Film-makers have long been attracted to Glencoe: for classic mountain scenery that just screams “SCOTLAND!”; for atmospheric conditions; for towering peaks and deep lochs; for a beautiful backdrop…and maybe even to try and capture some of the magic that makes this area so special.
Follow in the footsteps of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars by touring these local filming locations during your visit to Glencoe!
Practice your Bond pose in Glen Etive
Moody Glen Etive was used as the location of the fictional Skyfall Lodge, James Bond’s Scottish ancestral home in Skyfall (2012). Though the house itself does not exist (it was built down in Surrey specifically for the film and was burnt down for the climax), Bond and M drive the twisty, narrow roads of Glen Etive, and even stop to take in the views in a spot that is now popular with tourists. The scenery here is spectacular and even outshines Bond’s Aston Martin.
If you do decide to visit here, please be sensitive to the environment and aware of your impact. Damage and erosion are being caused to the grass verges from people parking at the side of the road, so be sensible when stopping and always take your litter home!
Travel back in time through the Pass of Glencoe
The Pass of Glencoe, with the unmistakable shape of the Three Sisters, is often used as a backdrop in films, its classic Scottish-ness leaving the viewer in no doubt as to where the film is set. Look out for the Bidean nam Bian massif in the background the next time you watch films such as Highlander (1986), Restless Natives (1985), The 39 Steps (1935), Made of Honor (2008), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010/11), The Eagle (2011) or Rob Roy (1995) to name just a few!
Most recently, the Pass of Glencoe has increased in popularity thanks to a brief appearance in the opening scenes of Outlander, its rugged beauty and romantic appeal capturing the imagination of viewers around the world.
The A82 (which connects Glasgow to Inverness) runs right through the Glen, so even those with little time to spare can enjoy the stunning views from the car. If you have a bit longer, it is worth stopping at the Three Sisters carpark to explore the glen a little, hike the Hidden Valley or simply marvel at the scale of these incredible mountains.
Hunt for Hagrid at the Clachaig Inn
Hagrid's Hut during filming, copyright Clachaig Inn.
Hagrid’s Hut, first featured in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) was constructed on the slopes of Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, above Torren Lochan and close to the Clachaig Inn. Though the hut itself was unfortunately removed after filming, it is an easy climb to the spot where it stood, and fans will recognise the views to the surrounding mountains.
To get there, begin walking west (towards Glencoe Village) from the Clachaig Inn along the Orbital Path. After a few minutes, turn off onto a faint, often boggy path that branches up on to the hillside to the right. It turns right again to climb directly uphill briefly but steeply before reaching the flat overhang where the hut once stood.
Make a bid for FREEDOOOOMMMM like William Wallace (well, Mel Gibson) by traversing the Mamores
Braveheart (1995) was filmed in many locations across Scotland and Ireland, and the sweeping mountains vistas, dramatic story and soaring soundtrack put Scotland firmly on the map for a new generation of viewers. ‘Lanark’, the village where young William Wallace lives, was constructed by the River Nevis and various village scenes were filmed down Glen Nevis. Though the set was dismantled after filming ended, the car park built to service the site remains and is now imaginatively called the Braveheart Car Park.
As Wallace’s legend grows in the movie, he embarks on a journey across the Mamores, a range of mountains nestled between Glencoe and Glen Nevis. The most popular route in this range is the Ring of Steall, a horseshoe of four Munros (hills over 3000ft) connected by narrow, rocky ridges – not for the faint hearted! Watch the scene from the film below:
Less experienced hillwalkers have another 6 Mamores to choose from, while low-level walkers can immerse themselves in Braveheart’s scenery by taking a short hike out to Steall Falls, a beautiful waterfall nestled deep in the heart of Glen Nevis. Detailed route descriptions can be found on walkhighlands.com.
Shout imaginative insults at Castle Stalker
Less than 20 miles away from Glen Coe on the road towards Oban, Castle Stalker enjoys a stunning location on a tiny island in the loch. Monty Python fans will recognise it as Castle Aaarrrrggh from The Holy Grail (1975), from where King Arthur and his men are taunted by French soldiers.
The viewpoint by Castle Stalker View Cafe offers panoramic views across the castle, the loch and the mountains beyond. For a closer view, turn in towards Port Appin and park at the Jubilee Bridge. From here it is a pleasant walk across the bridge and along a cycle track, with ever-improving views to the castle.
Everyone! - "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"
What's your favourite film that was made in Glencoe?! Let us know in the comments!