Black Rock Gorge - On the (invisible) trail of Harry Potter's broom stick

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The year we started our Little Trekker blogging adventure I wrote a long list of places in the North of Scotland we should cover - Black Rock Gorge was on it but it was only a few weeks ago that we finally made it there!

Black Rock Gorge - On the (invisible) trail of Harry Potter's broom stick

A TV program about rural Scotland had visited there and it reminded me of our long made plans to explore the gorge. As we were looking for a late season camping adventure anyway it was just the little incentive we needed to finally make the trip to Evanton on the east coast. As it happened I got cold feet about the camping but we usually have at least one glamping adventure per year so the fact the campsite had two camping pods and one of them was free sealed the deal.

After setting up home in our little pod (in lovely warm autumn weather making me feel guilty to not have taken the tent) and noticing that the neighbouring pod was called 'Assynt' - home is always near - we set out for our gorge adventure.

I had told the boys about the gorge and that it was amazing and that a scene for the Harry Potter Goblet of Fire movie had been filmed there. Not being Potter fans (yet) that didn't exactly cause much of a stir and being avid gorge explorers they looked at me with some suspicion! How could it be any different from the dozen of gorges we had seen?

After a little play time (by big and little) on the fantastic adventure play park we ventured further into the forest in search of the stunning - amazing - glorious (I had started to big up every 20 metres hoping I was not over egging the pudding). The woodland had just started to show some autumn colours and it was a perfect combination of late summer temperatures and early autumn beauty.

Then finally there was a sign pointing to gorge and two bridges. We approached. We saw the first bridge. Stewart set foot on it first and walked to the middle and then went WHOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. If you look at the photos you maybe won't be able to get the idea (it's one terribly hard to capture on a photo) but the River Glass drops down to a depth of 120 ft into an extremely narrow gorge. When you stand on the bridge there's no doubt how deep it really is and it's both anxiety inducing and awe inspiring.

Corwin cautiously approached next and went OOOOAAWWWWWWW, whilst I was slowly edging closer. I have a fear of height so this wasn't the easiest adventure for me. Finally I gathered all my courage and gingerly set a foot on the bridge and then another one and looked down. WHOOOAAAAWWWWW! Holding on tight to the railing at the top, which was fortunately at a comfortable over waist height, we all continued to stare down into the abyss. This was something. Something else indeed from other places we had seen!

After what seemed a long time and throwing some stones and sticks down the gorge to get a real feeling for how deep it was, we continued our walk, totally forgetting about the second bridge, along the river. It was beautiful and atmospheric and we all loved it. We found a Fairy ring of mushrooms - so definitely some magic! Reading up about it later I found that while they are often seen as hazardous or dangerous places, they can sometimes be linked with good fortune Not sure what applies in Black Rock Gorge but we declared it to be a good thing! After a while though we reached a dead end and had to backtrack - no big deal as the simple beauty of 'going the other way' is often undervalued.

When we arrived at our first bridge we remembered the second one and went back for another thorough look down. Still WOW! And I still don't like heights but was very happy about having conquered my fears. A nice stroll back to the campsite and more adventure play followed until we finished the day in our cosy pod.

A few weeks later we got a chance to watch Goblet of Fire and we were VERY excited for a reunion with Black Rock Gorge. We had read that there had been 10 days of filming and that it appeared in one scene during the first challenge of the Triwizard Tournament. The scene came and went and we looked at each other ... had we missed it? Where was the amazing gorge? We went back and tried again. Really? We went back again and tried slow motion then frame by frame. We finally saw a glimpse of what might have been a dark area that might have been the gorge, but sadly overall this was a disappointment compared to the 'real thing'. Well - we were there and it's great movie stardom or not. That's what we concluded in the end.

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About the Author

Monika Strell

Monika Strell

About Me & Mine

Monika (an Austrian in Scotland), Stewart (a true Highlander) and Corwin (8), plus 2 dogs and 5 cats.  We live on a woodland croft in the parish of Assynt, in the far North West Highlands of Scotland.

Favourite place in the world:

Home - we are lucky to have mountains and beaches on our doorstep and Scotland generally; but we also love the mountains in my native Austria and have a soft spot for California, where we spent our honeymoon.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Explovering (our personal term for exploring and discovering) mountains, lochs and beaches, camping, foraging, star gazing, Geocaching, developing our already wonderful woodlands into a magic place to share with family, friends and neighbours and fishing.

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