❤💙💚💛House Points have been awarded for this extremely well researched and interesting post.
❤35 House Points for Gryffindor❤
Awarded by Prof Potty
In the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is stated that Sirius Black has been sighted in Dufftown and Hermione replies "Dufftown? That's not far from here." Dufftown is in the Cairngorms and if we accept this statement from the film, that would place Hogwarts in the Cairngorms too. However, the book says only "... they reckon Sirius Black's been sighted [cut] Not too far from here [cut] It was a Muggle who saw him." [PoA ch. #07; p. 96]. So the association with Dufftown belongs only to the films, and does not fit with the films' simultaneous presentation of Hogwarts as accessible via the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Glenfinnan is in the far west very close to the sea, and Dufftown is about forty miles north and eighty-seven miles east of it. To get from the vicinity of Glenfinnan to the vicinity of Dufftown you would expect to travel south-west to north-east along the great valley called Strathspey, alongside the A86, A9 and A95 roads. Alternatively you could just head due east, ignoring the roads and bumping up and down over a series of mountain ranges, but in that case you would enter very wild country about eighty miles (well over an hour's journey) before reaching Hogwarts.
Even if you travel from Glenfinnan to the area near Dufftown via Strathspey, your problem is that Glenfinnan's proximity to a very jagged coastline means that it is almost impossible to approach Glenfinnan overland coming from the west, unless your starting-point is Mallaig on the west coast. Coming from the south, you either come up the east side of the country and head south-west down Strathspey, in which case you pass by Dufftown a hundred miles before reaching Glenfinnan, or you come up the west side and arrive at a geographical T-junction in the vicinity of Fort William, with Glenfinnan about ten miles due west of you and Dufftown eighty-five miles north-east along Strathspey. To come broadly from the south and pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct before reaching the Dufftown area, you would have to come to that T-junction and either turn left, travel west across the viaduct heading towards Mallaig and then turn 180° round and head back across it going east, or leave the route of the Muggle line and describe a pointless loop around the countryside near Mallaig - weaving about wildly in order to avoid the many long thin lochs with which the area is cleft - in order to approach the viaduct from the western, Mallaig side.
Since the two assumptions in the films - that Hogwarts is accessed via the Glenfinnan Viaduct and that it is near Dufftown - cannot both be true without assuming a pointless digression with no purpose other than to pass over the pretty viaduct, we can discount the information from the films. This doesn't necessarily mean that Hogwarts isn't in the Cairngorms/near Dufftown, nor that it isn't accessible via the Glenfinnan Viaduct - but it can't be both, so their appearance in the films carries no canonical weight
Whilst following the route of the Express quite closely, the flying Ford Anglia passes over Peebles, a small town in south-east Scotland. This means that if Hogwarts were in the north of England the train would have to double-back on itself somewhere past Peebles and head south again, and there's no suggestion that it does so - so Hogwarts too must be in Scotland. But where in Scotland?
Sunset in Britain on 1st September, when the train travels, would be about 7:45pm BST in London, 8:15pm BST in the Highlands. What place, is 9 hours away from London?
Let's just say that the speed of the train is 100km/h. Thus, Hogwarts is about 900 km from London. Dufftown is 10.5 hours from London and is 931 km away. I would say it's somewhere northeast of Dundee, as some of the places there are 800-900 km away, and are 7-10 hours away (by train). Southwest of Aberdeen maybe?
[30 mins research to find nothing, oh well]
As such, i conclude, that i'm stuck! Help me pls.