It seems like everywhere you turn in Scotland, there has been a movie set! This morning we jogged north towards Glenfinnan. It was at Glenfinnan where Bonny Prince Charlie first took up arms in the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. There is a monument to those who supported him along Loch Shiel.
The larger draw to this area is an enormous train trestle that was featured in the Harry Potter movies. We parked the car and it seems within moments a local man was giving us pointers on the best place to see the Jacobite train (a.k.a Harry Potter train) as it passes by. He pointed to a wee white dot high up the hillside. I think I may have even remarked under my breath, “Well that isn’t going to happen!”
Initially our plan was to just marvel at this beautiful structure but then our feet continued to move up the path to the overlook. Sally finally had her walking sticks available to provide assistance up the rugged trail. There was a major viewing area at one level but, “Oh look! The trail goes even higher!” To get to the next area; however, one had to step across rocks crossing the flow of a small waterfall. I knew 100% that my sister could manage this and she did. There was a small gathering of folks at the upper most level. Sally made friends instantly by asking if anyone had any cookies. A lovely man from France answered that he HAD had some cookies but that he ate them! Moments later he offered her chocolate. (She declined.) His female traveling companion start singing the theme to Harry Potty and before you knew it – we were settled in waiting for the train.
At approximately 10:50 a.m. We could hear the faint rumble of the train as it approached. It was really exciting! Soon the billowing puffs of steam could be seen above the trees as the train rounded the curve and began to snake along the viaduct. The conductor was kind enough to blow the whistle for those of us watching from the hillside as the train continued on to Hogwarts (or wherever it really was going). After soaking it all in for a few moments, we began the descent back to the carpark. After crossing the stepping rocks again, we crested a small rise. We were quite surprised to see how many people had gathered on the first viewing area since we’d passed by. Let’s just say … tourbus loads.
We backtracked to Corpach and headed off to Glencoe. Glencoe is an area of great natural beauty and towering majestic peaks. It is also the site of the massacre of Glencoe. In 1692, the MacDonald Clan offered their hospitality to 130 soldiers under the command of Robert Campbell. After enjoying that hospitality for ten days, the soldiers massacred 38 members of the MacDonald Clan.
I will confess that I was concerned that our time viewing the train would significantly cut in to the time we would have in Glencoe. In reality, the clouds were so low once we got to Glencoe, viewing was significantly impaired. Bill’s biker friends in Aberfeldy had clued him in to a little pub in the area. Once we located the Clachaig Inn we decided to have a little lunch. It was a great spot with dormitories for the employees – I suppose due to the remote location. I savored every bite of my leek and mushroom soup and of course, we topped off our meal with sticky toffee pudding. This has become a bit of a tradition for us. Sally had explained that desserts are called “puddings” in Scotland.
Our plan was to drive along Loch Lomond – taking either the high road or the low road – however, somehow our GPS had a mind of it’s own. We squeaked in a visit to Doune Castle and set course for Edinburgh.
Finding our location in Edinburgh proved to be challenging. There was road construction blocking the route directed by our lovely English accented GPS lady. We had to wind around a bit. Then there were two roads, slightly different angles (up) and I selected the wrong “up”. Eventually we found our way to the backside of Old Tolbooth Wynd and our flat on the third floor. In Europe, the first floor is what we refer to as the second floor. So thankful that the lift is functioning properly!
After settling in we headed off on foot in the dark to find some dinner and/or amusement. It was enchanting to be wandering around the misty city at night. There weren’t many people out and about. We popped into the Royal Mile Pub and enjoyed some delightful conversation with lads from England who were obstacle course racers (on foot) and had completed a race in the area. Sally had what she swears was a delicious vegetarian haggis with tatties and neeps. I finally had some fish and chips and Bill enjoyed a spicy burger…finished off with …sticky toffee pudding!
The Royal Mile is a street that runs from the Palace of Holyroodhouse up to the Edinburgh Castle atop a high hill. The Palace is the residence of Queen Elizabeth when she visits the city. The city itself is full of up and down streets and passageways called a “close”. It is all very fascinating. We took a stroll upwards to walk off our meal before returning to the flat for the night.