During our little Scottish getaway to Arisaig, we managed to squeeze in a fair bit of little trips considering we only had two full days there.
On our first day we finally visited Glenfinnan viaduct (I say finally, because I’ve traveled over it in March 2015 but we didn’t stop to admire it for longer).
If you are wondering what is so special about this viaduct – well, it is where Hogwarts express scene was filmed. Pretty magical if you ask me! During warmer months, there is a steam train operating, which is definitely on my bucket list. Also Loch Shiel has been used numerous times throughout the films as the backdrop for Hogwarts.
As expected this place became increasingly popular in the last decade. We were there in early November (arguably not the best time to visit Scottish highlands) but there were a few coaches parked up and we even had to wait for our turn to take photos. There is a handy viewing platform bit just a few minutes walk from the car park – you do have to walk up the hill and I would imagine during wet weather it could be slightly challenging, so I would advice appropriate footwear. There are also a few hiking tracks that you can take, sadly we were limited on time so couldn’t spent a few hours wandering around looking for the best shots – maybe next time.
Nevertheless, it is a great place to stop and admire the scenery, especially because there is a very handy car park just off the main road.
Next stop was the Glenfinnan Monument, which is a striking tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings. You can actually climb the monument, which costs £3.50 or free if you are a member of National Trust for Scotland. There is a narrow spiral staircase that leads all way to the top, it is very snug up there, so maybe not the best place if you are not comfortable with confined spaces. However the views from the top are pretty spectacular, definitely worth the climb.
Visitors Centre & Cafe
Not going to lie, we haven’t actually went to the visitors center, apart from going to the cafe, which was amazing! Cakes were fantastic. But there is an exhibition which explains more about the monument and historical importance of the place.
On the way back to the car park, we noticed a little wooden walkway snaking into the marshes, which turned out to be a bit of a scenic route called Dragonfly trail. The whole walk takes around 40 min to complete and again is very enjoyable. We saw a few of remaining Scots pines too, which became almost extinct everywhere else in UK due to being used for building ships.
Overall Glenfinnan is a fantastic stop while traveling around Scottish highlands, also I would strongly recommend getting a train from Fort William to Mallaig if you ever get a chance, the views are insane!
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