Explore Hebrides with new film guide

Mikey Bell is pictured at Glen Etive in the Highlands. Picture taken by James Glossop for VisitScotland.
Mikey Bell is pictured at Glen Etive in the Highlands. Picture taken by James Glossop for VisitScotland.

With starring roles in Disney-Pixar’s Brave and Whisky Galore, the Outer Hebrides’ silver screen highlights are being celebrated in a new film locations guide created by VisitScotland.

Available free of charge in VisitScotland Information Centres throughout the country and for download at visitscotland.com, Set in Scotland, A Film Fan’s Odyssey contains details of more than 100 different films and television programmes either shot or set in Scotland. It is the first Scotland-wide film locations guide the national tourism organisation has produced.

Featuring everything from Braveheart, through Chariots of Fire and Gregory’s Girl to the Harry Potter series and Prometheus, right up to 2015 movies Macbeth and Sunset Song, which were partially shot in Skye and Aberdeenshire respectively, Set in Scotland capitalises on the growing trend of set-jetting.

There are special sections on James Bond – the spy with the Glen Coe ancestry – and Bollywood, as well as honorary mentions for popular television series such as Outlander, Downton Abbey and Balamory.

It also details some of the more surprising places that Scotland has stood in for on the silver screen, including Turkey (From Russia With Love), San Francisco (Cloud Atlas), Vermont (Flash Gordon) and even the surface of Jupiter (2001: A Space Odyssey).

Specialist research and consultation was provided by David Martin-Jones, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Glasgow, including dedicated input with regard to Gaelic filmmaking, Bollywood location shoots and filming in Orkney and Shetland.

With 40 per cent of visitors to the UK inspired to come here after seeing it on film or on television, VisitScotland hopes the new guide will tempt visitors to set-jet to the Outer Hebrides and follow in the footsteps of their favourite film stars.

Set in Scotland, A Film Fan’s Odyssey includes details about the Outer Hebrides’ starring roles in:

Brave (2012)

Hebrides: Islands on the Edge (TV, 2013)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Whisky Galore! (1949)

Harris gained a well-earned reputation for being ‘out of this world’ when it doubled for the surface of Jupiter in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Budget constraints saw producers reluctant to fund a second unit excursion to the far reaches of the solar system, so legendary director Stanley Kubrick was forced to look elsewhere to get his memorable shots of astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) flying across the psychedelic landscape.

More recently, animators from Disney-Pixar were drawn to Lewis while researching the mysterious standing stones seen in Brave. The stones, which form the backdrop to the film’s dramatic climax, are modelled on the Callanish Stones. The Bronze Age monoliths are a popular stop on Adventures by Disney’s official Scotland tour.

In 1949, the Outer Hebrides played a large part in bringing Alexander Mackendrick’s film Whisky Galore! to life. The true story on which the film is based began when a ship called the SS Politician, which was carrying a cargo of whisky, ran aground on the small island of Eriskay, in the Outer Hebrides. Eriskay had only one road and a single main street, so Whisky Galore!

Producers opted to set the film on the slightly larger, neighbouring island of Barra.

The cast and crew – around 80 in total – were billeted all over Barra as the whole island contributed to the making of the film. Many of the accents and customs in the film were picked up by the actors from their hosts and a large number of the islanders appeared on screen.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“Scotland’s towns, cities and countryside play their own show-stealing parts in the stories being told here for production firms across the world. VisitScotland’s new film locations guide details more than 100 films shot in Scotland over the last decades and provides an opportunity for us to showcase not only Scotland’s internationally renowned heritage but also the wealth of natural beauty that our country has to offer.”

Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Islands Manager, said:

“The Outer Hebrides have long cast their spell on visitors and film-makers are no exception. Although the guide is not an exhaustive list, it is fantastic to have some of the Outer Hebrides’ golden movie moments highlighted as part of this new film locations guide.

“Whether it’s exploring the region’s rural treasures or visiting its historic attractions, Set in Scotland is a must for any set-jetting film fan who wants to retrace the steps of their movie heroes or explore the real-life locations they have admired on the screen.”

Copies of Set in Scotland, A Film Fan’s Odyssey will be available at VisitScotland Information Centres throughout the country or to download a copy visit: http://www.visitscotland.com/about/arts-culture/films/locations