100 Weeks of Scotland: Glenfinnan

Glenfinnan Viaduct. Picture: Alan McCredie
Glenfinnan Viaduct. Picture: Alan McCredie
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Glenfinnan is one of my favourite areas of Scotland.

Week 51

From the majestic curve of the imposing Victorian viaduct down past the monument in honour of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and out towards Loch Shiel to the south and west, the place has a magical essence to it.

I mistakenly believed that the Glenfinnan Monument was built at the spot where Charles, the young pretender, first set foot on Scottish soil but recently discovered that he first made landfall on Eriskay in the Western Isles and then landed on the mainland a few miles to the west. It was here in Glenfinnan where he first raised his standard and began the process that would culminate in his defeat at Culloden and subsequent flight into exile in Rome (a period covered in George Rosie’s fine play ‘Carlucco & The Queen of Hearts’)

Another monument belongs here also – The Glenfinnan Viaduct. A monument to the genius and single-mindedness of nineteenth century engineering. Built in the last few years of the Queen Victoria’s reign it is a stunning sight as it arcs through the Lochaber countryside carrying the West Highland Railway line over the glen as it snakes onward to the port of Mallaig.

The first picture this week is a view of the viaduct with a steam train passing over. The train could be heard for a long time before it finally appeared, the sound of the steam and the engine being amplified though the cuttings that line the approach to Glenfinnan. The second image was taken shooting straight up from underneath one of the central arches and when it is viewed horizontally gives an optical illusion of sky reflected in water.

The third image is a shot of the Glenfinnan Monument from a high vantage point showing the wonderful colours of the area. What I particularly like in this photo is the solitary saltire flying in the bottom left – I have no idea why it was there, on a lonely and deserted hillside.

The final image is from Glenfinnan station as the steam engine departs, into the west, and on toward Mallaig.

Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

McCredie says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

Follow the project at 100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter.

All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/ 100 weeks of Scotland