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Beyond The Known World: The Landscape Of The Eagle

Lochaber Area

As Marcus (Channing Tatum) and Esca (Jamie Bell) push northward on their quest to recover the lost eagle of the Ninth Legion, they traverse some of the most scenic areas of Scotland, areas that may very well look now as did to Roman adventurers in the 2nd century. Here our heroes ride in the Lochaber area, pointed towards “The three sisters” at Glencoe. (The three sisters are ascending ridges of Bidean nam Bian, one of the highest and most scenic mountains in Scotland. This area is, according to supervising location manager Duncan Muggoch, “possibly the most famous or infamous Glen in Scotland and was the area of a massacre of the Macdonald clan in 1692.” Today it is a national heritage area used by mountaineers and geologists alike.

Rannoch Moor near Glencoe

As the Esca and Marcus move northward, they pass over the Rannoch Moor. Situated over 1,000 feet up, this section of the Rannoch Moor is famous for its lochans (or lakes). Overall the Rannoch Moor is about 50 square miles of boggy moorland. Now Rannoch Moor is a designated Heritage Site as well as site of “special scientific interest”. For centuries, however, Rannoch Moor lived on in popular imagination as mysterious and dangerous landscape, an area Robert Louis Stevenson described in his novel Kidnapped as being "as waste as the sea."

Near Applecross in the Wester Ross area of the North West Highlands

This magnificent area in Northern Scotland may well look the same now as it did in the time of Esca and Marcus.  Up until the 7th century, when Monk Maelrubha established a monastery in 673 AD, various tribes of Gaelic Picts controlled the area. The name Applecross is itself an Anglicization of A' Chomraich, a Gaelic term that loosely translates into sanctuary. Supervising location manager Duncan Muggoch remembers, “We had the most incredible weather on the day of shooting when we were they and you could see from the Isle of Skye on the west right across the whole of the Highlands to the East.”

Inveruglas on the West Side of Loch Lomond
While the area of Inveruglas, a mountainous area west of the Loch Lomond, a large freshwater body of water, feels as if it belongs in the 2nd century, in truth, according to supervising location manager Duncan Muggoch, "Loch Sloy Dam which is a large Reservoir and part of the water supply to Glasgow" is very close by.
Inveruglas Looking Down onto Loch Lomond

In The Eagle, this area of Inverulas that overlooks Loch Lomond served as the landscape in which Marcus and Esca first meet the Seal People. Loch Lomond, a national park about 45 minutes from Glasgow, has figured into popular imagination so much that it has become emblematic of Scotland itself. The song “Loch Lomand” contains the oft sung lyrics: O ye’ll tak’ the high road/and I'll tak' the low road/And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.” It is likely that during Agricola’s invasion in the 1st century, ancient Roman troops occupied some part of the Loch Lomond, but there is little evidence that formal settlements were ever constructed.

Fox Point on the Coigach peninsula, looking to the Summers Isles

While the Seal People are an imaginative creation of what a fierce Celtic tribe might be like, their homeland, located on Foxpoint of the Coigach peninsula is quite real. The filmmakers chose this spectacular area for the village of the Seal People, and, according to supervising location manager Duncan Muggoch, “It involved a 5 week build of the village, which could only be accessed by all terrain vehicles…. The main source of income in the area is fishing and farming. It is just outside Inverpolly National Nature Reserve and SSSI which has some of the oldest rock formations in the world.”

Inverpolly Area, near Loch Lurgainn in the Ross-shire area
Considered one of the most undiscovered and scenic areas in Scotland, this area doubled for the area over which the Seal People chased Marcus and Esca.
Finnich Glen (Devils Pulpit)

The locale of the penultimate battle scene in The Eagle is located in a special area about 30 minutes from Glasgow near the village of Killearn. According to local lore, centuries before, the gorge served as a secret druidic meeting place. In 1998, the NVA Scottish arts organization played off the area’s reputation by staging a spooky performance piece in which audience members were transported to Finnich Glen (without them knowing where they were going) and guided on a nighttime walk with strange lights and eerie noises occurring all about them.

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