Lochs, digital camera, motion: a tour of Scotland’s beautiful movie and TV places | Scotland’s tales

Wild Camping in Glencoe by the River Coupall and Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor)

Scotland has lengthy been a supply of inspiration for film-makers all over the world, who look to the nation’s immense landscapes and distinctive historical past to help their storytelling. Whether or not it’s tales of affection and romance or epic battles based mostly on precise occasions, Scotland has performed a central function in quite a few productions on each the massive and small display.

One of the common settings for film-making that locations emphasis on beautiful scenic photographs is the Scottish Highlands, which is able to doubtless call to mind a spread of characters together with Thomasina the cat, William Wallace in Braveheart, Harry Potter and even James Bond. The Jacobite steam prepare, which travels from Fort William to Mallaig alongside the West Highland line, performs a starring function because the Hogwarts Specific in all eight Harry Potter movies, because of the now iconic photographs of the magical prepare crossing the beautiful Glenfinnan viaduct. In the meantime, Sam Mendes’s Skyfall has 007 returning to his Scottish roots, with a lot of the motion happening in Glencoe, the place Bond grew up. Scenes from the movie had been shot in dramatic locations equivalent to Glen Etive, close to the peaks of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag.

Wild Camping in Glencoe by the River Coupall and Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor)
Buachaille Etive Mor on the head of Glen Etive. {Photograph}: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Glencoe can also be a serious backdrop within the TV mega hit Outlander, based mostly on Diana Gabaldon’s fantasy-romance novels, with the opening credit of the very first episode terrifically depicting its sweeping mountains. Kinloch Rannoch, on the tip of Loch Rannoch in Perthshire, performs an element within the first collection too, in addition to Tulloch Ghru within the Cairngorms nationwide park and the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore. That is the journey to take in the event you prefer to think about your self because the lead in a cinematic masterpiece, which many people undoubtedly do.

Subsequent on the listing of prime filming places could be Scotland’s various and majestic islands, from Barra, which performed host to the 1949 comedy Whisky Galore! to Skye, which welcomed Michael Fassbender throughout the filming of Macbeth in 2015. A private favorite is Loch Airigh on the rocky east coast of Harris, which doubled because the floor of Jupiter throughout the filming of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Area Odyssey. Extra not too long ago, the 2021 comedy-drama Limbo, telling the story of refugees ready on a fictional Scottish island to be granted asylum, makes use of each North and South Uist as its setting, whereas many key exterior photographs within the stirring BBC crime drama Shetland are filmed on the principle island of Shetland and its capital, Lerwick.

The village of Pennan in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The village of Pennan in Aberdeenshire. {Photograph}: Iain Sarjeant/Alamy

Heading again to the mainland, Aberdeenshire is usually related to director Invoice Forsyth’s eccentric 1983 movie Native Hero, with lots of the Ferness village scenes shot in Pennan on the area’s coast. Likewise, the 2015 adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sundown Music was filmed throughout panoramic Aberdeenshire in places such because the small village of Fettercairn and the Glenmuick and Glen Tanar estates. And if it’s one other spherical of Whisky Galore! you’re after, you’ll additionally be capable to discover it in Aberdeenshire – the city of Portsoy was one of many places used within the Eddie Izzard-starring 2016 remake of the movie.

Upcoming events

In addition to internet hosting August’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, Scotland’s capital additionally makes a proud look in a variety of blockbusters – from Avengers: Infinity Conflict to Trainspotting – showcasing the colourful tradition of town and its architectural magnificence, in addition to native legends which are a core a part of its historical past. The variation of David Nicholls’s One Day, for instance, options a few of Edinburgh’s best-known landmarks in its most poignant moments, from the magnificent crags of Arthur’s Seat to Calton Hill’s iconic Dugald Stewart Monument. For those who’re heading for a stroll up Calton Hill, be sure you pop into Collective, the outstanding modern artwork centre housed within the former Metropolis Observatory. Within the Outdated City, The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby, a movie retelling the story of the well-known canine who stayed by his grasp’s grave for 14 years, consists of traditional photographs of Edinburgh Fortress and Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Outlaw King, which charts the lifetime of 14th-century King of Scotland Robert the Bruce, was filmed throughout Scotland however Edinburgh’s late-medieval Craigmillar Castle notably stands in for Bruce’s fortress and village within the movie. It’s a terrific place to discover on a sunny day, significantly in the event you climb the tower home to survey town and its abundance of magnificence spots equivalent to Holyrood Park.

Regarding one other key historic determine, a lot of Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, is ready on the Palace of Holyroodhouse – however it’s really the commanding Blackness Castle, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, which stands in for Holyrood within the movie. Moreover, lots of the seaside scenes had been filmed on the East Lothian seashores that encompass Edinburgh, together with Seacliff, which affords spectacular views of Bass Rock and Tantallon Fortress.

Aerial view of Blackness Castle ( setting for Outlander ) beside Firth of Forth river in West Lothian Scotland, UK
Blackness Fortress. {Photograph}: Iain Masterton/Alamy

Simply seven miles south of Edinburgh metropolis centre, you’ll discover Rosslyn Chapel with its extraordinary structure and gothic stonework. Identified for being a major location within the 2006 adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, the chapel welcomes guests day by day who wish to stroll within the footsteps of Tom Hanks’s character Robert Langdon.

Edinburgh will not be the one main Scottish metropolis to look on display although; Inverness can be acquainted to followers of Outlander because the setting of lots of the scenes that happen within the Nineteen Forties. Not removed from town, the magic of Loch Ness has been dropped at life in movies equivalent to The Water Horse, based mostly on the enchanting guide by Dick King-Smith.

In fact, Glasgow has hosted its justifiable share of display appearances too, from 2022’s The Batman to cult traditional Beneath the Pores and skin, starring Scarlett Johansson. Because the UK’s first Unesco Metropolis of Music, Glasgow has additionally been a preferred setting for tales linked to music and tradition, equivalent to Wild Rose, the 2018 musical drama about aspiring nation singer Rose-Lynn Harlan. Within the movie, Rose-Lynn is seen performing on the metropolis’s annual Celtic Connections on the outstanding Outdated Fruitmarket venue in addition to in Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry. Beats, based mostly on the award-winning play by Kieran Hurley, is one other instance, utilizing a black and white Glasgow as its setting, whereas totally immersing you within the highs and lows of Scottish rave tradition.

Strolling round Glasgow, it’s not possible to not be drawn in by the legacy of its tradition and nightlife, which spans a long time, numerous tales and an ever-changing forged of characters.

Arusa Qureshi is a author and editor based mostly in Edinburgh, and a passionate advocate for variety and accessibility inside arts and tradition. She writes principally about music, most not too long ago Flip the Script – a guide about ladies in UK hip-hop revealed by 404 Ink. She was the winner of the 2017 Allen Wright Award for high quality writing in arts journalism, is on the board of the Scottish Music Centre and is a Trustee of the Saltire Society.

Scotland’s 12 months of Tales 2022 spotlights, celebrates and promotes the wealth of tales impressed by, written, or created in Scotland. Extra data on the programme will be discovered here