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Harry Potter Train, Scotland

The Story Behind The Photo: The Hogwarts Express

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Towards the top of the British Isles is an idyllic country, where haggis is famous; men in kilts make alien noises with a bagpipe and said men in kilts toss tall poles as far as they can in the spirit of the Highland Games. This is Scotland (or na h-Alba for those of you who want to learn a bit of Scottish Gaelic).

According to legend, there is a magical place in the mountainous terrain where students attend a wizarding school. This school has quite an odd name; something along the lines of “Pigswarts” or “Hoggywart”. Surprisingly, these magical beings do not arrive at school riding dragons or flying on the back of winged horses – they probably need to remain inconspicuous. Instead, they trundle off to wizard’s school via an old-fashioned steam train. Apparently this train wends its way across the UK countryside from London to somewhere far and remote (said to be in Scotland).

And this same legend would have us believe that we can spot this train if we stand in the right place. Could this be true?

Fleeing as fast as we could (in a small car) across the Scottish countryside to find Glenfinnan Viaduct and stumbling up a slope to stand on some rocks; we waited with anticipation for this legendary train to come past. 10 minutes had sped on by and there was no train. 20 minutes had flown by and we were starting to lose hope that the train would even come. 30 minutes ticked past, and as we hung our heads in disappointment, we heard “chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga”  in the distance. All of the other train hunters around us started frantically clicking their posh cameras built to zoom far into the distance, whilst we waited to finally catch a glimpse of the train!

There it is!

Harry Potter Train, Scotland

In all its scarlet red glory, spurting reams of smoke from its front; the train was making its way closer and closer to us across the emerald hills. One short iPhone video later and we had captured this legendary train on film. This is where the photo behind this story comes from.

But our story doesn’t end there…

Once the train had chugged by and out of sight, most of the other train hunters slipped and slid back to their cars, whilst rain clouds chose to shower us. Forever being quirky and passionate travellers, my train-hunting partner and I chose to lay out on the cold, wet rocks and eat creamy, jammy scones – oh, how very British of us!

This article was originally submitted as a short creative writing piece for a competition. Sadly no win this time, but I still wanted to share this cute story with you all anyway!

If you’re after your own Harry Potter train experience in Scotland, then read on for how to see the Harry Potter train for free. You may also want to embark on a road trip and explore Scotland by car! Any questions? Let me know…

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