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GreatScot! is in San Diego for the Outlander series premiere – Day One

Wait a minute…weren’t you just in Canada?

Just a quick note to let everyone know that GreatScot! is in San Diego! For those of you wondering what happened with the rest of my vacation trip in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, never fear—I will eventually get those posts completed. I have lots of great pictures and stories to recount.  However, the Outlander Premiere is rightly interrupting all previously scheduled programming.

The trip began this morning with me meeting Tricia Leedom, Heughligan, in the gate area of the Atlanta Airport. Sorry there aren’t any pictures of this meetup, but I’m pretty sure we never stopped talking from the point I arrived until the gate agent started boarding the plane. I never even thought to take a picture.

Once I boarded, I made the now obligatory tweet to Terry Dresbach with the shoe picture.

For those who may not know, Terry began the tradition of taking pictures of her shoes almost a year ago when this journey began. I now feel obliged to do the same every time I begin an Outlander related journey and it always makes me smile. Oh, the places these shoes have been and the stories they could tell. But, then again, that’s why this blog exists.

Winging across the continent to San Diego

Once in the air, I passed the time with the inflight Internet service making sure that I didn’t miss any of the great pics coming from the lucky ComicCon attendees. I also managed to snap a couple of pictures as we crossed the desert east of San Diego.

Once I had deplaned, I hung around in baggage claim waiting for my companion for this weekend’s adventure. Soon enough, she had also arrived and we made our way to a taxi for the ride to our hotel. Thanks to the craziness that is ComicCon in San Diego and the exorbitant price of downtown hotel rooms, we are staying about 10 miles north of the downtown area—where I can use hotel points for a no cost stay. Nothing beats free! Luckily, I have the Uber app on my phone to help us get around economically.

Fish Tacos, Calamari and Mussels…oh my!

Once we settled into our hotel, our thoughts quite naturally turned to food as neither of us had eaten much all day.  We decided to head downtown to the Gaslamp District for some food, so I put my trust Uber app to use and within 4 minutes Scott had shown up to take us downtown. Turns out Scott was a retired TWA airline pilot who drives for Uber to stay out of his wife’s hair. She told him he had to stop hanging around the house so much after he ate some wine and cheese destined for his wife’s book club. And, get this, the book that was going to be discussed at that meeting was A Breath of Snow and Ashes. You just can’t ever get too far from an Outlander reference, can you? I’m sure his wife is going to be very jealous when he tells her of the two girls he carted around today who are going to the premiere tomorrow evening.

Another strong point in Scott’s favor is that he pointed us to the Bay Park Fish Company for their 3-6 pm Happy Hour. Marisa and I gorged ourselves on Fish tacos with Mahi Mahi, Mussels steamed in coconut milk and lemongrass, as well as Kung Pao calamari. Everything was splendid. Scott even hung around the area so he would be available to take us back to the hotel to rest up before a night on the town. Can’t be out too late though! Lots to do tomorrow and we’ll need to be well rested.

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The Big Day is coming…

Tomorrow is D-day! I’ll catch you up on any of tonight’s activities worth mentioning and have extensive coverage of all the events at the Outlander Premiere. People keep asking me what I’m looking forward to most. Obviously, I’m very excited to actually see the first episode and all of the cast plus Ron and Diana. But even more than that, I think I’m most looking forward to is the live performance by Bear McCreary of some of the music for the Outlander series.

For those of you who may not have seen it, Bear recently published a piece on his website titled “Outlander Fans’ Guide to My Music” where he details some of the steps in his life and career that have led him to this project. It is obvious from reading it that he truly has a passion for the music of the era Outlander encompasses. I can’t wait to hear more from him as he has promised as many blog posts during the Outlander season as living with a newborn baby will allow.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling things are going to be verra exciting tomorrow!

View of Centre Hallway House

I climbed a hill and lost 200 years but where is Jamie?

Mea culpa…

Hmm. Maybe I should have thought twice about committing to writing blog posts while I was on vacation.  I seem to be getting a bit lax about deadlines as the vacation progresses. I guess it’s a good thing no one enforces the deadlines but me. :-)

Anyway, when last we met I was looking forward to visiting The Highland Village Museum (An Clachan Gàidhealach) at Iona in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. I am happy to report that I had a spectacular visit on a beautiful sunny day last week. The Village is spread across a hill overlooking the great Bras d’Or inland sea but the views before you even enter the village proper are just spectacular. I was also presented with immediate opportunities to test my Gàidhlig comprehension (I give myself a B+).

A Journey Begins…

Once I paid for my admission ticket, I began my journey through the history of Cape Breton settlement. There weren’t any stones but I still managed to lose over 200 years as I climbed the tree-shaded path up the hill. I wonder if I will find Jamie?

The first habitation on my tour is a Black House—or An Taigh Dubh in Gàidhlig. This is the type of dwelling that many Scottish emigrants left in Scotland when they moved across the Atlantic to Nova Scotia. As I stepped into the hazy darkness of the single room lit only by a peat fire, I was greeted by it’s resident—a shepherd who tended his lordship’s flocks. He apologized for the clutter, as he was in the final stages of preparing to move across the Great Sea to join his wife and children who had already left. He was very interested to hear if I had any first-hand information about the new land of Nova Scotia. I tried to channel my best inner Claire (a character in Outlander for the uninitiated) and make a few comments without prophesying like Cassandra. ;-)

A trifle gratefully, I made my escape from the Black House and move further up the hill toward the first habitations of the Scots in the new world of Cape Breton.

An alien land…

Continuing up the hill, I paused to speak to some other new residents—Heiland Coos!

Once passed the coos, I entered the realm of the first Scots in Nova Scotia. The first thing the Scots had to do when they arrived was clear the great forests that covered their new home. As those of you who are familiar with the Scottish Highlands may realize, this was quite a change from the deforested landscape most of them had left. In fact, many of them had only carried a single axe head on their voyage and had to craft a handle for that before it could even be used.

However, once they did manage to get some trees felled, they were able to build dwellings for themselves and their animals. Entering the log cabin, I was greeted by a frontierswoman—in Gaelic!  I answered her ‘Ciamar a tha sibh?’ with ‘Glè mhath.’ I fancy she was a bit surprised but I don’t think even I could butcher the pronunciation of that too badly. Pleasantries exchanged, she was happy to show me around her humble home.

Prosperity beckons…

Exiting the Log Cabin (Taigh-logaichean), I made my way forward in time to the house of a slightly more prosperous farmer who owned a center-chimney house. This dwelling was a vast improvement over the log cabin. It had painted walls, a hardwood floor and actual partitioned rooms—all clustered around a central fireplace that provided not only for cooking but also the heat for the entire house. Also, many of the rooms served more than one function. You will note in one of the pictures below that the living room is set up for a milling frolic where they waulk the wool to make the cloth softer and more durable. An interesting note about waulking wool—in Scotland waulking was done exclusively by women but in Nova Scotia it was done by women and men. Personally, I think the men just didn’t want to be left out of the singing and gossiping that were part of any Cape Breton function. For all you Outlander fans, I have heard that there may be a waulking scene in Outlander!

After leaving the previous house, I ventured into the church that has served the community for hundreds of years. One of the things I have noticed since I first began coming to Cape Breton almost 15 years ago, is that every community seems to have set aside the piece of land with the best view for their church, and this was no exception.

Leaving the church situated on the high ground, I descended into a Cape Breton village of roughly the 19th century time period. I stopped to peek into a Centre Hallway house from about 1865 and admired the brand new cook-stove. Such a time-saver for the farmer’s wife.

Tentative steps…

After the 1865 house, I walked past the Village School and then stepped into a turn-of-the-century General Store. This is where I got very brave. Not only did I answer the Storekeeper’s ‘Ciamar a tha sibh’ query with ‘Glè mhath,’ but I even ventured a further comment on the weather—’Tha e glè briagh an-diugh!’  Smugly I thought to myself—Àdham would be so proud—unfortunately, however, the storekeeper took this to mean I spoke Gaelic fluently and unleashed a torrent of Gaelic at me. Luckily, she quickly interpreted my panicked deer-in-the-headlights look correctly and switched back to English. We did have a lovely conversation though about how I came to speak even a little Gaelic and I took the opportunity to tell her about a new upcoming television series called Outlander. ;-)

I finally found Jamie…

Next up on my path through the village was the Blacksmith’s Shop. And guess what!! I finally found Jamie. Ok, so maybe he’s not a six-foot four-inch Highland Scot with red hair, but he does speak Gaelic and has a useful skill! I took a few pictures and a quick video of him at work making nails. (And just maybe had a brief flashback to a certain scene in MOBY).

The last stop on my tour of the Highland Village Museum was a turn of the 20th century house. These are the types of houses still much in evidence in many places on Cape Breton. In this house, modern appliances such as stoves, washing machines and ice cream churns are starting to be seen. As I concluded my tour, I stopped to read the signboard about the 21st century Gaels in Cape Breton and also to make a purchase in the gift shop. I’ve never yet experienced anything easy about Gaelic but I’m hopeful this little book will live up to its cover.

I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this tour through the Cape Breton Highland Village museum with me. If you are ever in Cape Breton—and I sincerely hope you will visit—be sure to stop by. You can find all the details about planning a visit at their website: Highland Village Museum

Final note…

I also wanted to take a moment to congratulate Linda Schultz (@lsdragonfly1) on winning the first ever GreatScot! giveaway. I know that the signed first edition copy of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood and the Outlander poster will have a wonderful home—just as soon as I’m home long enough to mail it!

Stay tuned for the next post all about my visit to the Gaelic College (Colaisde na Gàidhlig) where I see a man about a kilt, observe a waulking demonstration and listen to some fine fiddling from a former Premier of Nova Scotia!

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How to Speak Outlander Lesson 12: Tha Gaol Agam Ort, Cape Breton and the Giveaway

With anticipation of the Outlander premier episode on August 9th reaching fever pitch, I have only just now realized that the series beginning will also mark the end of some of our beloved pre-show traditions. Starz has called this to our attention with the release of the final ‘How to Speak Outlander’ video. However, if this series of videos featuring Àdhamh, Sam and others has to end, what a way to go out! I predict the ringtones and notifications of Outlanders worldwide are changing right now.

How to Speak Outlander Lesson 12: Tha Gaol Agam Ort

Wow! As final episodes go, this one is a keeper. Who among us hasn’t wanted to hear ‘my love is upon you’ from Jamie Fraser?  I think Sam must have a secret though, there’s a definite gleam in his eye at the end of this video. I wonder how long he’ll keep it? Until August 9th maybe?

Meanwhile in Cape Breton…

I have been having tons of fun in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. So far I have attended a Celtic square dance and made a visit to the Highland Village museum at Iona.  I promise that I am working on a blog post that will even have videos, but I have to find some better Internet connectivity before I can upload them! In the meantime, here are some quick pictures to tide you over.

And don’t forget…

Only 4 more days to enter the first ever GreatScot! giveaway. Click here to enter!

Cabot Trail

The next best thing to Scotland…Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (oh, and the Outlander Premiere)

In my mind, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is the next best thing to Scotland and that’s where I’ll be for the next couple of weeks. Although GreatScot! blog posts may be a little more infrequent than usual, rest assured that I will keeping an eye out for interesting tidbits to post from time to time during my vacation.

For those who may not be familiar with Cape Breton Island, it is an island at the northern tip of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. As it was largely settled by Highland Scots emigrants, Cape Breton has a rich Gàidhlig history and many aspects of that culture are still evident today. The Celtic musical tradition is especially strong and there are still places where Gàidhlig is routinely spoken. I’m looking forward to the chance to practice my limited Gàidhlig vocabulary and see if anyone can understand me.

Here are a few pictures I took from my trip last year and a video from a music festival that I attended at Colaisde na Gàidhlig (The Gaelic College).

By the way, I found out yesterday that I am indeed attending the Outlander Premiere in San Diego on July 25, so readers can definitely look forward to Great Scot! blog posts covering the event. I’m very excited to be meeting more Outlanders and having the chance to see both the first Outlander episode and attend the Q&A panel with Ron, Diana, Sam, Caitriona, Tobias, Graham and Lotte.

Stay tuned, exciting times ahead!

In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the inaugural GreatScot! giveaway. Click here to enter.

 

 

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As Promised, the first Great Scot! giveaway is here…

As followers of Great Scot! know, I recently had the opportunity to attend the Outlander Retreat in Seattle hosted by Random House for the launch of MOBY. If you missed them, you can catch up on my experiences at the event by checking out the following blog posts:

I love it when a Clan comes together, Outlander Retreat Day 1

Thar She Blows – A Day full of MOBY – Outlander Retreat Main Event Part 1

From Savory Meat Pies to Starz in My Eyes – Outlander Retreat Main Event Part 2

All Mixed Up and Sitting on Top of the World – Outlander Retreat Main Event Part 3

As a result of attending the event though, I was able to pick up a few excellent items and am making these items part of the inaugural Great Scot! giveaway: A signed first edition, first printing of Written in My Own Heart’s Blood and a 17″x11″ Key Art poster for the Outlander TV series on Starz.

This giveaway is open to US and international residents. It starts on June 30 at 8:30 am and will end at midnight on July 14.

For more details and to enter, click here.