Harry Potter fans, the bar has been well and truly raised…
If you’re one of the many, many people all over the world who wish they could shop on Diagon Alley in real life, or better yet take the Hogwarts Express to join Harry Potter and his friends on one of their magical adventures, you’ll love this recent news story. Believe it or not, a lot of the locations in the Harry Potter books and movies were inspired by and filmed in real life parts of the ‘muggle’ world. One such place is a stunning vista seen as the Hogwarts Express steam train crosses a huge viaduct, with rolling green hills in the background. This is the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the West Highlands region of Scotland, and it recently became even more of a special place for one happy couple.
Graeme Tait and his girlfriend Sophie Irwin, who live in London, were taking a two-week vacation around Scotland. Sophie is a huge Harry Potter fan, so Graeme thought it would be a cool experience to take a trip on the Jacobite, the steam train that passes over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It’s basically the closest thing anyone can get to the real Hogwarts Express, so naturally Sophie was more than a little excited.
The day before they were due to get on the train, Graeme suggested they find a spot in the surrounding area to watch it pass by. “He was acting very odd, a bit sheepish, and he just wasn’t himself”, says Sophie. “He kept asking me what I thought it would say on the front of the train and I said I knew it would read The Jacobite. But he was trying to convince me it would say The Hogwarts Express.” This is because Graeme had a whole other plan in mind.
Planning far ahead, he had arranged for the sign on the front of the train to be replaced with his own personal message. He also asked for the conductor to make a special announcement to the passengers as the Jacobite passed by. When the train duly sounded its horn and started to approach the viaduct, Sophie noticed it was travelling unusually slowly. When it got closer to them, she saw that the sign on the front read ‘Sophie Marry Me’ and that the passengers were cheering out the windows at the couple… and that Graeme was beside her on one knee with a ring box in his hand!
“I just couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t expecting it at all” says Sophie. The next day we went on our train trip and we were presented with our sign, which Graeme had specially commissioned from a company in Yorkshire. I have had a Hornby replica of the Jacobite train made to go around the bottom of our wedding cake.” As luck would have it, a professional photographer was also coincidentally there taking pictures of the train. So the couple also have some flawless photos capturing the moment. How cool is that??