Hubby and I spent two weeks in May touring Scotland, a destination that has long been on my bucket list, but even more so since I’ve joined the ranks of other Outlander addicts around the world. While there were other locations on our itinerary, like the Isle of Skye, Torridon, and Applecross, Hubby did indulge me with stops at a few Outlander film locations along the way.
The trip was that much more meaningful because I had recently learned that my 9th great grandmother had been a Fraser (Jane) born in 1628. She later migrated to the colonies, marrying John Heflin (sound familiar?).
Day One I hit the ground running, visiting Bakehouse Close (aka Carfax Close), the location of James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser’s (JAMMF) Edinburgh print shop in Book/Season 3.
After visiting Lochleven Castle on the way to the Highlands (Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there for a time before she escaped), our next stop on the Outlander trail was Falkland, which served as Inverness circa 1948.
Not Outlander related, but definitely worthwhile, a visit to Blair Castle, where we were lucky enough to see a pipe and drum procession by the only private army in the UK. The weekend we were there happened to be the annual clan gathering. The thrilling (though brief) procession was worth standing out in the cold rain to experience.
No visit to Scotland is complete without a visit to Culloden Battlefield just outside Inverness. It is a solemn, windswept place where so many people (men, women and children) lost their lives in the bloody battle that changed the course of history, not just for Scotland, but for the world.
After taking in the breathtaking beauty of the Northwest Highlands, we made our way south again, stopping at Doune Castle (aka Castle Leoch in Outlander). The castle has been used in many films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones (Winterfell), and the hilarious Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Leaving Ft. William for Glasgow, we drove through the jaw-dropping landscape of Glencoe, a frequent backdrop to some of the scenes in Outlander, including the opening credits when viewers see Jamie and Claire galloping across a green valley.
We capped off the Outlander pilgrimage with a visit to Hopetoun House. The beautiful 17th century estate served as the location for many diverse scenes in the first three seasons, but it is probably best known for Midhope Castle, or Lallybroch to Outlander fans, JAMMF’s ancestral home, which sits on the Hopetoun estate. I confess to going all fan-girl when I walked up the hill and first caught a glimpse of it. I went all swooney and breathless.
I had hopes of running into the film crew, since filming for Season 5 is underway, but no such luck.
Outlander addiction aside, Scotland is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful country, whose people are warm, sincere, and welcoming. Whenever we found ourselves lost, passersby never hesitated to help. It was a trip of lifetime, but I hope to return someday to visit the home of my 9th great grandmother, Aberdeenshire, and Castle Fraser.
Have you visited Scotland? What were your thoughts of it?