Friday, 22 April 2016

S is for Scottish Lakes

The A to Z of Harry Potter Film Locations takes us up into the highlands of Scotland to visit its many lakes, or "lochs" as the Scots call them.  There were 5 different lochs used over the course of the 8 films, so get ready for a long and photo-heavy post!

Loch Shiel
Loch Shiel is a 28km lake, extending from Glenfinnan in the Scottish highlands to Loch Moidart, a sea loch.  On the banks of Loch Shiel stands the Glenfinnan monument, marking the place where Charles Edward started the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Loch Shiel has already been mentioned a couple of times in this A-Z tour, its size and location making it a popular one for the film crew.  I've already mentioned that the loch is seen behind the Quidditch stadium, and as the Hogwarts Express crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Loch Shiel has been used as Hogwarts' Black Lake in three of the Potter films.  In The Chamber of Secrets, Loch Shiel can be seen in the background aerial shots of the castle, and in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry flies Buckbeak over the loch.  In The Goblet of Fire, the loch was the setting for the second Triwizard task, Victor Krum's training ground, and in aerial shots of the Durmstrang ship. 
To be honest, a lot of the lochs look the same, and it can be a little difficult to work out which loch was used in which scene.  However once you are there, just occasionally, you get a real sense of "yes, this was the spot where..." Loch Shiel and Vicktor Krum's training ground was one of those moments, because you stand on the exact spot where he walked up and down. 

Loch Etive
Loch Etive was one of my favourite lochs in Scotland - because it is so peaceful, quiet and out of the way... the northern end anyway, which is the section I want to talk about.  The northern banks of Loch Etive are located 14 miles south of the main road through Glen Coe - a small twisting road that leads nowhere else.  It runs for 30km south towards Oban, and is reported to be home to a colony of 20 seals.
Loch Etive can be spotten in background aerial shots of Hogwarts in The Order of the Phoenix.  It was also used in The Deathly Hallows as the lake the trio camp near before Ron leaves in a huff.

Loch Eilt
Loch Eilt is located between Glenfinnan and Lochailort in the West Highlands of Scotland. 
Because of its position next to the train line, Loch Eilt has appeared in several Harry Potter films, both during aerial footage of the Hogwarts Express and through the carriage windows.  
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hagrid stands on the banks of the loch, skimming stones as he informs Harry, Ron and Hermione of Buckbeak's execution.  The loch's other claim to fame is that Eilean na Moine, one of the loch's small islands, was the place where Dumbledore was buried.  However Loch Eilt wasn't used in these scenes; instead the Eilean na Moine was superimposed onto footage of Loch Arkaig.  Speaking of which...

Loch Arkaig
Loch Arkaig is located north of Fort William and west of the Great Glen.  It is 12 miles long and reaches a depth of 300 feet.  
Loch Arkaig was used in The Deathly Hallows as the location of Dumbledore's grave.  Stephen Elson, the managing director of special effects firm Baseblack, said in an interview "We used technology to plop the island in Loch Eilt seamlessly into the middle of Loch Arkaig."  Apparently helicopter footage of the loch was use in The Half-Blood Prince, with the loch at sunset situated behind the astronomy tower.  To be honest, it looks like most other lochs in this scene, so who knows.

Torren Lochan
Situated in Clachaig Gully, the small lake of Torren Lochan is difficult to spot on a map, and it took me several drive-by's to find it.  It's located in the area of Signal Rock, and there's very little information (if any) about it on line.  There are some beautiful photographs though.  Check out this webpage for a good view of the lake as my photograph really doesn't do it justice - clearly I was on the wrong side of the lake.
Torren Lochan is seen in The Prisoner of Azkaban, at the bottom of the gully behind Hagrid's Hut.  It was also used as the lake where Harry fights the Dementors.  However, due to the midgies, close ups were filmed at Virgina Water (from yesterday's R post) in Surrey. 

At Fangirl Stitches I am cross stitching two alphabets for the A-Z Challenge - it's keeping me rather busy!  Stop by to see today's Pok√©mon and Supernatural characters - Sandshrew and Sam Winchester.

Happy travels,


1 comment:

  1. The loch that Harry and his friends land in after escaping Gringotts is so beautiful it almost doesn't look real!