The Jacobite Express
Due to the huge popularity of the Jacobite Express crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct (think Harry Potter films!), Jim was keen to add more images of this iconic train to our Living Pictures library. He decided to go for a more panoramic view of the train, one that would take in the nearby Loch Shiel and the Bonnie Prince Charlie Monument in the background. What a great idea, we thought.
Photographing the Jacobite Express
Jim monitored the long-range weather forecast and we agreed to drive up to Inverness-shire on Friday 18th Sept.
The Journey to Glenfinnan
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Inverness-shire, Scotland. Our journey, which took 13hrs almost non-stop, was certainly not uneventful!
All went well until we crossed the border into Scotland… Firstly we missed our ferry (we didn’t know we had to catch one!) so we had to navigate the meandering roads of the highlands for mile after mile - adding 2.5 hours to our journey. Eventually we arrived at Fort William… Success!
However, our jubilation was short lived as the road out of Fort William was closed, and to make matters worse, the road re-directions were so abysmal we ended up back where we started - several times!
Where is Glenfinnan viaduct?
Glenfinnan is situated at the head of Loch Shiel which stretches south west for 20 miles to Acharacle.
In due course, having negotiated our way around some very nonchalant looking Scottish sheep and avoiding as many potholes as we could, we arrived in the wee small hours at (what we thought was) our destination, but there was no sign of life. Suddenly, dogs started barking, dazzling security lights blazed, and a bedroom light flickered on. Oops! We were at the wrong house and had inadvertently woken some poor old lady from her slumbers! She was very understanding, bless her, and soon put us right (Highland hospitality, I guess.) We finally arrived at the correct destination around 03:15. Thankfully the owner had waited up patiently for us as we had been in constant phone contact (reception permitting) to update him on our ETA.
After an all-too-short sleep, we were up by 06:30 to drive another 2hrs to Glenfinnan. The weather was beautiful, as was the drive to the loch with clear blue skies and nary a cloud in sight; perfect conditions for our photography mission! However, it was too good to last, and as we got to within 2 miles of our destination, it descended… the famous Scotch Mist we could liken only to a Hitchcock movie!
Getting the Perfect Shot of Jacobite Express
We duly parked, unpacked and set up after a 45-minute trek to the correct spot. Jim waited for the Jacobite Express to make its scheduled 10:00am crossing. We prayed the engine would be late in the forlorn hope that it would allow the thick blanket of mist to lift, but no, the driver clearly did not fancy a lie in that morning so she was right on time. Ten minutes after she passed us by, frustratingly, the mists cleared: it was indeed the most breath-taking site, but sadly, sans train.
Jim took many pictures that day with his new 60,000,000-pixel Sony camera (first time out of the box): we got amazing shots of the world-famous Glenfinnan viaduct, Loch Shiel, Bonnie Prince Charlie Monument and even a Red Admiral butterfly – but sadly, no Jacobite Express.
After several hours we packed up, trekked down, loaded up the car and retraced our route back to the guesthouse. We were very concerned because the train service stops over the winter and our second day at Glenfinnan would be our last opportunity of the year to picture her. We had everything crossed for the next day, our only hope.
So, next morning, we were up again at 06:30 and drove the 2hrs to the location followed by another 45-minute trek to our spot. We were on station (no pun intended) poised and ready by 09:45.
3D Picture of Glenfinnan Viaduct and The Jacobite Express
The 3D picture you now see in our gallery was taken by Jim on Sunday 20th Sept 2020 @ 10:02am. We think it was worth the wait... how about you?
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