So…I woke up extra early this morning to watch a little TV. Everyone does that at 5 am, right? Luckily all the technology gods smiled on me and I was able to watch Outlander episode 115 – Wentworth with no problems. Hmm, maybe on second thought that wasn’t the best way to start the day. Going back to sleep afterwards wasn’t really an option either. Haven’t completely decided if that was due to the bright sunny skies or Black Jack Randall. Either way it looks like I’ll be facing the day on about 3 hours sleep. Oh well.
Since I was up (and hadn’t had a chance to stock up on any food), I headed out to Crieff bright and early…about 8 am. It was such a beautiful morning that I couldn’t keep from snapping a few pictures of Loch Faskally and the local pet pheasant.
I headed out towards Crieff and made it through at least two weather changes as I went through Sma’ Glen and by the time I arrive at the Hydro it was raining pretty good. My stomach reminded me that I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I stopped into the Winter Garden cafe for a pot of tea and a slice of millionaire’s shortbread. So maybe that wasn’t the most nutritious choice, but it sure hit the spot and the view was lovely.
After breakfast, the first item on the agenda for the UK Outlander Gathering was the morning Fayre where many vendors were set up to display and offer for sale goods based on or inspired by Outlander. There were also several areas set up with demonstrations and other goodies. More on that in a bit. The first person I had a chance to speak with was Gillebride MacMillan, otherwise known in the Outlander world as Gwyllin the Bard. I had the opportunity to meet Gillebride last October when I was last in Scotland. I screwed up my courage and greeted him a hearty ‘Ciamar a tha sibh?’ He responded that he was well and then told me that my accent was wonderful, whereupon all the other Gaelic I knew promptly left my head. Probably just as well, I mean why screw up a perfect record?
Next, I spoke with Mr. C. of Acanthus Pies who supplies the lovely meat pies to the Outlander production. We had a great time chatting and looking at the lovely pies he brought. After the Mr. C, I had a chance to talk with the lady who runs the Mary Meander Tours and Outlander Dinner experience in Linlithgow. I’m greatly looking forward to a chance to attend one of their dinners in a week or so with the Outlander Podcast girls and I expect many pics and stories will follow. Lastly, I also got an awesome hug and picture from Ronnie Goodwin who was looking mighty fine in his kilt. Ronnie, whom I had also met last fall, was one of Dougal’s Highland lads in Outlander and many of you may have caught a glimpse of him in the last episode – The Search.
Now on to the different demonstrations going on. There were several different things going on demonstration-wise. First, there was an area set up with a wool waulking table and person teaching Gaelic waulking songs. I somehow neglected to get a picture of this though. :-( I’m sure that was partly because I spent so much time looking at the Outlander Costume area. Terry Dresbach had sent several of her team members to demonstrate and talk about techniques that they used in created costumes for Outlander – including Liz Boulton who many of you likely know from Twitter. Liz talked and showed samples of several of the different embroidery techniques she used in creating costumes.
About this time, I noticed a bit of a stir near the entrance to the room we were in. I couldn’t believe who had walked in. None other than Ron Moore and Terry Dresbach, live and in the flesh. They very graciously spent the next couple of hours mingling with fans — talking, signing autographs and posing for photos. And no sooner did the shock of that wear off than I started noticing other familiar figures including Maril Davis (Co-Executive Producer), Ira Behr (Writer/Co-Producer), Toni Graphia (Writer/Co-Producer), Jon Gary Steele (Production Designer) and Michael O’Halleran (editor). All were speaking with fans and posing for pictures. I even spied a few of the Outlander Drivers as well — Kenny and Davey. I took the opportunity to speak and get a few pictures with most of them. It very much turned into a mutual appreciation society as they warmly expressed how much they appreciated all the support from Outlander Fans.
I have to take a moment a talk just a bit about Terry. As many of you may know, I help admin Terry’s blog and it is something I am very happy to do. It was so wonderful though to finally get a chance to see Terry in person and collect on the big old hug I told her was the only payment I required. As you can see from the pictures below, it was well worth the wait. I was also able to hand off the 7 lbs of stone ground grits I had brought her from the US to her designated carrier (Ron ;-) ).
Eventually, most everyone had a chance to speak and get pictures and then everyone headed upstairs for a casual lunch. After lunch, we trooped downstairs to hear talks about Jacobite history and some special presentations from Terry, Ron, Maril, Ira and Toni. It was all simply fascinating. Terry even brought some of the costumes for attendees to get an up close and personal look at.
Eventually though, the Outlander production people had to pack up and take their leave. I can say that I was thoroughly impressed not just by their willingness to come to the Gathering and share stories and experiences, but I was all very impressed by the Gathering attendees as well. Everyone one was most polite and mannerly and there was not mobbing or crowding. Everyone waited patiently for their turn for an autograph or picture. I saw Ron tweet after the event that it was the best fan event he had every been to and I have to agree. The UK Outlander Gathering attendees have done a superb job.
The last event on the day’s program was the formal dinner and Ceilidh. After a quick change of clothing for most attendees, everyone reconvened in the main meeting room to find that it had been completely transformed. Lighted candelabra adorned every table and the covered chairs had decorative plaid bows. The effect was simply stunning. Finding our seats via place cards, we enjoyed an excellent meal of Leek and Cheddar tart, Haggis stuffed chicken breast with potato and veg, and a dessert of creme brulee with shortbread cookies. Finally, hot tea and coffee service finished the meal (oh and there just happened to be some tablet on the tray as well).
Finally it was time to burn off some of the calories just consumed. Scottish band Skipinish took to the stage to play a mix of new and traditional tunes and call some Scottish Country Dances for the attendees. At this point though, my coach was most definitely about to turn into a pumpkin, so after a couple of songs, I said my goodbyes and hopped in the car for the trip back to Pitlochry. The trip was luckily uneventful except for an owl that swooped out in front of the car.
Tomorrow the plan is to head back to Glasgow for a few days of fun and mayhem. Stay tuned to see what trouble I can get way way into (and hopefully talk my way out of). ;-)
Slàn leat an-dràsta!