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Bravehear, Glen Nevis, Scotland

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There are few movies of such awe inspiring cinematography as Mel Gibson’s 1995 epic Braveheart, which tells the story of Scottish warrior William Wallace and his role in the First War of Scottish Independence.

Braveheart

The film, while also partly shot in the Republic of Ireland, paid special homage to the Scottish Highlands, in particular the valley of Glen Nevis.
Glen Nevis is at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, three miles from Fort William, the largest town in the Scottish West Highlands and a major tourist centre.

Glen Nevis is a popular destination for visitors all year round, with horse riding, cycling, walking, climbing, sailing, fishing and golfing on tap, among other activities. Thousands of people climb Ben Nevis each year, though, with weather conditions easily changeable and often bitterly cold at the summit, it pays to be prepared. Climbers can also try the Nevis Range or the Glencoe mountains.

There are a number of forest and hill walks around Glen Nevis and surrounding areas, with mountain biking also a popular past-time. There is even skiing in the area at the Anoch Mhor Ski Centre. As the River Nevis flows through Glen Nevis, there are also some spectacular waterfalls in the area including three of the highest waterfalls in Scotland. Not surprising considering Glen Nevis supposedly enjoys the heaviest rainfall in Europe.

Other attractions in the area include cruises on nearby Loch Linnhe and Loch Shiel; a Jacobite Steam Train that travels on the spectacular West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig and the West Highland Museum, a good place to learn the history of the area.

Perhaps the best way to see the glen is to park in the Braveheart car park and set off along the forestry paths on foot. Alternatively, take the main road into the glen to visit the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre for ideas on what to do next. The Visitor Centre is open all year from 9am to 5pm.

While Braveheart may have been criticised for its inaccurate portrayal of historical events, there is no denying that its cinematography dramatically highlights the picturesque beauty and huge scale of the glen. With such raw material to work with, it’s perhaps no surprise that the film earned a best cinematography Oscar in 1996.

Scenes from the Harry Potter movies were also filmed in Glen Nevis, including the Quidditch match in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The match was shot against the background of Glen Nevis, with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy CGI-d onto a ridge of Ben Nevis afterwards.

Fort William is well served by road and rail, with its own railway station. Glasgow Airport is 98 miles away, while Inverness is closer at 70 miles away. Some people also fly into Prestwick Airport, 45 minutes south of Glasgow. Local transport then takes you on to Glen Nevis. 



 

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