Nestled within the tranquil woodlands of Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve lies the enchanting Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran.
Steeped in history and shrouded in mystery, this 500-year-old arched stone bridge offers a glimpse into Scotland’s mystical past with its skyward-pointing stone shards.
As seasoned travellers with a keen eye for photography, we embarked on an early morning journey to capture the bridge’s elusive charm, where nature’s play of light and shadow creates a high-contrast canvas.
This guide showcases our photographic expedition and provides practical insights for your visit. We’ll walk you through the nuances of capturing the Fairy Bridge’s magic on camera and navigating the slightly challenging yet rewarding trail to this hidden gem.
Discover Nearby Treasures
Along with the Fairy Bridge, we’ll introduce you to the nearby wonders of Argyll and Bute, including Castle Stalker, St Conan’s Kirk, Kilchurn Castle, and the awe-inspiring Glencoe Mountains – each a testament to the region’s rich heritage and natural beauty.
Join us as we unravel the allure of the Fairy Bridge at Glen Creran, Scotland, a magical blend of history, photography, and nature’s enchantment.
What is the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran?
The enchanting Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran is an arched stone bridge formed from hand-carved stone blocks. The bridge, resplendent with shards of stone pointing to the sky, passes over a bubbling stream in the middle of a woodland glen.
Fairy Bridge Glen Creran History
The Glen Creran Fairy Bridge history is a little vague. It is thought to be a little over 500 years old. Although an exact date has not been established, it is believed that the bridge was built around the 1500s.
The bridge is sometimes referred to as Fairy Bridge Scotland, Fairy Bridge Appin or Fairy Bridge Glen Creran, but I think you get the idea.
Regardless of the name, it isn’t difficult to imagine how this Glen Creran Fairy Bridge earned its name when looking at this exquisite structure.
It is this magic that I wanted to capture in my photographs and which I cover in detail below.
You’ll also find directions and details of the trail to the Fairy Bridge further on in the post.
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How to Photograph the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran
I visited in August on consecutive early mornings. The weather was fine, with bright, mottled sunlight casting bright shards of light through dense surrounding foliage.
It was, at times, a high-contrast scene to shoot.
Shooting the bridge early in the morning meant I could target the softer light. Although I hoped for some morning mist to add some atmosphere, it just wasn’t to be.
As mentioned, the bridge is surrounded by lush foliage. This resulted in shards of sunlight poking through the foliage, partially illuminating some sections of the bridge and stream.
Added to this was a busy background of trees, leaves and branches.
Once I had framed my shot, I waited for the sun to move and cast its light onto different parts of the stream to highlight certain aspects that I was looking for. It worked out well.
Below, I delve into how I shot the scene using four different locations and include the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran photos.
1. Shooting the upstream waterfall and the Fairy Bridge of Creran
(Portrait shot without long exposure)
Here, I stood adjacent to the left side of the bridge when looking upstream to the waterfall.
2. Shooting the Upstream Waterfall, Downstream Water and the Fairy Bridge of Creran
(Portrait shot with long exposure)
I stood downstream of the bridge and to the left of the stream, shooting in portrait mode.
This way, I could be close to the bridge and include both the upstream waterfall and some of the downstream water flow in the frame.
I varied my exposure time to see the best effect with the flowing water. Exposure times and effects will depend on the volume and speed of the water.
The exposure time and f/stop are included in the image captions.
3. Shooting the Downstream Flowing Waters and the Fairy Bridge of Creran
(Landscape shot with long exposure)
This time, I positioned myself further downstream and in the middle of the stream to shoot this landscape image. Be wary when making your way down the bank and onto the sometimes slippery, moss-covered stones in the stream.
Getting your feet wet is a given. Shooting from this position provided the best opportunity to capture a wide view of the downstream water flow in a landscape scene.
4. Shooting Multiple Downstream Flowing Water and the Fairy Bridge of Creran
(Portrait shot with long exposure)
I moved further downstream from my last position mentioned above, a couple of meters further downstream from the bridge. The idea was to capture more of the rocky tiers and water flow.
I needed to get myself to the water’s edge as low as possible.
With the lens so close to the water, I found tiny water droplets kicked up onto my ND filter. So, before each shot, I wiped the filter with a microfibre cloth and promptly took the shot.
Video — Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran
Here’s a short video of the Fairy Bridge we took to try to capture its enchantment — but nothing beats seeing it for yourself.
All About the Trail to Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran
All you need to know about finding and walking to the mystical Fairy Bridge are listed below, with photos to help you navigate the trail, which isn’t the easiest of places to find.
How do you get to the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran?
The Fairy Bridge is found in a relatively remote but accessible part of Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve, Argyll and Bute, southwest Scotland.
From Glencoe, it’s about a 40-minute drive.
Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran Map
The turn-off to Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve is off a roundabout between the towns of Creagan and Dallachulish.
This road can be followed to the Glen Creran car park (shown as the purple parking marker in the map above), position (co-ordinates N56° 35’ 25.45” W 05° 12’ 00.15”) near Elleric, however, that is not my recommendation, because the trail is closed.
The trail access to the Fairy Bridge from the Pine Marten Trail, starting at the Glen Creran car park, is not permitted due to the unsafe wooden footbridge along the trail. A sign at the beginning of the trail states the same.
Instead, navigate to the blue parking marker with position (coordinates N 56°35’08” W 05°12’36.23”), which is a layby with space for about 4 cars (see below).
The location of this parking spot also coincides with the quickest trail access to The Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran. The car park is actually the start of the trail, which can be seen in the photo above — the narrow path to the right.
How Long is the Walk to Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran?
The walking distance to the Fairy Bridge is around 200m from the passing place car park (N 56°35’08” W 05°12’36.23”), and it takes about 10 minutes to walk at a steady pace.
The Fairy Bridge Trail
The start of the trail at the car park is not signed and is somewhat hidden when seen from the car park, but is still easy to find. Walk to the northern end of this small car park and look into the undergrowth.
A path is visible, which initially passes under some branches and then disappears further into the forest.
The initial part of the trail is pretty flat and winds past the ruins of an old building until it reaches a shallow stream that is a couple of metres wide.
Some stepping stones in the stream make the crossing easier, but a little care is still required.
After crossing the stream, it’s an uphill trek all the way to the Fairy Bridge. The first part was quite muddy and slippery, but trail conditions tended to improve further on.
When you hear the sound of bubbling water, you’re getting close to the Fairy Bridge. There are a few branches to duck under, and all of a sudden, the magical bridge materialises in front of you.
Near to (within 100m) the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran is Fairy Glen Falls.
To find these falls, backtrack 100m on the trail towards the car park. Here, the vegetation clears, and the impressive Fairy Glen Falls, with a drop of around 40m, comes into view.
For closer views, take the path that veers downhill towards the falls. The path ceases about halfway down the side of the hill.
A stone seat is found about 10m from the start of the path and provides a good spot to park up and enjoy the view. From here, you will be able to overlook the lush gorge and its waterfall.
A little distance past the seat, the path comes to an end.
I don’t recommend this, but as I wanted a close-up view of Fairy Falls, I slid the remaining 10 metres down the slippery side of the hill to the bottom. The area around the stream is clear of undergrowth, providing easy access to the waterfall.
There is a shallow pool at the base of the waterfall. It’s a lovely spot.
I attempted some long-exposure shots but wasn’t particularly happy with the result. However, it was still worth the effort.
Nearby Places to Visit
While you are in the area, here are a few other interesting places to visit.
We’ve marked them with yellow location spots on the above map.
This 14th-century Castle Stalker lies 25 miles north of Oban, on a tidal islet on Lock Linnhe. The castle is open for visits with access via boat.
If you decide not to tour, then park at the Castle Stalker View café, where you can walk down the hill to the shoreline for up-close views of the castle.
St Conan’s Kirk
St Conan’s Kirk, built in the late 19th century, overlooks the beautiful Loch Awe and boasts many different architectural styles.
It’s free to enter, and really worth a look at the beautiful church interior and the splendour of its grounds.
Kilchurn Castle was constructed in the mid-15th century. This ruined castle overlooks the magical Loch Awe and is claimed to be one of Scotland’s most photographed castles.
The castle itself (as of Nov 2023) is still closed for conservation works.
For great views, drive to the southern loch’s shoreline. I had an idea to capture a time-lapse by arriving early morning when the fog was thick to then gradually lift as the sun rose. The result turned out quite well.
The stunning mountains of Glencoe are easily observed by driving the A82 road. There are multiple laybys where you can stop and photograph this beautiful landscape.
Make sure you make a stop to view (and photograph) Lagangarbh Hut, the white Bothy (free basic hiking accommodation), with the Glencoe highlands providing a stunning backdrop.
Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran – That’s a Wrap
The mystical Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran offers a unique experience and a touch of Scotland’s old-world charm.
There’s also much to see in the area, and I’d really recommend trying to squeeze in some of Scotland’s other great sights.
Drop us a line if you have any questions about the Fairy Bridge trail, and we’ll do our best to help.
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