham. This monument is made even more poignant with the dramatic Highland scenery behind it. To ensure it keeps well, the monument is now under the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Just like the rail journey, the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre is only open from April to October! At the centre there are displays, exhibitions and an audio programme about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s time battling for the throne. It covers the all of the Jacobite Rising, from Glenfinnan to his defeat at Culloden!
Each year the local community of Glenfinnan hold the Glenfinnan Highland Games, which begin with Glenfinnan Gathering. Everyone gathers in August to envisage and remember what it must have been like in 1745. It is worthwhile to attend! Highland Games are a great tradition in the Scottish summer time.
Skye Coastal Way
Travelling on from Mallaig to the Isle of Skye is incredibly worthwhile. If you are taking the train to get to Mallaig from Fort William, why not delve deeper into the Western Isles? The ferry from Mallaig to Armadale has a travel time of 45 minutes. With regular sailings all year round it is a very convenient service. Reaching the Isle of Skye, you can take this opportunity to walk the Isle of Skye Spectacular! The Isle of Skye Spectacular begins from Armadale, on the South end of the island. Which is home to Skye’s best visitor attractions the Clan Donald Centre and also Armadale Castle Gardens! The perfect way to spend a bit of time on the island before your walk. The Isle of Skye Spectacular route will take you all over the Isle of Skye. Ending up in the main town of Portree.
Isle of Skye
A fabulous location to round off your trip to the Highlands, Portree is a cultural centre! Incredibly popular with tourists, the scenery of the harbour town, as well as being an arts and crafts hub. If you want to explore the Isle of Skye a little bit more, Portree is the perfect place to base yourself from. As a result of there being an abundance of campsites, hostels, B&Bs etc. You will be able explore the island in your own way, given all the facilities.
There is no doubt Skye is one of the most popular Scottish islands. The vibrancy of the island is truly captivating, the views particularly best in the early summer months. Also, one of the main attractions in the town of Portree is the Aros Centre. A community cultural centre which offers a range of things from cinema and comedy to dance!
If you would like any more information about the route or what it is like to walk the Isle of Skye Spectacular, contact us.