Scotland on film

Eilean Donan Castle

Following our recent cinematic tour of Cornwall we’re going to head north and look at the Scottish landscape’s contributions to cinema and screen tourism. Aside from the obvious – Braveheart and Rob Roy for example – Scotland has also stood in for some other, more unlikely locations. For example, did you know that in one classic piece of cinema its lochs stood in for Turkey? We’ll let you know the film below.

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The majestic Eilean Donan Castle is located on the banks of Loch Duich, so it comes as no surprise to find out it’s been featured in a number of high profile films. The Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert starring ‘Highlander’, is perhaps the most notable, using the castle as a backdrop to the village of Glenfinnan. More recently the location appeared as the world’s best office in James Bond adventure: ‘The World is Not Enough’.

Harry Potter has made an equally large imprint on British cinema. The saga’s producers obviously scoured the land looking for incredible locations that weave their own particular blend of magic. It’s testament to the beauty of the surrounding area that they found plenty to work with in Scotland. For example, the peaks of Glen Nevis acted as the mountainous backdrop for the Quidditch match in the first film. The Fort William to Mallaig Railway also featured and the Glenfinnan viaduct section will be immediately recognisable to fans. Finally, Glen Coe rounds off the magical locations, making a striking debut in the third film.

Glen Coe and Glen Nevis also made memorable appearance in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. Though mostly filmed in Ireland, the incredible natural wilds of Scotland were obviously too unique to be created anywhere else. And while critics have long argued the film’s historical accuracy, the beauty of its filming locations seems above debate. We’d recommend a visit to both locations, though we’d maybe wait until the weather is a bit milder (kilts optional!).

Though it’s a genuine cult classic, we imagine The Wicker Man is a less welcome portrayal of Scotland – at least as far as the Scottish tourist board is concerned. But tegardless of the welcome offered by the residents on ‘Summerisle’, the film’s real life locations are undeniably lovely. The fishing town of Kirkcudbright doubled for the isle in many scenes and makes for a great place to visit. Known as the ‘Artists’ Town’, Kirkcudbright also offers a great collection of heritage, architecture and things to see and do.

In case you were wondering the film that used Scotland as Turkey was classic James Bond adventure: ‘From Russia with Love’. The memorable speedboat chase was filmed on Loch Craignish in Argyll. And even though the Scottish weather bears little resemblance to its cinematic counterpart, we’re sure the gorgeous views will more than make up for it.


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