The Glenfinnan Viaduct

The Glenfinnan Viaduct - Matthews Presets

The Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the most iconic landmarks in the West Highlands of Scotland. Standing 100ft high and spanning across 21-arches. It is depicted on the Scottish £10 note, and was made famous in the Harry Potter films. Most noticeably in the second film, Chamber of the Secrets, where Harry and Ron are seen chasing the Hogwarts Express in their flying blue car.


Glenfinnan Viaduct Harry Potter Car Scene

(Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Warner Bros.)


This was one of the locations I was most excited about on our trip to Scotland. Although the actual Hogwarts Express doesn’t make regular trips over the viaduct, you will however find its identical sister, the Jacobite steam train there instead. The Jacobite is described as the greatest railway journey in the world. An 84 mile round trip that takes you through a list of stunning locations in the West Highlands of Scotland. The highlight of the journey though, is passing over the viaduct at Glenfinnan.



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The train only passes over the viaduct a couple of times a day between May and October. You can probably imagine then what the anticipation felt like for getting the perfect shot!


We got to the car park early (which is only £5 for all day parking if you’re thinking about going) and headed straight up to the view point. After 30 minutes of waiting, we experienced one of those Instagram vs. Reality moments with almost 100+ people congregated on the grass verges around the main view point.


I was constantly trying to fine tune my camera settings because the weather was back and forth between sunny moments, then dark clouds, all in the short time we were up there. Such is the wild weather of Scotland.


Glenfinnan Viaduct Plaque

The plaque on one of the arches.


After an intense 45 minutes of waiting, we heard the first signs of the train incoming. At first it was a few faint chugs of the engine echoing through the valley, followed by signs of steam above some of the lower peaks of the hills in the distance.


As it finally emerged from behind the mountains, there was a brief moment of silence as everyone stood in awe. This was soon broken by the sound of camera shutters as the driver slowed down train and released more steam through the chimney right as it passed over the viaduct. It was an incredible experience.

Glenfinnan Viaduct Landscape Photo

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Elated after seeing the famous Jacobite steam train, we had a quick walk around the trails at the bottom of the viaduct, which is where you can really start to appreciate its scale when standing under the enormous arches. We also explored more of Glenfinnan and the Jacobite monument. The monument was erected in 1815 by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale as a tribute to the loyal Jacobites who rallied behind Bonnie Prince Charlie in his attempt to regain the British crown for the Stuarts in the 1745 uprising. 


Glenfinnan Viaduct Arches

Glenfinnan National Trust Sign

Glenfinnan Monument 


We finished up some work back at the van before making our way to Eilean Donan Castle. The last stop on the mainland before driving over to the Isle of Skye. Click here to read the next story: Isle Of Skye

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