As a self-proclaimed “Harry Potter” nerd, I always look forward to the movie marathon weekends when I can unabashedly avoid the outside world and sink into a world of magic.
So, as I vegged on my couch this weekend watching Ron stuff his face with delicious magical treats, I couldn’t help but wish (again) that I had had a chance to attend Hogwarts.
Even though my mom humored me by sending me an acceptance letter when I was 11, I have since had to accept the hard fact that magic is not real and Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter area in Orlando, Florida, is the closest I’ll get to being a wizard.
However, when I came across the story of how Jon and Helen Cluett and their four children were rescued when their boat was swept away, my hope for a magical life was restored.
When the Cluett family took to a small lakeside hut in the Scottish Highlands for a vacation, they weren’t expecting to be stranded on the remote lake. The BBC reports that dad Jon explained:
“You can get to [the cabin] by quite an arduous walk in — or you can paddle for 10 minutes in a canoe across the loch (lake) from the road. We had a canoe so we paddled across the loch to the bothy (hut).”
However, when on Friday, Jon’s daughter alerted him that “the stream [was] massive,” he noticed their canoe had drifted free from the rocky shoreline and off into the swollen river.
They were stuck. Options included a three-mile trek in “difficult boggy ground,” or a dangerous walk along the nearby railway line.
Resigned, Jon decided to call the police and seek out “local knowledge” to get his family back to the car.
The police returned with a magical solution.
Cluett told the Associated Press:
“The policeman said, ‘We’ve arranged for the next train passing to stop for you, and you’re not going to believe this but it’s the Hogwarts Express steam train. Your kids are going to love it.’”
So the Cluetts hastily packed up their belongings and made their way to the tracks just as the train was pulling around the bend.
Jon explained that his children are all fans of the Harry Potter franchise, and were “really excited” by the turn of events. According to the AP, he added:
“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.”
When the Hogwarts Express — known in reality as the Jacobite train — pulled up in all its magical glory, the Cluetts boarded and rode off to safety.
Although Jon was elated to see that “all sadness left [the kid’s] little faces” upon spotting the train, he is still pining over the loss of his boat. The BBC reports that he said:
“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.”
I don’t know Jon, I’d happily sacrifice my canoe for a scenic ride on the Hogwarts Express. But for anyone who has any knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing boat… 10 points to Gryffindor!
Thankfully the Cluetts have all returned home safely. This family vacation will definitely be one to remember!