Surprising Skyfall in Scotland

Thursday 1, January 1970


Surprising Skyfall in Scotland


Aside from beautiful women and ingenious gadgets, stunning locations are a key ingredient of James Bond films, and Skyfall, released later this month, is surprisingly the fourth film to feature Scotland.


The release of Sam Mendes’ Skyfall in 2012, which stars Daniel Craig as Ian Fleming’s 007, marks the 23rd outing for the UK’s most conspicuous secret agent.  


Craig is the fourth Bond to film in Scotland, and while he was seen jetting off to the Bahamas and South America in his first two outings, the character goes back to his Scottish roots in Skyfall. In a chase sequence filmed in the Highlands on the A82 near the peak of striking Buachailie Etive Mor, the secret agent’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 manages to get upstaged by the stunning atmospheric scenery. 


It’s not unusual for filming locations to depict somewhere entirely different on screen, one of the most recent examples being Glasgow’s appearance as Philadelphia in World War Z, starring Brad Pitt.  In 1963, ‘From Russia With Love’ saw Bond (Sean Connery) and beautiful Russian agent Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) being pursued by sinister SPECTRE agents in a speed boat in Turkey. Unbeknownst to the vast majority of cinema goers, due to filming difficulties, the final boat chase scene was actually shot on Loch Craignish, near Crinan, Argyll. 


Another Argyll location featured in the Bond movies is His Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, located on the eastern shore of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute. There’s just a fleeting glimpse of Scotland this time, although it’s a key moment in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me. It is where Commander Bond (in one of the few occasions he is seen wearing full navy uniform) discovers that the loss of British submarines is no accident, but a sinister plot by the evil Stromberg (Curd Jurgens). 


Eilean Donan Castle, a star of VisitScotland’s Surprise Yourself television adverts, had an unforgettable cameo in The World is Not Enough (1999), when it served as the Scottish headquarters of Mi6. The film’s producers fully embraced the Scottish connection, with Q (Desmond Llewelyn) giving Bond (Pierce Brosnan) a demonstration of bagpipes that double as a machine gun. Edinburgh-born Shirley Manson performed the theme song as the lead singer of Garbage. 


Following are some Bond-inspired activities to pursue on a visit to Scotland: 


Spy some wildlife

Highland Safaris, Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Visit Highland Safaris for a unique experience combining breathtaking Highland scenery, award winning and exhilarating Land Rover Safaris with Scottish heritage, inspiring walking & biking activities, and an exclusive Red Deer Park and Gold Panning Centre. Visitors may be lucky enough to see the majestic red deer, the famous grouse, the elusive mountain hare or the soaring golden eagle as they travel through forests, mountains and moors on private hill tracks.

Sail on Scotland’s West Coast

30 miles off the North West coast of Scotland lie the Outer Hebrides, an idyllic island chain that sits on the edge of Europe. Picture a paradise of powder white beaches and Atlantic waves, dark moorland and epic mountains, amazing wildlife and a rich and vibrant culture.Each island holds its individual charm and rich history. Arriving by sea is the ultimate way to take in your surroundings, not only heightening your sense of each island’s geography, but also to experience that sense of getting away from it all. Routes around the islands pass puffins, porpoises, deer and dolphins, and offers stunning island scenes.

Experience the downhill thrill at one of Scotland’s five ski resorts

The Spy who Loved Me, The World is Not Enough and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are just three of the many Bond films to include skiing scenes.  Scotland has five ski resorts, so why not head to the slopes this winter for skiing, snowboarding or some expert snowsports tuition.

Be shaken, not stirred at a cocktail bar

Bramble Bar, Edinburgh

This Queen Street cocktail bar has quickly established itself as an Edinburgh favourite. The décor is elegant with flatteringly low-lighting, high-backed leather armchairs and lots of intimate corners.

Get an adrenaline high

Highland Fling Bungee, Perthshire

Highland Fling Bungee is the UK’s first static bungee jump, and is situated near to famous site of the Battle of Killiecrankie. A specially constructed bungee jump platform is suspended below the Garry Bridge over the beautiful River Garry near Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire, Scotland and is perched above a dramatic gorge surrounded by ancient trees.

Whisk your leading lady away on a romantic getaway

Cameron House, Loch Lomond

Take your loved one on a romantic seaplane journey. Depart from the pontoon at beautiful Cameron House hotel and soar up 500 feet to see the entire loch and be wowed by the real majesty of the Highlands.



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