Family Stranded in Scottish Highlands Rescued by Hogwarts Express, for Real

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If you are a fan of Harry Potter, prepare to be more envious than you ever thought possible of a family stranded by a sudden flood. Because this Scottish family’s canoe trip disaster turned into the best family vacation of all time when they were rescued by the Hogwarts Express. No, really. The actual Hogwarts Express.

According to the BBC, Jon and Helen Cluett were on a vacation in the Scottish Highlands with four small children ages six, eight, 10 and 12. Their trip included an overnight spot at a small, remote bothy. (A bothy is a small cottage, hut, or other basic shelter that’s left unlocked for travelers to stay in for free.) They took a short canoe trip to the bothy, then tied up their canoe and went in for the night.

“We were all in the bothy, warm and fed – all was good – but we’d moored the boat in a little burn behind the bothy, tied it to a wall, pulled high out of the water. My daughter woke up yesterday and says ‘Daddy, Daddy – the stream is massive,'” Jon Cluett said.

The river flooded and their canoe disappeared during the night.

The Cluetts’ canoe had disappeared. The river had swelled and the whole area was under water. They were flummoxed about how to get back. Their car was parked about three miles away, but it was three miles of very difficult, boggy marshland, and they had all their supplies and equipment to carry. It seemed like too difficult a walk with the kids, given the swampy nature of the ground. There was a set of railroad tracks nearby, but walking the tracks seemed dangerous if a train were to come.

So they called the local police and mountain rescue to ask if they had any suggestions. Maybe a local would know a shortcut, or someone would have some kind of useful vehicle and be able to give them a lift.

Instead, the police figured the best thing to do would be to ask the next train coming through the area to make an unscheduled stop to pick up the stranded travelers. And the next train coming through was the Hogwarts Express. Really.

They were rescued by the Hogwarts Express. For real!

OK, the train is technically called the Jacobite, but it’s the same steam train used in the Harry Potter movies. It runs along the West Highland Railway and over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is also in the movies.

The family went and stood by the tracks, and not long after the actual Hogwarts Express pulled up and stopped right in front of them. There wasn’t even a platform or a station, it just pulled up and stopped right at their feet, just for them.


That 8-year-old must have thought she just got her Hogwarts letter for real.

Jon Cluett is still kind of sad that his canoe is gone, but I’d bet those kids would have traded a hundred family canoes for this story. They were ecstatic. Their terrible family canoe trip disaster turned into the coolest vacation story of all time, and all it cost them was one canoe.

On a scale of 1-10, how jealous are you of these kids? Let us know in the comments.

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(Image: iStockPhoto / extravagantni)