When you realize that you are an obsessive Outlander fan, do you indulge your fancies or seek professional therapy? I recommend the indulgence route 100% and encourage implore you to take a trip to Scotland!
I admit, my daughter and I are what you could describe as Outlander disciples and yes, we are a wee bit obsessive. If you have had the pleasure of reading the Outlander series, then you should be able to empathize with our preoccupation with all things Outlander.
Once we decided that we were going to travel to Scotland, we took Diana’s advice from her website (yes, we are on a first name basis with Diana Gabaldon even though we have never met her) and contacted InvernessTours.com without hesitation and booked the Diana Gabaldon Outlander Tour. As with most vacations, ours had many memorable challenges, however the Outlander Tour delivered a day of absolute perfection. Our personal guide, Ian Deveney, picked us up at our B&B wearing a Highland tweed jacket, tartan plaid kilt, stockings and Ghillie Brogue footwear (laces that wrap around the ankle and tie below the calf). Very bonnie! You will notice that I am using a couple of Scottish phrases throughout this blog as I couldn’t help but bring a few back with me.
The tour allowed us to add a new dimension to our appreciation of the Outlander story and its characters. There is something magical about being able to see, touch, smell and hear the beautiful countryside that inspired Diana’s novels. I can’t wait to read the series again and allow the new sensory details I gleaned to embellish the story. To summarize our tour, as I could literally write pages about each stop, we went to the Clava Cairns (equivalent to Craig Na Dun), Culloden battlefield and museum, Castle Leod (equivalent to Castle Leoch), Singleton Whisky Distillery (this was a special stop that we requested because what Outlander day would be complete without whisky?!) and finally Beauly Priory. I would highly recommend the tour and our personal guide Ian Deveney, as well. His knowledge, entertaining personality and historical account of Scotland kept us thoroughly engaged the entire day.
I’ll describe briefly one of my favorite moments from the tour. As an added bonus, Ian indulged the group at Castle Leod with a demonstration of the battle implements used during the period. The demonstration took place inside the castle’s drawing room in front of the fire filled hearth. What a fantastic backdrop to the scene! It was a very impressive show featuring the flint-lock musket, highland shield (targe), dirk and sword. Ian also demonstrated how to fold 8 yards of plaid into pleats and then plucked a young unsuspecting lad from the crowd so he could roll the boy into the fabric to create the Breacan Feile (Great Kilt). He stood the boy up and gave him the targe and dirk to complete the picture. If you have seen the Outlander show, you will recall that this is the style of kilt that the highlanders wear. The poor lad’s mom was madly snapping photos and Ian’s response to this was, “You better get a good picture because this is the last time he will truly look like a man.” Awesome!
Not an Outlander fan? I won’t hold it against you! If you get the chance to read the books and/or travel to the Scottish Highlands, you will not be disappointed.
The next Scotland post will reveal my favorite B&Bs and restaurants. Cheers!