Outlander (and creme eggs)
Outlander. Love it or not, the boost it has given the Scottish tour industry is immense, and the number of people coming here on holiday with some knowledge of Scotland’s history has risen accordingly. It was with the greatest pleasure, therefore, I headed out on my first Outlander tour of the 2022 season. 14 lovely fans of the show and a photographer from one of our partners joined me for 2 days of fun (and Sunshine- I know, but it happened) and sightseeing.
We left the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, where most of the group had already wandered around, checking out the locations used in the tv show, such as Old Tolbooth Jail, The World’s End tavern and Tweeddale Court.
After a few introductions we headed out to Midhope, which doubles for Lallybroch in the Series. Work was being done while we were there in preparation for some additional filming so there was a security guard and fencing to protect the carpenters from a gaggle of screaming fans I suspect. With a little flattery and a lot of begging we got some fabulous photos before heading on to the Stunning Blackness Castle which doubles for the no longer extant Fort William. We were able to co-opt the service of the on-site guide who regaled us with a little inside knowledge of the filming and the various scenes that were shot there. We probably spent a little longer there than usual but they were giving away free crème eggs and my lovely bunch took the time to go in separately and get some extras for me so I didn’t appear ridiculously greedy.
Then a quick scoot up the road, past the magnificent art installation ’The Kelpies’ – more on those in forthcoming bloggy things- to the classy Doune Castle, which was Castle Leoch, as well as being Winterfell in the first episode of Game of Thrones, as well as the immortal Castle Anthrax in Monty Python and the Holy Grail for a quick photocall before our lunch stop in Callander. We stopped right by a pair of highland cattle, the infamous Hairy Coos, where we fed them carrots before feeding ourselves. I had creme eggs.
After Lunch we headed through the amazing highland scenery towards Glencoe, as seen in the tv show’s opening credits for a walk and a talk about the terrible massacre that happened there in 1692. I had a crème egg.
Then onwards to the legendary Loch Ness for a quick monster hunt before arriving in Inverness for our overnight stay. Lots of places to eat and drink in Inverness, our northernmost City and comfy accommodation.
After a fabulous breakfast, which catered for pretty much everyone on the trip, including our vegetarian, gluten intolerant photographer who couldn’t eat her crème egg because I told her it was dairy rich (it’s ok to tell lies if you get a creme egg as a result) we headed to the incredible Clava Cairns, a temple complex dating back 5000 years and the inspiration for Crag na Dun, where Claire is transported back 200 years. I told the group, if we hear humming and buzzing we need to run!!
Then to the tragic battlefield that was Drummossie Moor, better known today as Culloden, where the Jacobite cause came to its tragic finish. We visited the museum which even the most ardent disliker of museums (no names) found interesting and a walk around the battlefield itself. I had my last crème egg.
Then down to the Highland Folk Museum where the village scenes were filmed and we had the great fortune (actually she works there) to meet Margaret, in period costume who showed us how to spin yarn outside the traditional thatched cottage or ‘black house’ that the people of the highlands called home.
We had a little extra time so on our way to our final stops, we dropped into the Dalwhinnie Distillery for a quick dram. Not always possible, but we do like to put as much into our tours as we can and I had run out of crème eggs and my 15 new pals insisted that I at least have a smell of their whiskies to cheer me up.
Our last stops are at Falkland, which stands in for Inverness and where our 3 male travellers took turns recreating the fountain scene where Frank Randall meets the ghost of Jamie Fraser. Their wives hardly had to persuade them at all!! Our last stop was the tiny coastal village of Culross – pronounced CooRoss- which was the fictional Cranesmuir in the show. Lots of photos taken here as we wandered through the late 17th century streets, recalling the many scenes that were shot here.
Join me or one of my colleagues (we even have a guide called Jamie!) for an Outlander 2-day tour where we can offer you a memorable time. But probably not any crème eggs.