Glenfinnan’s Ingrid narrates BBC Radio 4 show on wizards and steam trains

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The West Highland Line and its association with a certain famous boy wizard, features in a BBC Radio 4 programme this week presented by Glenfinnan’s own Ingrid Henderson.

The edition of Open Country, BBC Radio 4’s long running outdoors series, will be broadcast today, (Thursday) at 3pm and repeated on Saturday (December 11) at 06.07am.

It’s called Wizards and Steam Trains on the West Highland Line and listners will hear folk musician Ingrid Henderson explore the communities and landscapes which influence her life and work.

She lives in Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard before setting off on his much-romanticised, doomed mission to reclaim the English crown for the Stuarts.

But in recent years Charlie has been almost supplanted by a fictional rival – young wizard Harry Potter.

Thousands of tourists are drawn to the area, eager to see the Jacobite steam train – aka Hogwarts Express as it crosses the magnificent Glenfinnan viaduct – an iconic scene in the Potter films.

Ingrid talks to Jacobite historian, Charlie MacFarlane, about this clash of cultures and – up at the viaduct – chats with Harry Potter fans who have travelled from as far afield as China, Brazil and the USA to see the Hogwarts Express.

She also finds out about the history of the West Highland Railway Line with museum curator, Hege Hernaes, as it celebrates its 120th anniversary and takes the train to the fishing port of Mallaig, at the end of the line. It’s her home town, where her musical career started.

Former schoolteacher, Denis Rixson, recalls the heydey of the town’s fishing industry and Ingrid describes how the coast and waters of this part of Scotland have inspired some of her work.

The programme production side of things also has a Lochaber involvement as it has been produced by Mingarry-based radio producers Kathleen Carragher and John Deering.


Ingrid Henderson, pictured, presents the BBC Radio 4 programme.

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