Missing the Hogwarts Express

After a very wet and testing night at Loch Lomond, our next stop we were aiming for was around the Fort William area. Instead of driving straight up, which we did on a previous trip, we decided to head west and take a longer scenic route.

Scottish Highlands

We ended up at a campsite between Glenfinnan and Fort William on the lovely Loch Eil. We settled in and let the tent dry out in the sunshine (!!) while we were here we knew that we couldn’t let the opportunity to see the Jacobite Train (aka the Hogwarts Express) pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct escape us.

Loch Eil Camping

For any non Harry Potter fans out there (does such a person even exist?) the Glenfinnan Viaduct is used in the movies as part of the route that the Hogwarts Express takes to and from Hogwarts. It’s pretty magical and spectacular. The Jacobite steam train runs railway journeys from Fort William to Mallaig (side note: we took this journey about a week after this Viaduct adventure).

Glenfinnan Viaduct

We followed our Google Maps to the Viaduct and came to a small car park. As we got out of our car another couple approached us and asked if we knew what time the train would pass. I told them our rough estimate and we made our way towards the Viaduct. It isn’t a long or strenuous walk and takes maybe 10 minutes to the base. We of course wanted a higher view, so we climbed up a hill and positioned ourselves for the train.


We waited and waited and then we heard a train. “IT’S COMING” I yelled to Tim. He was ready with his camera, but much to our disappointment it was not the Jacobite steam train, but a normal boring ole ScotsRail. Such an anti climax.

By this stage the couple that we had met in the car park were also waiting on the hill with us. An hour passed and I said “It must be coming, it’s a SATURDAY!” (It never occurred to me to check the website before we left).


Fast forward to me on the hill checking the website on my phone.

“Ahhh SHIT!”

The Jacobite train does not run on Saturdays until JULY. Tim and I cracked up laughing. Here we were perched on the hill, tripod out, staring at the Viaduct, waiting for a train that wasn’t coming. We packed up and walked down the hill, told the couple on the way down that we were very sorry but the train was not coming.

“You told us there would be train!”, the man said to us in broken English.

“Not on Saturdays. We checked the website”, I tried to mime out using my iPhone as a prop.

We walked back to the car, a little disappointed that we hadn’t got the famous shot from our beloved Harry Potter movies. The views though… They were worth it.

Glennfinnan Viaduct Hogwarts

Tim’s weigh in

I asked Sam if the train ran, she said yes so I believed her, I trusted her so much that I let more time than I should have run before asking her if she had actually checked. It turned out she hadn’t, but it really didn’t matter cause I had so much fun anyway! We even managed to leave just before the rain came!

3 thoughts on “Missing the Hogwarts Express

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