Saturday, 29 August 2015

Day11 - Boat of Garten to Fort William

 Date: Tuesday 25th August 2015
Route: Boat of Garten to Fort William (via Aviemore, Loch Laggan and Glenfinnan)
Our Listening Pleasure:  
Miles today: 101
Total Mileage: 1,575

Today we were driving mostly through forest!!

Aviemore Station
Flowerbox at Aviemore Station
 Heading off after a hearty breakfast at The Boat, we stopped in nearby Aviemore and strolled along the main street. 

Most of the shops are mountaineering and skiing related and you can just imagine how pretty this town is when the snowfall arrives. 

The railway station is another one which is maintained with a 1950’s look.
Aviemore Station

Loch Laggan
As we headed across towards Fort William, we passed a lovely looking beach area and pulled over to take a closer look. We were at Loch Laggan. 

The climb down was very steep and getting back up could only be done on hands and feet! Very sophisticated for Minty!

 The Loch area itself looked so tranquil, with a large beached area (we think it is a private estate) to our left and cobbles/stoned beach where we had entered. 

The Beeb on the shores of Loch Laggan

Minty figures out how to get back up!!!

Ah, that's how!!!
Further up was a dam which looked quite impressive.

The Dam at Loch Laggan

As we drove around the forest lined roads, we saw our first sight of snow! There is was, at the top of the mountain range in the distance.

We drove through the shadow of Ben Nevis as we motored along the border of Fort William, heading for the Harry Potter film location of Glenfinnan. In fact, wherever you go in this area, you are in the shadow of The Ben!

Ben Nevis, shrouded in cloud

Ben Nevis

Arriving at Glenfinnan we found out that health and safety prevented anyone from going up to the top of the Glenfinnan monument (there was no guide there today), but we could walk around. 

This is the location where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed when he came to Scotland to drive up the Jacobite rebellion, and the monument is a tribute to him. His statue is prominent at the top. The bay is pretty striking…… the water was really clear and still.

Where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed
Minty with Bonnie Prince Charlie's monument in the background

Turning around, the first thing you see in the distance is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a landmark that will be instantly recognizable to any Harry Potter enthusiasts……this is the viaduct that the Hogwarts Express choo choo’s over in the Harry Potter films, and just beyond, the Quidditch scenes were filmed. 

Glenfinnan Viaduct
The Jacobite Express steam trains go over this viaduct twice a day, and the next one was due in about an hour, so we climbed up to the viewing point, found a good spot and waited!

View from the Hogwarts Express viewing point

The Beeb settled in - waiting for the Hogwarts Express

The Hogwarts Express
We heard the whistle and then saw the plume of white smoke being propelled from the top of the engine as the express train came across the viaduct, into view. 

Even without this being the Hogwarts Express, it is quite exciting to see this old train powering across the viaduct. 
The Hogwarts Express
Many of the viewers started to make their way down from the viewing point but we stayed around and our patience was rewarded with a second train, steaming across in the other direction about five minutes later. 

The second train

The driver of this train was milking it all, and he slowed right down to a crawl and peeped his whistle a few times as he crossed the viaduct.

The second train
Minty with the Viaduct in the background

The Beeb with The Glenfinnan Monument in the background

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the shimmering bay

Fort William is built in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK,  known as The Ben to the locals. You know which one of the many mountains is The Ben – it is like the Big Daddy Bear towering over everything!

Tonight we stayed at Hotel Cruachan in Fort William. It is an old hotel, with rabbit warren corridors and wi-fi that can be connected to only in the area immediately in front of reception!!! But it was a bed for the night.
Our Hotel for the night - Cruachan Hotel

Fort William Main Street
We wandered into the main shopping area of Fort William and found a pub, The Volunteer Arms that was showing the Celtic Vs Malmo European match and we spent the rest of the evening in there enjoying a few San Miguel’s, but not enjoying the result of the football!

Clan Chief monument in Fort William

The pub where we watched the football

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