A Little Bit About Outlander

This year we have been amazed by the amount of people coming to Scotland after reading or watching ‘Outlander’ the fictional series of books written by Diana Gabaldon. We usually get a few people who’ve read the series and what to know more but this year with the launch of the TV show things have grown so much it’s sometimes tricky to keep up.

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For those who aren’t in the know the series follows Claire Beauchamp as she falls back through time through a set of standing stones from the 1940’s ending up in 1743. Here she meets Jamie Fraser and has to find her way in 18th Century Scotland. The stories cover the history leading up to and beyond Culloden and have been read by millions worldwide.

So, with that in mind we thought we’d share a bit of our Outlander story. When we found out that Outlander was being made into a TV series we were a bit dubious about how well Scotland and the 18th Century would be portrayed. Luckily we were soon reassured as people came to Culloden to scout the location and make sure everything was accurate. Filming took place at a number of National Trust for Scotland properties so there was lots of excitement on how the final product would appear.

In January we managed to get hold of the first half of series one and in preparation for the new year ahead a few of us sat down to watch. Unfortunately, the some of us included two male learning officers who were, shall we say, reluctant to participate. Watching the shows with two men pointing out every historical inaccuracy made the experience unique to say the least but we all had to admit by the end that they’d done a pretty good job in bringing the stories to life.

Since then we’ve tried to become Outlander experts and guide people to interesting spots on their journey around Scotland. Obviously lots of people come to us her at Culloden. As such a big part of the second book and series people are drawn to our bleak field and many cant help but stop at the Fraser stone on the field which these days usually has a flower or two at its side. However, it’s also nice to know a few other places where visitors can go and explore more about the series.

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The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

The mystical stones of Craigh na Dun in the books, where Claire falls back through time, are just five minutes from the battlefield. Gabaldon based the stone on the site of Clava Cairns an ancient burial ground with chambered cairns surrounded by standing stones. There is even one that has a cleft running down the centre and is supposedly the stone through which Claire falls through time. Granted they may not look the same as the TV series but when you visit the site there is a calm atmosphere that lends itself to the imagination.

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Cleft stone at Clava Cairns

Inverness plays a part in the series as well. But the 1940’s Inverness of the books doesn’t look quite the same as the modern day city. For the backdrop to those scenes you’ll need to head to Falkland in Fife where you can see the Bruce Fountain in the town square as well as the guesthouse and shops from the very first Outlander episode.

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Falkland Square aka 1940’s Inverness

For a feel of the 18th Century though we recommend heading to the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore where they have 18th Century crafting houses that formed the Mackenzie village the highlanders travel to whilst collecting rent. As you walk around you will able to spot plenty of sites where filming took place.

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The Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore

For more filming locations check out Culross in Fife which doubled as the home town for Geillis Duncan, Preston Mill whose backdrop viewers will certainly recognise from scenes in the 1940’s and if you want to be taken back to the woods of old head to Tulloch Ghru in the Cairngorms.

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Preston Mill

Of course there is also Doune Castle which stand in for Castle Leoch in the TV series. However, the true seat of Clan Mackenzie is Castle Leod which is found in the Highlands near Strathpeffer. It was here that Diana Gabaldon, who became a guardian of the castle, planted a rowan tree and is now backing a campaign to help save the castle.

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Castle Leod near Strathpeffer

If you’re a fan of Outlander there’s plenty to see and do but the best thing for us is meeting everyone who has read the books or seen the show and been inspired to come and learn the true history and investigate their own Scottish ancestry. So, if you do come to Scotland be sure to come and say hello to us and we’ll help you find your clan, tell you about some real Jacobites and hopefully inspire you even more.

Oh, and just before I forget, we’ve also got some Outlander inspired merchandise in the shop, including the Outlander ring which is based on Jamie and Claires wedding ring and of course all of the books.

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The Outlander Ring

Hope you enjoyed the post please like, share, tweet, comment and if you haven’t yet maybe pick up a copy of Outlander and see what all the fuss is about.

All the best K & D

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10 thoughts on “A Little Bit About Outlander

  1. I wish we had asked more questions when we were there. We would have been able to visit the other sites that you mentioned. When we were in Scotland I told my cousin there that we were going to the highlands and to Culloden. He was surprised that I even knew about it. I went on to explain “how” I knew about it and what I knew and he was very impressed. We loved our visit to Culloden. It was beautiful, interesting and informative and, of course, we saw the Fraser stone and took pictures for other Outlander fans in the states.

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  2. im an Aussie and have visited Culloden three times in the last 13 years. What an amazing transformation. So moving. I noticed a tribute to Jamie Claire and Diana printed on the ceiling in the cafeteria. I just looked up and it was ‘there’. I was blown away. I’ll be back!

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  3. i can’t wait to come and visit. I was deeply moved when I read about it in the Outlander books. Also I remember doing Jacobean History for my O Level along time ago. I wonder if there is a Clan Morrison as this was my Mums maiden name .

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  4. Very nice article and very well said. I have Scottish ancestry, but don’t really know who I’m related to! I have cousins that are MacKenzie’s and they’ve been able to visit Scotland and loved it. I would love to come and see the country. The one thing that I’ve learned from Diana Gabaldon’s books, is the horrible way that the Scottish people were treated by the English. I don’t think that many people knew or were aware of the way things went up to Culloden and after that fight. It’s sad to read that and sad to think that the highland way of life was basically taken away from the people there. So glad that this book series has shed some light on that time and brought back a proud people and interest in finding out just what makes up Highlanders and the Scottish people.

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  5. I have wondered about the fountain since I first saw it. So pleased to know it is Bruce’s fountain. That it is not in lnverness doesn’t surprise me but nice to know. Thanks.

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  6. We planned our late May 2015 trip to Scotland after reading the first two Outlander books. The wonderfully cast TV series inspired us on. We had an Outlander-focused tour out of Imverness, and visited Clava Caerns, the Culloden battlefield and Museum, and the ruins of Beuly Cathedral. Another tour out of Edinburgh took us to Fife and St. Andrews. We stopped in Falkland, the town used in the TV series to represent Inverness (of the 1940’s). We ate at the inn used to represent the guest house where Claire and Frank stayed during their second honeymoon. Outside of Falkland, our guide took us to the house used to represent Lollybroch. In Edinburgh we visited the National Museum of Scotland, to learn more about the Jacobite a Rebellion. Our trip wouldn’t have happened without inspiration from Diana’s wonderful books and Ron Moore’s beautiful treatment of the material. It is a real tribut to the Scottish people that, despite 300 years of English rule, they have been able to maintain their unique, proud, and colorful culture. It is definitely a trip worth taking!!!

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  7. I spent a night at Culloden House in June 2015. I was on an Outlander tour. The visit to Culloden House was really the highlight of the trip. The staff was wonderful, the food superb, the rooms delightful. We visited many Outlander sites on the trip and I can honestly say that it was the trip of a lifetime. I would go back to Culloden House in a minute. The battlefield was fascinating.

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  8. We just came back from a visit to Scotland, the highlights being the “Outlander” sites. We too stayed at Culloden House. It was so beautiful and special, especially when we were serenaded by a bagpipe player. Oh, how romantic and wonderful. We came across several people in that area looking for Jamie and Claire. Instantly felt a kinship. We visited Culloden Battlefield and the Caira Cairns as well-haunting to say the least. This is a trip I (we) will always treasure. By the way, downloaded “Over the sea to sky” and played in on the I-pod at all these places. If you go, looking for Jamie and Claire, make sure to stay at Culloden House. Our favorite by far. Ginger Bryan

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