This time we were heading for the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is probably best known for its appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Unfortunately this particular day was absolutely foul and we could barely make it and its surroundings out from the mist and rain. We headed instead up the hill to Glenfinnan station where, in a matter of minutes, the 'Jacobite' steam locomotive would be pulling in. It's in a limited service over the summer but draws in loads of tourists. We wouldn't have got a good view of the viaduct due to the weather so we unfortunately missed its iconic journey across but probably got a much better experience at the station.
The viaduct and railway has a really interesting history and I still laugh that its designer was nicknamed 'Concrete Bob' which is just so wonderfully un-Victorian.
The rain was absolutely pelting it down and when we arrived we were the only people on the platform, but all that changed a couple of minutes before it was due to arrive when there was a sudden influx of people, most of whom got their cameras out as soon as we did and in some cases actually stood in front of me to get a photo when they could see I was there! D:
Until you've seen a steam train in person you can't really appreciate the atmosphere of it all - the sound and smell is so evocative and you can really see why trainspotting is such a big hobby.
Old vs new!
While I'm not into trains like my dad and my uncle, I can definitely appreciate a fine engine and the Jacobite was definitely one of them.
The station is obviously all kitted out for the modern trains on regular service but has such a wonderfully traditional aesthetic as well as an on-site museum and gift shop.
It also had a frankly terrifying looking snow plough attachment for the front of a train...
They'd also converted one of the old carriages to a tea-room which was really nice.
The best view over the viaduct is up a big hill and as it was so wet we decided against it, so sadly this is the best shot I could manage from ground level. It doesn't look nearly as dramatic!
Still, at least it was a better sight than the other reason for our visit...
The Glenfinnan Monument, which celebrates the start of Bonny Prince Charlie's Jacobite rebellion, sits at the head of the equally stunning Loch Shiel just down from the station, and usually looks like this on a nice day.
Unfortunately for us, we didn't have that photographer's luck with the weather.
Mist can be wonderful to work with in front of the lens, but in this instance it was a real nuisance and the constant rain really didn't help.
I think my parents poses pretty much summed it up really.
Instagram filters made it look a lot nicer though. XD
Even without the mist and rain, the monument itself was a bit of a letdown. I was expecting it to be significantly taller for one thing.
You used to be able to go inside and look out from the top but it was closed, I think for restoration or something. Still, the door was pretty impressive.
The gate was really pretty too.
With the weather being so awful we spent the rest of the day just driving around and hoping the sun would come out. It didn't, really, but we lived in hope.
It was still horrible when we stopped here, but the view over Loch Eilt was definitely worth stopping for even if it was a bit blustery.
Not entirely sure why my dad decided to do that but oh well. XD
All that rain made for some pretty impressive waterfalls!
Whilst photographing the charming little chapel on the other side of the road I spotted this bird of prey getting mobbed by crows. It was too far away to identify, though I'm pretty sure it was just a buzzard.
The only photo I took of it was accidental as it swooped by whilst I was focusing on the other side of the loch!
We pulled in at the side of the road a little further on to photograph the cliff face because of course we did. My poor mum probably regrets going on holiday with my dad and I as we do this kind of thing all the time.
To be fair, they were quite impressive rock faces.
We had a moment of hilarity en route when dad suddenly yelled out 'ELEPHANT!' as we drove down the road. Fearing he'd finally lost the last of his marbles we gingerly questioned why, and he told us he'd show us when we pulled in a bit further along. We parked and wandered back along the road until...
Well, he wasn't wrong!
We went just down from that sign to the Glenuig Inn for our tea and very nice it was too. I had some absolutely delicious haggis-stuffed chicken fillets with whisky and mustard sauce on a bed of neeps and honey-roasted carrot. Om nom nom!
I really loved the rocks outside the Inn.
With the night drawing in we headed for home and hoped the next day would be a little more palatable.
In the meantime, I got started on a bit of watercolouring...
Next post features dramatic waterfalls, stunning views and not quite as much rain, yay!