Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Scotland




This evening, I am posting information on the hamlet of Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands.

Despite Glenfinnan's tiny size it attracts huge volumes of tourists for the following reasons:
  • Conveniently located on the road from Fort William to Mallaig from where ferries operate to the popular island of Skye. In fact, Glenfinnan is 17 miles west of Fort William and 26 miles S.E. of Mallaig.
  • Key attraction is the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct (aka 'Harry Potter Bridge' ) over which trundles, during the summer season, the Jacobite Express steam train which is unofficially known as the 'Harry Potter Train' . This train was used as the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter film.The vast majority of visitors are unaware that the viaduct represents thee world's first bridge made from concrete, in fact mass concrete (not reinforced). The viaduct was opened on April 1st 1901 and is still serviceable.
  • Landing place of Bonnie Prince Charlie who, on August 19th 1745, raised his standard with object of regaining the throne of Britain and Ireland for the Stuart dynasty. This uprising was finally defeated at Culloden Moor near Inverness the following year.
  • The Glenfinnan Monument, which stands at the head of Loch Shiel. This was erected in 1815 in tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The statue on top of the monument is that if a Highland soldier, not the famous Prince.
Jacobite Express traversing the Glenfinnan Viaduct


More information:
  • Glenfinnan translates as 'Fingon's Glen'. Fingon was an abbot on the holy island of Iona during the 14th century whilst Glen is Gaelic for valley. 
  • Jacob is Latin for James, in this case King James V11 of Scotland/II of England. Hence supporters of James are called Jacobites. James was exiled from the throne in 1688 due to his Roman Catholic religion following which himself, his son and his grandson all tried and failed in military adventures to regain the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland by force.
  • Visitors wishing to watch the Jacobite Express cross the viaduct should plan well in advance as parking is limited and visitor numbers have risen dramatically in recent years.
  • At Glenfinnan is a visitor centre run by the National Trust for Scotland and there are a small number of hotels sand lodgings in the vicinity.
Glenfinnan Viaduct

Loch Shiel

Glenfinnan Monument

© Nigel P Cole/Catswhiskerstours Limited

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