Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings: Come to Scotland, come to Rivendell

You don’t have to struggle, in Scotland, to find yourself in a location that makes you think that add a few orcs, hobbits or elves, and you could imagine yourself in a scene from The Lord of The Rings. A childhood fan of the books – but not obsessed enough to become an adult nerd – I’ve often found myself thinking this. Hence, following the news last week that Amazon was moving the filming of its new television adaptation of the JRR Tolkien trilogy, I find myself ready prepared with some suggestions for the location scouts. Welcome to Middle Earth – a few of us are well aware that we have been living here for some time.

Okay. Throw me one. Let’s start with Hobbiton, the Shire, home of the Hobbits? Isn’t that more English rolling hills than Scottish moors?

We do have some gentle rolling hills, and also cute bridges, of the type which is a feature in Tolkien’s Hobbiton – among my favourites are packhorse bridge at Carrbridge in the Cairngorms and the fairy bridge at Glen Creran. Plus, on a recent trip to Harris, I found myself ogling over the numerous Hobbit houses, or as some describe them “Hebridean earth houses” built into the ground, with their stony fronts and hilly roofs. You’d only have to CGI out their enormous glass windows to instantly create a residence at Bag End. In fact, even blackhouses have a distinctly hobbity feel.

Scotland to benefit as Amazon’s Lord of The Rings moves filming to UK

But you are surely not also saying, come to Scotland, come to Mordor?

Well, on a bleak day, walking in the mist and dusk around the Old Man of Storr or the Quiraing on Skye you could imagine you’d arrived at Tolkien’s bleak and jagged landscape of Mordor, the land and base of evil Sauron. Plus, we have plenty of stand-ins for Mount Doom – admittedly without the belching smoke and lava – which include, for instance, Ben Stack, which rises up in a dramatic conic shape from the, and also Glamaig, the northernmost red Cuillin on Skye.

Or that we are home to anything so desolate as the Dead Marshes?

Actually it’s hard to imagine a landscape that better fits the bill than the flow country of Caithness. These reeking marshes, which feature in The Two Towers, are the site of the ancient Battlefield of Dagorland, and peering into them Frodo sees the faces of dead warriors. In fact, Tolkien said that these mires “owe something to Northern France after the Battle of the Somme”.

What about Rivendell? Tolkien is said to have based this on Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland – he even created a painting of the scene – and we, in Scotland, have nothing with quite that combination of rocky cliffs, high mountains and dramatic falls?

What do you think CGI is for? The Nevis Gorge need only be your canvas.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992