Jacobite Steam Train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Dancing on Ben Nevis and Riding the Hogwarts Express

We packed so much into our short stint in Scotland; our week in the Highlands was filled with fine food, beautiful but rainy walks in the countryside, a visit to Loch Ness and plenty of sightseeing. Some of my favourite days were spent exploring the Fort William area, riding the Hogwarts Express steam train and taking the gondola half way up Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, for an evening of dancing.

Scottish Highland Views

Fort William Sights

Compared to the tiny villages in the Highlands, Fort William is a bustling metropolis with a train station, high street, supermarket and plenty of pubs and restaurants. We shopped there for fleeces and umbrellas to cope with the weather, fuelled up on tasty meals and took refuge from the rain in the small Highland Museum which showcased some of Fort William’s history.

Us in Fort William, Scotland

Afterwards we headed just outside of the town to find Inverlochy Castle, which was pretty small and ruinous but I love a castle and this one was definitely picturesque enough to warrant a visit; it was also free. Just down the road we discovered Neptune’s Staircase, a set of eight canal locks; we stopped to watch a boat navigate through them while we took in the surrounding mountain scenery.

Neptune's Staircase, Fort William, Scotland

Inverlochy Castle, Fort William, Scotland

Since my Dad is a lover of whisky and ale, a tour of the Ben Nevis Distillery was a must. During the tour we did learn about the brewing process but all that really sticks in my mind is the yeasty smell coming from some steaming cauldrons, the warming free taster shot and the fact that the Government charge an 87 percent tax on whisky!

Tour of Ben Nevis Distillery, Scotland

Ben Nevis Gondola and Ceilidh

We couldn’t leave the Highlands without visiting the famous Ben Nevis, so on a Friday evening we took a gondola ride half-way up the mountain to take in the views and experience a Scottish Ceilidh – an evening of music and dancing. I was surprised by how much fun we had learning dance steps and embarrassing ourselves in front of strangers; the spectacular sunset views out the window of the never-ending mountain peaks and shimmering lochs formed an incredible backdrop to a memorable evening.

Sunset View on Ben Nevis, Scotland

Dancing at a Scottish Ceilidh

Ben Nevis View in Scotland

A Journey on the Hogwarts Express

If you’re a Harry Potter fan you’ll probably know that not only were most of the books written in Scotland but many of the film locations can also be found throughout the Highlands. One of the things I was most excited about for our trip to Scotland was getting to ride a Hogwarts-Express-style Jacobite Steam Train through the mystical landscapes captured in the Harry Potter films.

Jacobite Steam Train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Scottish Highland Scenery

The popularity of Harry Potter means a trip on the original Jacobite train on the West Highland Railway costs a whopping £34 per person. We saved money by taking a local train instead for just £14 which went the exact same route to the tiny harbour-town of Mallaig. The wind was bitterly cold and the rain icy and constant when we disembarked, shivering our way around long enough to take pictures on the pier and spot some seals before taking shelter in a pub.

Malliag Harbour, Scotland

Seal in Malliag Harbour, Scotland

A couple of days later when the weather had cleared up somewhat we took a trip to the Glenfinnan Viaduct to join the crowds taking pictures of the steam train making its way across the viaduct, echoing a famous shot from one of the Harry Potter films. To get the best vantage point we took a walk through the hills, stopping for a picnic and some jumping spots along the way. We also found time to have tea and cake in an old dining car at Glenfinnan station before getting into the Harry Potter spirit by posing for some hilarious broom shots!

Broom Jumping Shot

Jumping Shot in the Scottish Highlands

Andrew's Broom Shot in Scotland

Us Jumping in Scotland

Dancing on Ben Nevis and riding the hogwarts express

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  • Patti
    Posted at 19:56h, 31 August Reply

    I want to take the Hogwarts Express train!! And I love, love, love, the broom and jump shots! So much fun!

    • Amy
      Posted at 11:15h, 01 September Reply

      Andrew was literally crying with laughter at the broom shots Patti, we had so much fun with those!

  • Emily
    Posted at 17:52h, 01 September Reply

    We’ve only been to Scotland once, and it was for maybe 8 days a decade ago. I would love to go back and revisit some of the things we did (Loch Ness, Isle of Skye…) but have more time to do all of the fun things you did too. I can’t decide what we’d enjoy more: the distillery tour or riding the Hogwarts Express!

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:05h, 02 September Reply

      We wanted to go to the Isle of Skye too Emily but we didn’t have time, there’s so much to do in Scotland – we definitely need to go back for more!

  • Victoria@ The British Berliner
    Posted at 07:11h, 03 September Reply

    I love Scotland although I haven’t been to Ben Nevis. My fave place is the Isle of Skye. Brilliant place. I love the broomsticks jump. Very Harry Potter!

    • Amy
      Posted at 08:13h, 03 September Reply

      Thanks, we had fun with the broomstick shots! We wanted to go to the Isle of Skye Victoria but didn’t have time – hopefully we’ll make it there when we’re next in Scotland.

  • Catherine
    Posted at 20:59h, 03 September Reply

    Sounds like you hd a great week! Love the last few shots of you posing with broomsticks and jumping into the air 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:47h, 04 September Reply

      It was great Catherine, I loved Scotland!

  • Kendra (the Escapologist)
    Posted at 03:24h, 04 September Reply

    So jealous! It is a HP nerds dream to take that ride. (Although, I’d probably be pretty upset when I got of the train and I was not at Hogwarts.) Love the broom shots!

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:48h, 04 September Reply

      I know what you mean Kendra; I’m a HP nerd too 🙂

  • Franca
    Posted at 09:00h, 22 September Reply

    I would love to travel on the Hogwarts Express and not just because of the Harry Potter’s story, but because the landscapes and views you could catch are impressive!

    • Amy
      Posted at 15:56h, 22 September Reply

      The landscape and scenery was amazing; Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries we’ve been to. It was pretty cool to see the Hogwarts Express too 🙂

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 00:13h, 01 July Reply

    Lovely photos , Scotland is so beautiful and they have some lovelly islands with white sand beaches.I watched a documentary called Wild Scotland and saw these island on this progam.Alot of English people visit European countries like Spain ,Italy France and Greece ,mainly for the sun,but don’t visit Scotland ,which is so sad.I always believe that you should travel your own country,even if you have been and fallen in love with another country.So i think that the British people should travel the UK because it has its beauty and every country has its own beauty.Whether it is dramatic beauty or simple and don’t compare say the Uk to another country you have fallen in love with ,So long as a place is kept pristine with out environmental damage,it is all beautiful.Good on you Amy and Andrew for travelling the Uk.I used to never travel Australia,but have travelled overseas.i ‘ve been to my parents country Cyprus and was not welcomed by alot of my relatives .That is when i realised that I should travel my own country.So when I returned to Australia i started visiting our National parks in Queensland ,Nsw ,Victoria and South Australia.Iam a widerness addict and been to many widerness areas .i always like to take the less roads travelled ,away from the major highways that tend to run through agricultural areas.Have you and Andrew been to the The Lake Dstrict region in northern England ?It has the only mountain range and last remaining wilderness areas in England .Ithink the highest mountain in the Lake district is 986m above sea level.i first saw this beautiful region on Grand Design.i was born in England and like to return in the future and would like to visit the Lake District which is a National Park and Scotland of course.Best of luck,love louisa

    • Louisa Klimentos
      Posted at 00:18h, 01 July Reply

      Correct me if iam wtong about the height of the mountain in the lake district region.

      • Amy
        Posted at 10:35h, 01 July Reply

        I think that’s right 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 10:34h, 01 July Reply

      I totally agree that people should also travel in their own country, there’s so much to explore wherever you are in the world. I hope you get to travel in the UK again x

      • Louisa Klimentos
        Posted at 14:35h, 01 July Reply

        I haven’t been back to the Uk since 1992 and that is because my relatives not so much in the UK,but in Cyprus didn’t treat me very well.i will go back one day and i know i will have a great time.I hope you have been to the Lake District.I met a lovely English lady ,currently in Australia who is from that region and said that it was beautiful.Say hello to Andrew for me .You are both truly wonderful

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