Highlands & Islands

Hogwarts Express rescue family reunited with canoe

Canoe Image copyright Jon Cluett
Image caption Mr Cluett said the canoe was left largely undamaged by its ordeal

A family rescued by the "Hogwarts Express" steam train after becoming stranded have been reunited with their lost canoe.

Jon and Helen Cluett and their four young children were staying at a bothy in Lochaber when the boat was swept away by a swollen river.

They were picked up by the train after phoning the police for advice.

But their red canoe went missing until it was finally spotted on the edge of the loch by a passing driver.

Mr Cluett said it was a perfect "happy ever after ending" to get the canoe back.

The Cluetts took their children - aged six, eight, 10 and 12 - to the Essan bothy on the south shore of Loch Eilt during the October half-term.

The bothy can be reached by a 10 minute paddle across the loch.

When their canoe was washed away, they were facing a long walk back to their car across boggy land until the police arranged for the train to pick them up.

Image caption The canoe was spotted on the north edge of the loch by a passing driver

The train, called The Jacobite, was filmed for the Harry Potter movies, and is normally used for excursions on the West Highland Railway Line, crossing the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct that also features in the films.

Mr Cluett told BBC Scotland: "It's great to have it back. It's one of those things - I didn't realise how much I wanted a canoe until it was taken away from me.

"I left it in my garden for most of the day after getting it back and then went and sat in it to have a coffee."

The canoe is also largely undamaged, apart from a "small dint", Mr Cluett said.

Image copyright Jon Cluett
Image caption The Harry Potter train made an unscheduled stop close to the bothy to pick up the Cluett family

It was spotted by a driver last week who reported it to the police. Officers then got in touch with the Cluetts to check it was theirs.

Mr Cluett said the family had been overwhelmed by the support they had received from locals who had gone out looking for their canoe.

"Thanks to all who have been in contact and thanks to all who have been and looked for us" he added.

"It made a great, perfect end to our adventure."

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