"I would like to remind everyone that we are mere Muggles."
That's actually a quote from an official police statement. Harry Potter fans are going to lengths that would baffle even Ron Weasley in their effort to relive Hogwarts's glory days, and officials are in the unfortunate position of having to safeguard the fervent faithful.
Take the beautiful Glenfinnan Viaduct, situated in the Scottish Highlands. The Viaduct can be spotted in many a Harry Potter film, with the Hogwarts Express steaming over it on its way to school. See below:
And here's the problem; according to British Transport Police, fans are catching the Jacobite steam train over that beautiful viaduct, and then walking back to take photos. Unfortunately, they're choosing to walk back along the train track!
Sergeant Kevin Lawrence, based in Inverness, delivered a stern warning to such explorers:
"When they are caught up in the excitement of their trip, people may not realise that what they are doing is trespassing on the railway, risking the lives of themselves and other people who could be travelling on trains passing through."
In the UK, trespassing on the railway lines is actually a crime - and police in Scotland reported a rise of 16% last year. The Glenfinnan Viaduct was a major problem spot. What's more, according to the police there have been a number of near-misses, most famously an entire family who were forced to run for their lives back in 2015 when a train came down the tracks.
It's not that the police are being killjoy, it's that they don't want us killed. And that, to circle back to the amusing opening quote, is why the police have officially stated:
"Much as we love Harry Potter, I would like to remind everyone that we are mere Muggles, and if you trespass on the railway and are struck by a train, the consequences could be extremely serious and probably fatal."
I'm pretty sure the Wizarding World would echo this warning. I mean, they like to keep their secrecy, and if we Muggles are all over the tracks, how's the Hogwarts Express ever going to depart on time?
Are you planning to visit any of the Harry Potter tourist spots? Let me know in the comments - and don't walk up the train tracks!