Hogwarts Express rescues stranded family who lost canoe in remote Scotland

editorial image
Share this article
0
Have your say

A family left stranded in the Scottish Highlands after their canoe swept away have been rescued by the “Hogwarts Express” steam train.

Jon and Helen Cluett were staying at a remote bothy with their four young children in Lochaber when their canoe was swept away by a river.

After phoning the police, the family were suprised when they arranged for the steam train used in the Harry Potter films to pick them up.

The Jacobite train is used for excursions on the West Highland Railway Line.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Cluett said: “You can get to it by quite an arduous walk in - or you can paddle for 10 minutes in a canoe across the loch from the road. We had a canoe so we paddled across the loch to the bothy.

“We were all in the bothy, warm and fed - all was good - but we’d moored the boat in a little burn behind the bothy, tied it to a wall, pulled high out of the water. My daughter woke up yesterday and says ‘Daddy, Daddy - the stream is massive’.

“The burn was overflowing. The entire area was underwater. The rocks I’d tied the boat to were pulled apart and the boat was gone.”

The family realised their options were between a three-mile walk with small children across difficult boggy ground or along the nearby railway line.

“In the end I decided the only option was to phone the police and mountain rescue, ask if they have any local knowledge that could help us out,” said Mr Cluett.

The police arranged for the next train on the railway line that runs close to the bothy to make an unscheduled stop.

“The amazing thing was it wasn’t just any train. The next train that was passing was the Jacobite steam train - the Harry Potter, Hogwarts Express steam train that goes up and down that line.”

The family hurriedly packed up their belongings and made their way to the line, about 400 metres way.

“We threw all our stuff into some bags and boxes and ran out of the door of the bothy at the same time as the train is coming around the tracks,’ said Mr Cluett.

“The train is getting closer, we’re running down, stuff bouncing everywhere, big smiles on the kids faces. It all started to be fun at that point.

“I’m slightly sad because I’d lost my boat - but the kids, when they saw the steam train coming, all sadness left their little faces and was replaced by excitement and fun - just the real joy of having an adventure and having the train stop right next to them.”

He added “The kids have certainly had an adventure. We’ve all had an adventure - a big thanks to everyone who helped us.”

His only regret is that his canoe has still not turned up - although he remains hopeful someone will find it.

“I think it will still be bobbing around in the loch somewhere. A big red canoe - so if you see it, that would be helpful. That would make the last part of the story even better.”