Visiting the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran & Photography Guide

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Ever wondered where myths and the mysteries of Scotland’s past intertwine?

Welcome to the enchanting Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran. Nestled within the tranquil woodlands of Glasdrum Wood National Nature Reserve, this ancient stone bridge, over 500 years old, offers a peek into Scotland’s magical past.

As we spent a year in Aberdeen, taking a break from our African adventures, we seized the chance to explore many of Scotland’s stunning historical sites, including its fantastic clan-built castles. Among these, the bridge at Glen Creran captivated us the most with its history and mystique.

But what draws you to this mystical site? Is it the historical architecture, the surrounding natural beauty, or perhaps the chance to capture your own mystical photo?

Dive into the magic with us, and together, let’s uncover Glen Creran’s secrets.

Fairy bridge of Glen Creran with pointed stones on its arch amongst woodland
Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran ©Lifejourney4two

With our hearts set on enchantment and a keen eye for photography, we embarked on an early morning journey to capture the bridge’s elusive charm. As the sun peeked through the trees, casting a play of light and shadow, we felt the bridge’s ancient tales come alive.

For those of you planning a visit, the good news is that the hike doesn’t require much in the way of physical agility. It’s well within the reach of casual walkers, inviting all who seek its beauty.

In this guide, we share useful tips for your visit, including directions to this enchanting spot. Plus, I’ll reveal the photography techniques I used to capture images of the fairy bridge, hoping to inspire your own creative shots.

So, let’s step into this fairy tale together and see where the path leads.

long exposure photo of a stream under an arched stone bridge with vertitical rocks

In a Hurry? How to Visit and Photograph the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran – in a Nutshell

  • Quick Access: For the shortest route, park at the layby and follow the trail straight to the Fairy Bridge.
  • A Scenic Hike: Prefer a longer walk? Park at Elleric car park, start at the Pine Marten Trail, and then continue heading west to reach the bridge.
  • Time Well Spent: Allocate a couple of hours to soak in the beauty and enjoy the journey fully.
  • Dress Right: Expect some muddy patches along the way, so wear suitable footwear.
  • Photographer’s Tip: Planning to snap some pictures from the river? Watch out for slippery moss on the rocks. Bring a tripod and a neutral density filter for those perfect long-exposure shots.
  • Chasing the Light: The bridge’s lighting can change rapidly with the moving sun and shifting shadows. If the lighting isn’t perfect, a brief wait might just offer that magical shot.
  • Golden Hours: For the best photos, aim to visit around sunrise or sunset when the light casts a softer glow on the bridge.

Click here to jump further down in this post for my photography tips.

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.

A fairytale setting, it certainly qualifies as one of the mystical sites in Scotland.

Shooting the Fairy Bridge from upstream ©Lifejourney4two

Fairy Bridge Glen Creran History

The Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran’s 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. Yes, even its true name is shrouded in mystery.

Once you arrive here, it isn’t difficult to imagine how this Fairy Bridge earned its name. It’s this magic that I wanted to capture in my photographs.

Planning a Trip to Scotland?

How to Drive 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. There is no public transport to this location.

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 the A828, south of Creagan and north of Dallachulish, at a roundabout. Follow the sign towards Invercreran for about 2.8 miles (4.5 kilometres), where you pass a turnoff to Invercreran Lodge.

Don’t turn here, keep driving. The road soon changes into a single-lane, unclassified road. From this point, there are two parking options that you can choose from. I discuss both options below.

Option 1: Parking at a Layby (Quickest Access)

From the Invercreran Lodge turnoff, drive a further 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometres). You will arrive at a layby with space for about 4 cars. We parked here.

This layby position corresponds to the blue ‘P’ or parking marker in our above map (coordinates N 56°35’08” W 05°12’36.23”).

The layby is where you also pick up the start of the trail. The image below shows the narrow path on the right side. Details of this walk are covered further down in this article.

TIP: The walking distance is just 300m from the layby to the Glen Creran Fairy Bridge or a 600m round trip. This is a great parking option if you’re short on time.

Parking spot with trail leading off the road to Fairy Bridge of glen creran
Parking spot for 4 cars and provides the closest access to Glen Creran’s Fairy Bridge ©Lifejourney4two

How Long is the Walk to Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran from the Layby?

It takes about 10 to 15 minutes (at a leisurely pace) to walk the 300m from the layby carpark to the Fairy Bridge.

Details of the Trail from the Layby to the Glen Creran Fairy Bridge

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.

dirt path through the forest
Start of the path to the Fairy Bridge ©Lifejourney4two

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. It’s pretty scenery.

Some stepping stones in the stream make the crossing easier, but a little care is still required.

small stream crossing with stones in it
Just the one small stream to cross on the way to the Fairy Bridge, Scotland ©Lifejourney4two

After crossing the stream, it’s an uphill trek the rest of the way to the Fairy Bridge. I’d estimate about 80m of uphill. The first part was a bit muddy and slippery, so tread carefully.

Luckily, it was just the initial uphill part, as trail conditions tended to improve further up the trail.

muddy-path-up-the-hill in a forest
A muddy and slippery path is encountered after crossing the stream on the way to the Fairy Bridge ©Lifejourney4two

The sound of bubbling water is the first indication you’re getting close to the Fairy Bridge. You are likely passing the Fairy Glen Falls on your right.

A small path veers away and downhill towards the falls but stops short.

a dirt path with the sun shining through the trees
Looking upwards to the start of the path for views of Fairy Falls ©Lifejourney4two

Descending this path, you’ll find a stone seat well placed about 10m away, providing lovely views of the falls and its lush gorge.  

stone seat in a hill
Stone seat ©Lifejourney4two

The impressive Fairy Glen Falls has a drop of about 40m. But only glimpses of the waterfall is had from the path

Just glimpses of the falls from the path ©Llifejourney4two

Re-joining the uphill path and ducking a few branches, it’s not long (around 100m) before the enchanting bridge materialises. It’s a beautiful work of art in a perfect setting.

Magic happens here ©Lifejourney4two

Option 2: Parking at Elleric Car Park (The Longer Walk of the Two Options)

From the Invercreran Lodge turnoff, drive a further 2.0 miles (3.2 kilometres) to arrive at the Elleric car park.

Using our above map, Elleric car park corresponds to the purple ‘P’ parking marker (coordinates N 56° 35’ 25.45” W 05° 12’ 00.15”). There is no parking fee.

How Long is the Walk to Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran from the Layby?

It should take around 45 minutes (at a leisurely pace) to walk the 0.75 miles (1.2km ) from the Elleric car park to the Fairy Bridge.

Details of the Trail from the Layby to the Glen Creran Fairy Bridge

The walk from the Elleric car park is definitely the longer walk of the two parking options. At the car park, pick up the start of the Pine Marten Trail, an undulating gravel path that passes through woodlands. Follow this for approximately 0.62 miles (1 km) to the westernmost point of the trail.

Once there, look for a faint trail that continues west for another 200m or so, leading to the Fairy Bridge. This part of the trail is often muddy, so be forewarned.

When we visited, the Pine Marten Trail was closed due to footbridge renovations; however, with this now complete, the trail is open once again.

This trail is considered easy difficulty as rated by the Scotland Forestry Association.

Glen Creran parking sign in a forest
Info sign at the Elleric Car Park ©Lifejourney4two

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.

tripod-setup-in a stream with Lars taking a photo
Tripod set-up ©Lifejourney4two

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.

The Camera Equipment I Used

Below, I delve into how I shot the scene using four different locations to include the bridge.

1. Shooting the upstream waterfall

(Portrait shot without long exposure)

Here, I stood adjacent to the left side of the bridge when looking upstream to the waterfall.

1/60-second exposure, f/5.0, focal length = 32mm ©Lifejourney4two

2. Shooting to include both the Upstream Waterfall and Downstream Waters

(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.

arched stone bridge with a waterfall behind and water blurred through long exposure
30-second exposure, f/5.6, focal length = 28mm ©Lifejourney4two

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 Waters

(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. It is a high-contrast scene with quite deep shadows and rays of sunlight.

long exposure shot of stream with curved stone bridge in background
10-second exposure, f/10.0, focal length = 45mm ©Lifejourney4two

4. Shooting Downstream Waters at the Waterline

(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.

long exposure showing water streams with Fairy bridge of Glen Creran - an arched stone bridge
13-second exposure, f/9.0, focal length = 67mm ©Lifejourney4two

Below is one of my favourite photos of the bridge and one I’ve framed myself.

Photo of Fairy Bridge in a pale wood frame

How to Photograph the Nearby Falls of Glen Creran

As already mentioned, the Falls of Glen Creran are close (within 100m) of the Fairy Bridge. I don’t recommend photographing from the base of the waterfall as it’s pretty difficult to access from the top, and then climbing back out is tricky due to the incline.

The moist ground doesn’t provide firm footing and the undergrowth just adds to the obstacles. However, I didn’t know all this at the time. All I was thinking was I wanted a close-up photo of Fairy Falls.

So I slid 10 metres down the slippery side of the hill to the bottom and walked to the base of the falls. The area around the stream is clear of undergrowth, providing easy access.

There is a shallow pool at the base of the waterfall. It’s a lovely spot.

twin waterfalls in the Glen Creran forest
Long exposure shot of Fairy Falls ©Lifejourney4two

I attempted some long-exposure shots but wasn’t particularly happy with the result. It didn’t matter as it was interesting and, to me, worth the effort.

camera tripod set up to shoot a waterfall
Fairy Glen Falls photo-shoot ©Lifejourney4two

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.

Fairy Bridge Glen Creran, Argyll and Bute, Scotland

Discover Nearby Places to Visit

We’ve marked all these places with yellow markers on the above map.

Castle Stalker

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.

castle on an islet with seaweed in the foreground water
Castle Stalker ©Lifejourney4two

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 closer 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.

stone church with diverse architecture
St.Conan’s Kirk ©Lifejourney4two

It’s free to enter, and really worth a look at the beautiful church interior and the splendour of its grounds.

Kilchurn Castle

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.

castle seen in the fog over a loch
Kilchurn Castle ©Lifejourney4two

The castle itself (as of Jan 2024) remains closed due to renovations.

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.

Kilchurn Castle Time Lapse - Argyle and Bute, Scotland

Glencoe Mountains

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.

White house in front a big mountain with a bridge in foreground
Glencoe landscape ©Lifejourney4two

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

Exploring the Fairy Bridge of Glen Creran transcends a mere visit; it’s a voyage into Scotland’s enchanting and mystical heritage. The bridge’s unique allure will leave lasting memories.

Yet, the journey doesn’t end there. Scotland is a treasure trove of stunning vistas and attractions just begging to be explored.

It’s time to create your own ever-lasting stories.

Shelley looking for fairies ©Lifejourney4two


These are the travel resources we recommend and use when planning our trips.

For a more thorough list visit our Travel Resources page here.

Photo of author


Lars, grew up in the Australian countryside and discovered his love for nature early on. Leaving Australia at 20, he began a life of travel and exploration. As a co-owner of Lifejourney4two with Shelley, Lars captures their journeys through his photography. Join him here and see the world through his lens.

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