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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.
The Fairy Bridge 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.
It isn’t difficult to imagine how the Fairy Bridge came to be named as such.
It is this magic that I wanted to capture in my photographs, and I go through my process below.
You’ll also find directions and details of the trail to the Fairy Bridge further on in the post.
How to Photograph the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran
I visited in August on consecutive early mornings, and the weather was fine with bright sunlight.
I chose to shoot the bridge in the early morning to avoid the rising sun casting shafts of sunlight through the trees onto the bridge. This caused just parts of the bridge to be illuminated.
This might sound great, however, this dappled look added complexity to what was already a busy background of trees, leaves and branches. So, shooting early morning avoided most of the sun’s rays.
The Camera Equipment I Used
- Camera: Sony a9
- Lens: Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
- Lens Filter: 8-stop ND filter
- Tripod: 3-Legged Thing Punks Travis tripod.
Let me explain the scene and how I chose to capture it using four different locations.
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 even further downstream from my last position stated above, which was a couple of meters further away from the bridge. The idea was to capture more of the rocky tiers and visible water flow.
I needed to get myself as low as possible to the water’s edge. The issue here was the constant water droplets being projected onto the lens from the flowing water.
Prior to each shot, I wiped the ND filter and quickly 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 to about finding and walking to the mystical Fairy Bridge is 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 takes about 10 minutes walking at a slow and 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 still easy to find. Walk to the northern end of this small car park and look into the undergrowth.
Here is the path which initially passes under some branches and 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 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 is quite muddy and slippery but trail conditions tend 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 just before the magical fairy bridge comes into view.
Close by 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 an impressive waterfall with a drop of around 40m comes into view.
For better views, take a 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 welcome rest. 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 did attempt some long-exposure shots but wasn’t particularly happy with the end result. However, it was still worth the slide down.
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 splendour of its grounds.
Kilchurn Castle was constructed in the mid-15th century. This ruined castle overlooks the magical Loch Awe and lays claim as one of the most photographed castles in Scotland.
The castle (as of August 2022) was closed for renovations.
For great views, however, drive to the southern loch’s shoreline.
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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