On my list of Things to Do from Blervie these are my suggestions beginning with O. Obivously O is for Outlander!
If you are visiting Scotland it is hard to ignore the Outlander effect. Outlander is the reason many of our guests visit. For others it is the incentive they needed to finally visit Scotland. Outlander fan or just simply on holiday there are many reasons to visit Scotland. However as the Outlander TV series and books so accurately portray both Scotland and Scottish history it is worth spending some time exploring the sites and locations.
Some of our local Outlander attractions include:
First on the list and not to be missed is Culloden. This famous Battleground was the site of the last England Scotland battle in 1746 which changed the dynamics of the Highlands forever. It may well even be the reason you have Scottish ancestry and are tracing your family. Visit the Visitor Centre and then walk the windswept moorland and imagine the exhausted Jacobite army attacking the Red Coats. Look out for Jamie’s Clan Fraser stone and do not forget the Outlander portrayal was very accurate.
A short drive away is the well preserved burial cairn of Clava Cairns. Needing little introduction to Outlander fans. This is one of the main contenders for the site of Craigh na Dun. These are the standing stones through which Claire tumbles into the past. True or not this 4,000 year old Bronze Age cemetery complex in its’ unique setting is worthy of a visit as the setting alone transports you back in time.
“Situated on Loch Ness where Claire meets the “Water Horse” in the TV series and Claire and Frank take a cruise in the book. Make your Jacobite connection with the Castle learning about the Jacobite uprising and events leading to the demise of the castle in 1692.
Most of us know the Outlander series was not filmed in Inverness. However the book was set in Inverness so to truly appreciate both the landscape and history it is well worth visiting. When you are in the City take the time to include:
5 Leakeys Bookstore
At the time of Culloden this building would have been a Gaelic Church and used as a hospital for the Hanoverians after the Battle. Now a unique bookstore worthy of a visit on its’ own merit, the building has been re-built to the original plan.
6 Abertarff House
Built in 1583, the oldest house in Inverness and town house for the Frasers of Lovat. Restored and open to the public, it provides just a little bit more Outlander insight.
This beautiful old church overlooking the River Ness, is the oldest in Inverness. Something of a paradox as it has been both a place of worship and of killing. After the Battle of Culloden, the church was used as a prison for Jacobite rebels, and the church yard outside was used to execute them. There are two stones which serve as a reminder of this; one which the Jacobite soldier would sit on, and the other a few yards away where the executioner would rest his gun.
Then follow the Moray Firth Tourist route westwards towards Beauly and you will come across:
8 Beauly Priory
It is here in the heart of Fraser country, that Claire meets the seer Maisri. Still a mesmeric Priory to visit today it is not hard to imagine why Claire spent time walking the grounds. Built in 1230, it is now a beautiful 13th Century ruin. Home to where the Lovat Frasers are buried in the Outlander books. The beautiful, tranquil ruins of Beauly Priory is a place of uncertainty and heartbreak in the Outlander series but today a beautiful place for a visitor.
At the time of Culloden Supposedly the final resting place of Simon ‘The Fox’ Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat and Jamie Fraser’s grandfather in Outlander. Visit the secret underground chamber that was reputed to contain his headless body. It was disputed whether Lord Lovat’s body is actually in the coffin at Wardlaw or in the Tower of London. The story was that his body was swapped and brought home in secret to his family crypt. However recent work has proved the headless corpse is that of a young woman so we are none the wiser. The Mausoleum was built as a burial place and shrine to the Clan Fraser and is a charming, tranquil place to visit.
10 Castle Leod
No tour of Outlander sites around Inverness and Loch Ness would be complete without visiting Castle Leod. True Outlander fans will know that Castle Leod is believed to be the inspiration behind the fictional “Castle Leoch” – home to the chief of the Mackenzie Clan in the series. As Castle Leod is the official seat of Clan Mackenzie and their Chief is it any wonder? The castle is privately owned but has Visitor Open Days during the summer so check their website for another chance to experience more Highland history.
This last suggestion probably needs a whole day on it’s own for a visit. Used as the location for the Tax Collector scene in the TV series the Museum is an excellent glimpse of true Highland life prior to the Jacobite Rising. The Museum offers you open air living history from the 1700s right up to the 1950s.
Unless you are spending a lot of time visiting Outlander locations on your stay with us, it will be hard to visit all of these sites. Some of them are essential e.g. Culloden, some are nice to visit if you have the time e.g. Beauly Priory and make for interesting leisurely days exploring whilst giving you an idea of the distances, views and lifestyles experienced in the Highlands. Take the time to enjoy and ponder.