The idea of running a model railway the full length of the Great Glen seems impossible. 71 miles from Fort William to Inverness, finishing at Inverness Castle Hill? But that’s exactly what a team of model railway enthusiasts attempted to do, as featured in the current TV series The Biggest Little Railway in the World.
And they were aided and abetted by our very own blogger Willie “Mr Loch Ness” Cameron.
Willie was contacted by Love Productions last year, after being recommended by friends at another local company, Good Highland Food.
He agreed to help the team as much as he could from a local knowledge, access, and general fixing point of view.
The filming kicked off in June at Fort William with the team of 66 model railway enthusiasts and engineers led by TV personality Dick Strawbridge.
They were attempting to do what our Victorian forebears could not – build a railway through the Scottish Highlands and along the route of Loch Ness. Also Dick and his team were doing it in miniature!
Celebration of British eccentricity
The Victorians gave up as they found the terrain to be too challenging and inhospitable for railway building. However, our modern day navvies were unperturbed, despite the terrain … and the midges which were particularly troublesome at their base camp.
Everybody was geared up with creams, potions, gels, nets, face masks, cigarettes, vapes and any old wives tales from the vast catalogue of Highland myths related to combatting midges.
For 12 days the team camped by the track as it extended across Scotland – crossing rivers, canals, valleys, streams, roads and scaling mountainous heights as they devised engineering solutions to anything the Highlands could throw at them.
While being a ground-breaking television event, The Biggest Little Railway in the World is also a joyful celebration of British eccentricity. And it provides viewers with an opportunity to see the magnificent scenery of the Great Glen Way and Loch Ness.
Willie told us it was an amazing experience to be part of the programme. You can see for yourself on Channel 4 and then visit in person to perhaps follow the same route and combine it with a cruise on Loch Ness.