DIE-HARD Harry Potter fans who race at 60mph to the series’ most iconic Scottish scene have prompted locals to call for reduced speed limits.
The Glenfinnan viaduct in the Highlands features prominently in the Harry Potter films, as the Hogwarts Express much cross the bridge to reach the magical school.
Set in the hills of Lochaber, the bridge has become a mecca for touring fans of Rowling’s astronomically popular magical franchise.
Earlier this month, police had to issue a warning against those climbing onto the tracks to get the perfect angle for a souvenir snap.
And now residents of Lochaber village have called for the speed limit through their home to be halved to cut the risk of spellbound fans running down locals in their rush to spot the spectacular structure.
Locals have suggested a new 30mph limit be enforced on the stretch of the A830 through Lochaber village, as well as more controls around the site.
Glenfinnan community council chairman and local hotelier Duncan Gibson said the combination of thousands of visitors, insufficient parking and a high speed limit is an “accident waiting to happen.”
He said: “There are tens of thousands of people coming a year – I wouldn’t say wandering around aimlessly – but wanting to take in the scenic and historical area, and there’s a 60mph limit going through it.
“Once car parks are full, drivers are abandoning their cars anywhere they can and on the carriageway.”
He emphasised that even young families and parents with pushchairs were risking their lives by walking on the narrow high-speed roads to reach the landmark after leaving their cars.
“It’s a fantastic thing that Harry Potter is bringing all these people to the region but, progressively, the parking has been really bad and it’s difficult to police”, he added.
“It’s fantastic that people are coming but it needs to be done safely.”
The demands have come amid revelations by another local resident that traffic chaos at the site this summer caused an ambulance to be held up on a potentially life-saving call-out.
A spokeswoman for government road agency Transport Scotland said that the situation was reviewed annually, and they had recently decided to keep it at 60mph.
She said: “The speed limit at this section of the A830 was considered as part of our speed limit review.
“It concluded that the national speed limit (60mph) remained appropriate at the locations due to the characteristics of the road.”
But Mr Gibson has said that the “pen and paper understanding” that Traffic Scotland have of the road does not consider the daily reality of thousands of visitors flocking to the site.
He said: “They should actually come out and see what’s happening – there have been a few near-misses in the road, and they should come before they’re not near misses.”
The iconic Glenfinnan viaduct was originally opened in 1901 – but achieved worldwide fame one it was featured in the Harry Potter films.
In the movies students board a steam train at London King’s Cross every year, bound for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland.
Although the location of precise location of Hogwarts is unknown, their journey to the school takes them over the famous viaduct in the Scottish Highlands.
The Victorian structure is featured heavily in the opening scenes of many of the movies – including the second, in which Harry Potter and Ron Weasley race the train over it in a flying Ford Anglia.