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Trainspotting 2: what have Renton and his pals been up to for the last 20 years?

Hitting screens next week (27 January), Trainspotting 2 – or T2 as it is officially billed– is the hotly-anticipated sequel to the box-office smash drama Trainspotting (1996).

With the trailer for T2 opening with Jonny Lee Miller’s character Sick Boy greeting Ewan McGregor’s character Mark Renton saying: ‘’Hello Mark. So what have you been up to… for 20 years?’’, we’ve decided to answer that question quite literally.

Find out what Ewan McGregor and his co-stars have been doing since the release of the legendary first film and learn about 10 of the beautiful Scottish locations that feature in the movies they’ve starred in over the last 20 years – plus we share some bonus filming locations from Trainspotting!

Trainspotting 2: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert CarlyleTrainspotting 2: Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle (from left to right) @ Tristar Atlaspix

Directed by the Oscar-winning Danny Boyle and based on the phenomenally successful book by the Edinburgh writer Irvine Welsh, the film sees stars including Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller and Kelly Macdonald reunited two decades after their original escapade set largely in Leith in Edinburgh.

Ewan McGregor

The Union Canal

Young Adam, 2003

The Union Canal

The role of a young drifter working on a river barge in Young Adam brought Ewan McGregor to Edinburgh where he spent some time on the wonderful Union Canal. The scene where the boat goes through a tunnel was filmed at the Falkirk Tunnel on the canal.

Spanning 30 miles from the centre of historic Edinburgh to the impressive Falkirk Wheel – the world’s only of its kind rotating boat lift – the Union Canal is a wonderful feat of engineering and one of only two Lowland canals in Scotland. Popular with walkers, cyclists, paddlers and coarse anglers alike, this magnificent waterway is ideal for a boat holiday, or exhilarating ride through gentle countryside. The canal passes the town of Linlithgow – with its 14th century Linlithgow Palace – and offers beautiful views of the Ochill Hills. Lucky Ewan, right?

Loch Lomond

Miss Potter, 2006

Loch Lomond, A couple walking on a mountain path near Long Long, with Arrochar and Ben Lomond in the distance  

Working with the director Chris Noonan, Ewan McGregor starred alongside Renée Zellweger in Miss Potter, which features a few scenes set around Loch Lomond on the Boturich Castle estate at the southern end of the loch. If you look closely you can even see Ben Lomond.

Glistening lochs, enchanting forests, wonderful wildlife, amazing local produce… that’s just a taster of what Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has to offer. This largest freshwater expanse in mainland Britain is surrounded by charming villages and rolling countryside. Its bonnie banks and calm waters lend themselves nicely to a wide range of activities on the land and water. The area will make you feel like you’re in a completely different world, while in fact it’s situated only an hour by car from Glasgow and two from Edinburgh.

Jonny Lee Miller

Glen Coe

Complicity, 2000

The Three Sisters, Glencoe

Adapted from Iain Banks’ novel of the same name, Complicity was directed by Gavin Miller and starred Jonny Lee Miller as the main character, a young Scottish journalist called Cameron Colley. The role took him to the dramatic valley of Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor.

Located within the awe-inspiring Lochaber Geopark in the Highlands, Glen Coe is a steep sided valley climbing steadily from the village of Glencoe on Loch Leven. Enveloped by mountains and stretching onto the plateau of Rannoch Moor, the area is famous for its breathtaking scenery and fascinating history. It makes the perfect base for exploring the area of Lochaber, known as the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’.


The Flying Scotsman, 2006

The Clyde Arc connects Govan road to the city centre, Glasgow.

Featuring Jonny Lee Miller as Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, The Flying Scotsman is the inspiring real-life story of one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes. Director Douglas Mackinnon chose to shoot the film partially in Glasgow.

Having doubled up as Philadelphia for the Brad Pitt zombie movie World War Z and San Francisco in Cloud Atlas before, Glasgow’s been a draw for film makers from far and wide. Being Scotland’s largest city, it’s renowned for its absorbing culture, remarkable architecture and vibrant festivals. The city has a serious amount to offer, from a great range of galleries and museums to excellent pubs, restaurants and shopping.

Robert Carlyle

Eilean Donan Castle

The World is Not Enough, 1999

Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich at Dornie

Assuming the role of Victor ‘Renard’ Zokas, a fictional Russian terrorist and the main villain in the 1999 James Bond movie, The World is Not Enough took Robert Carlyle to Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands, which was used to depict the exterior of MI6 temporary headquarters ‘Castle Thane’.

A true icon of the Highlands, with its distinguished long arched bridge and postcard-perfect loch-side setting, the 13th century Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most photographed castles in the world. It sits in a superbly beautiful and romantic location where three Scottish lochs meet, and overlooks the magnificent Isle of Skye.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct

Stone of Destiny, 2008

The Jacobite steam train passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel, Lochaber, Highlands of Scotland

Portraying John MacCormick, a prominent campaigner for Scottish devolution, Robert Carlyle appeared in Charles Martin Smith’s film Stone of Destiny, which was based on real events telling the story of the theft of the Stone of Destiny.  In the scene where Hamilton (Charlie Cox) takes the train from Glasgow to London the viaduct he crosses is in fact the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct is part of the West Highland Line – often lauded as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world – and is famous for being in the Harry Potter movies. Hop on the old-fashioned Jacobite Steam Train, which goes over the viaduct, and find out for yourself.

Ewen Bremner


Deacon Brodie, 1997

Edinburgh Castle and skyline seen from Calton Hill Edinburgh Castle and the Balmoral Hotel clock tower seen from Calton Hill

Ewen Bremner made an appearance in the Philip Saville drama, Deacon Brodie, which was based on the life of an 18th century cabinet maker sentenced to death for robbery. It was filmed on location in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Castle and the popular Deacon Brodie’s pub at the top of the Royal Mile.

With its striking architecture, wide open spaces and spectacular skyline, Edinburgh’s been the perfect backdrop and setting for a diverse range of film and TV productions. Known as the Athens of the North, the cosmopolitan capital of Scotland is surrounded by miles of rolling countryside and offers visitors a captivating blend of rich history, natural beauty and a sense of adventure.

The Scottish Borders

Hallam Foe, 2007

Scott's View, overlooking the valley of the River Tweed and the Eildon Hill, which is reputed to be one of the favourite views of Sir Walter Scott.

Taking on the role of a hotel employee Andy in Hallam Foe, Ewen Bremner co-starred alongside Jamie Bell in David Mackenzie’s film, which was partially filmed in Innerleithen.

Like its landscape, the Scottish Borders has a rich and dramatic history of film and TV productions, and no wonder. The Scottish Borders covers around 1,800 square miles of rolling hills, moorland, gentle valleys and rocky cliffs and is only a little over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne. The tranquillity of the magnificent hills and lush forests, action-packed outdoor activities and enthralling history make the Scottish Borders a unique and fascinating destination.

Kelly Macdonald

Caerlaverock Castle

The Decoy Bride, 2011

Caerlaverock Castle situated near the town of Dumfries.

Used as a setting on the fictional island of Hegg, Caerlaverock Castle in the beautiful Dumfries & Galloway had a starring role in The Decoy Bride featuring Kelly alongside David Tennant.

One of Scotland’s great medieval fortresses, Caerlaverock Castle sure grabs its visitors’ imaginations with its stunning location, imposing sandstone walls, atmospheric green moat and unique triangular shape, which makes the castle one of the most powerful looking in Scotland.

Dunnottar Castle

Brave, 2012

Dunnottar Castle

Kelly MacDonald voiced Brave’s lead character Merida, Pixar’s first female protagonist. Dunnottar Castle played a key inspirational role in the look of the DunBroch family castle.

Of all ruined coastal fortresses, Dunnottar Castle must be one of the most spectacular. Located in the beautiful region of Aberdeenshire, which is home to Scotland’s Castle Trail, this well-preserved medieval structure enjoys an evocative and dramatic setting on top of a jutting cliff above the crashing waves of the North Sea. Steeped in myths and legends, the castle is believed to be haunted by a number of ghosts and spectres.

Plus – bonus Trainspotting locations!

Leith, Edinburgh

Although director Danny Boyle filmed the majority of the 1996 classic in Glasgow, the story is set in the Leith district of Edinburgh during the 1980s. Today Leith offers a fantastic range of cool bars, innovative eateries and two Michelin star restaurants. It’s even been named the second ‘hippest hang-out’ in Scotland.

If you want to follow in the footsteps of Renton and his pals, head to:

  • Calton Archway found over Calton Road – it’s where Renton starts his journey down Leith Walk.
  • The Mousetrap on Leith Walk – this quirky bar was once ‘The Volley’ which featured prominently in the book.
  • Queen Victoria’s statue at the foot of Leith Walk – it stands outside of what was once Leith Central Station, the location which lends the book its title. The station has been demolished and replaced by a supermarket and swimming centre.

Find more iconic T2 Trainspotting locations in Edinburgh.

Mark’s motto of ‘choose life’ is back in T2. What’s yours? Perhaps ‘choose Scotland for your next holiday’?