Ode to Outlander
Confession: I’ve liked Outlander, the series by Diana Gabaldon, since my friend, Deidre, introduced me to the books back in 2005. My husband and I were taking our first vacation as a married couple to Rome and thank God the flight got delayed in Long Beach for three days, because it allowed me the perfect excuse to finish the book.
I fell in love with the characters immediately. Claire was smart and feisty. Jamie Fraser, the ultimate bad-boy highlander heart throb. Beyond their love story, and, let’s face it, really hot sex scenes, I got totally sucked into the world of 18th century Scotland, a time and place I knew next to nothing about.
The TV series did a great job of bringing the story to life. The actors, aside from being incredibly attractive human beings, did a great job selling the time travelling plot as something completely plausible. During the pandemic I binge watched the series with my husband and it helped to inspire me to write my own 18th century adventure novel, Trouble the Water, with a highlander protagonist named William MacLeod.
As a novelist, research is a big part of the work that takes place both during the writing and editing phases. I found myself wanting to walk through castle ruins, feel whiskey burn down my throat, listen to melancholy hum of bagpipes…so I decided to explore Scotland with the help of a wonderful tour guide, Anne Daly of Mary Meanders Tours.
My novel is, of course, different from Outlander, but since they both start in the 1740s my research took me through a lot of locations where the series was filmed. For anyone who loves the books or show, here are some pictures for you to enjoy.
The places I visited were mostly seen in seasons 1-3 and I describe the scene that happened there. Even though the show has been out a long time, I don’t want to spoil anything for new fans. Ye have been warned…
Blackness Castle/Fort William
Blackness Castle is a 15th century fortress near the village of Blackness, Scotland that doubled as Fort William in Outlander. You can see the rust stains where Jamie Fraser was flogged by Black Jack Randall.
Midhope Castle / Lallybroch
This is the castle that serves as Lallybroch, Jamie’s ancestral home. It’s part of the Hopetoun estate near Queensferry. The actual interior house is closed to the public, so they only use the exterior in the filming. The crews had blue tarps set up everywhere, so they must be filming the current season now.
Culross is a gorgeous 17th century village originally established on the coast of Fife for mining and salt panning. They also did quite a bit of filming here for obvious reasons. Mercat Cross square was the fictional Cranesmuir village where Gellis the witch lived and where an unfortunate lad had his ear nailed. In real life, Fife is known for accusing and executing about 280 “witches”.
Culross Palace was used as the headquarters for Bonnie Prince Charlie when he met with his military advisors to discuss their next steps.
The garden at the back of the palace served as the herb gardens of Castle Leoch where Claire and Gellis formed their friendship.
Hopetoun House / Duke of Sandringham’s Home
Here’s an interior location, also known as the Red Room. They used other rooms for Jamie and Claire’s bedroom in Paris and the room where Mary Hawkins recovers after her attack.
Callendar House / Duke of Sandringham’s Kitchen
Murder anyone? The Callendar House has an 18th century kitchen that served as Duke of Sandringham’s Georgian kitchen. Off with his head!
The Battle of Culloden marked the end of the Jacobite rebellion and effectively the highland clan system. The field is an historical site with an excellent museum. You can take tours to learn the history and see where each clan approximately stood. Surrounding the cairn memorial are stone grave markers, that were actually placed in 1881, about 130 years after the battle. The filming didn’t take place here, but the Clan Fraser stone gets a lot of tourist attention. Jamie Fraser is fictional but in reality it’s estimated that 250 Frasers were killed at this battle.
Hope you enjoyed the pics! Are you an Outlander fan too?
Copyright (c) Lisa Traugott 2022. All rights reserved.
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