Here's a little magic for your Monday morning: the steam train made famous as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films was used to rescue a family stranded in the Scottish Highlands last week. Yes, really.
The Cluett family — two parents, and four children aged six, eight, 10 and 12 —were reportedly staying in a remote "bothy" (aka: cottage) on the southern shore of Loch Elit when their canoe was swept away in the swelling river. With no good option for getting back, they called the police. To everyone's surprise, the authorities arranged for The Jacobite to pick them up and deliver them home. (Sadly, the train didn't take them to Hogwarts.)
How's that for an adventure?
Mr. Cluett gave a detailed account of the magical detour to BBC. "We were all in the bothy, warm and fed — all was good — but we'd moored the boat in a little burn behind the bothy, tied it to a wall, pulled high out of the water," he said. "My daughter woke up yesterday and says 'Daddy, Daddy - the stream is massive.'"
"The burn was overflowing," he added. "The entire area was underwater. The rocks I'd tied the boat to were pulled apart and the boat was gone."
The family quickly decided not to make the three-mile walk across the bog to safety. Instead, they called the police, who quickly came up with an unusual solution. The authorities informed the Cluetts that the next train on the railway line close to their bothy would make an unscheduled stop to rescue them.
When it arrived, it was obvious it was a very special train.
The kind of train that might, say, make its home at Platform 9 3/4.
"We threw all our stuff into some bags and boxes and ran out of the door of the bothy at the same time as the train is coming around the tracks," Mr. Cluett told BBC. "The train is getting closer, we're running down, stuff bouncing everywhere, big smiles on the kids faces. It all started to be fun at that point," he said.
Unfortunately, Mr. Cluett never did find his boat — it seems lost to the river forever. However, he has a message for anyone else who might find themselves vacationing on Loch Elit. "I think it will still be bobbing around in the loch somewhere. A big red canoe — so if you see it, that would be helpful. That would make the last part of the story even better," he says.