During my recent 9 day tour of Scotland with 7 lovely ladies from the USA, one of the top priorites was to see as many Outlander sights as we could. For those who are unfamiliar with Outlander (and that is most people in the UK) it follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. The “Outlander” series spins the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure into one epic tale.
I’ve watched a few episodes and I found it a bit too Hollywood and romanticised, violent and pornographic. As with so many American shows English folks are primarily cast as villainous. If you can think of an American show or movie which brakes this stereotype, do tell 🙂 Anyway, it is still a decent TV show and it is only because I like history so much that I likely see the flaws slightly more clearly.
As with most television shows, locations that seem close together onscreen can often be far apart in real life so I picked a few locations that looked like they would make for a good day trip and wouldn’t result in us travelling hundreds of miles to make quick pit-stops. All my tours are substance over style and I like to explore things more in depth.
The first location we went to was in the old kingdom of Fife, Aberdour Castle. In Outlander it plays the part of the Benedictine monastery, Abbey Ste Anne de Beaupre. It is here that Jamie recovers from his injuries at the hands of “Black Jack” Randall. Aberdour Caste which in real life dates back to the 1100’s and famous for its painted ceiling and ruined sections as well as the beautiful St Fillans Church which is from the Norman period.
Next up we travelled to the beautiful little village of Falkland which to both myself and all the tourists or Magnificent 7 as I labelled them, found to be one of the highlights of the entire holiday.
Falkland gets its name from the the fact that the Stuart dynasty used to come here to hunt with falcons (birds of prey). Whilst he we saw a national cycling race and gate-crashed a wedding. Though we went round together, from time to time we all would split off and follow our own interests.
In Outlander, Falkland stands in for the city of Inverness which in reality is 3 or 4 hours journey further north. Filming has taken place here as recently as 7 weeks earlier.
After Falkland it was a bit of a drive to the small town of Culross which in Outlander is the location for Cranesmuir. Here we find Geillis Duncan’s house and the historically picturesque town square where Geillis is sentenced to burn for being a witch. It is also here that Jamie and Claire rescue the thief, Tammas, when his ear is pinned to the post. Much of the town was painted a dark grey colour for filming, which has reverted to the original white Despite this, there is no mistaking this idyllic-looking location.
Later, in spring of 2018, the Outlander cast and crew returned for season 4 filming. This time, with Nell Hudson, a scene was filmed using a house near Mercat Cross. I guess everyone will have to wait a few more months to find out exactly what was going on.
Finally we squeezed in Midhope Castle which in Outlander is the setting for Lallybroch. In reality, it is hidden deep away in a maze of lanes on a large country estate and suffers from extortionate charges that I personally would never pay but tourists are tourists 🙂 and the owners are very knowledgable of just what an exortionate charge they can make.
The Magnicifent 7 loved the old castle which is actually almost in ruins inside (and in the rear) but the wonders of Hollywood make it look a thriving place in Outlander.
If you’d like to do an Outlander tour with our fabulous local guide Andy then why not check out our Outlander Tour which goes to these and sometimes equally good but different locations depending on the weather/filming etc. We also do several other Edinburgh and Scotland Tours.