O is for Outlander
It is hard to ignore the Outlander book effect if you visit Scotland. Outlander is the reason many of our guest’s visit. For others, it is the incentive they need to visit Scotland finally. Whether you are an Outlander fan or just on vacation are many reasons to visit Scotland.
However, as the Outlander TV series and books accurately portray Scotland and Scottish history, it is worth exploring the sites and locations, even if you have never heard of Jamie Fraser.
Some of our local Outlander-related 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 even be why you have Scottish ancestry and are tracing your family. Visit the Visitor Centre, 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. These stones should need no introduction to Outlander fans. These stones are one of the leading 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 by learning about the Jacobite uprising and events leading to the Castle’s demise in 1692.
Today most of us know the Outlander series was not filmed in Inverness. However, the book was set in Inverness, so it is well worth visiting to appreciate both the landscape and history truly.
When you are in the City, take the time to include:
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’ merit, the building has been rebuilt to the original plan.
The House was built in1583 and is the oldest House in Inverness and a townhouse for the Frasers of Lovat. Restored and open to the public, it provides just a little more Outlander insight.
This beautiful old church overlooking the River Ness is the oldest in Inverness. It is a paradox as it has been a place of worship and killing. After the Battle of Culloden, the church was used as a prison for the Jacobite rebels, and the churchyard became an execution yard. Two stones remind 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 take the Moray Firth Tourist route westwards towards Beauly, and you will come across:
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 are a place of uncertainty and heartbreak in the Outlander series, but today a lovely 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. Today it is disputed whether Lord Lovat’s body is actually in the coffin at Wardlaw or 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.
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.
Highland Folk Museum
This last suggestion probably needs a whole day on its 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 before the Jacobite Rising. The Museum offers open-air living history from the 1700s to the 1950s.
Unless you spend a lot of time visiting Outlander locations during your stay with us, it will be hard to visit all these sites. Some of them are essential, e.g. Culloden, some are nice to see 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.