May 26 031

GreatScot! Rents, Rocks and Reverence – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 14

Slept in until the grand late hour of 8 am before heading north for the day’s touring. Unfortunately we miscalculated just a bit and arrive at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore about half an hour before they actually opened. We took the opportunity to catch a couple of more winks in the car.

Refreshed, we made our donation at the entry gate and made our way through the woods to the 18th century reconstructed village used in Outlander episode 105 – Rent. We were so quick getting to it that the costumed interpreter hadn’t even had time to get all the peat fires going. We spent our time investigating all the different houses, barns and sheds. Unlike my last trip though, there were no redcoats to be seen.

After concluding our visit, we headed further north on the A9 towards Culloden. I had made my first visit there last October but Drumossie Moor was just as powerful the second time, although at least it was a bit warmer this go round. I also still cried in the Battlefield Experience.

After our reverent time at Culloden, we made our way over the short distance to Clava Cairns to ramble among the stones and cairns. We took the requisite reenactment photos, but now we can create two versions. One with the cleft stone that matches the description in the Outlander novel and one of the flat stones to reenact the show version of Craig Na Dun.

All attempts to use the stones to find Jamie Fraser unsuccessful, we headed to Inverness City Centre, stopping at Tesco’s along the way to top off the petrol. So happy that fuel is much cheaper this time than it was when I was here last October. Even at 700+ miles to a tank, the cost adds up. We arrived in at city centre to discover that flood works had streets all messed up, so I chose to park in the one lot I knew about near the Cathedral and then we walked back down the riverfront to The Waterside Restaurant to dine with a selection of the Inverness Outlanders. It was awesome to see Sinead, Julie, Angie and Lisa and much fun and conversation was had.

The final stop of the evening was to stop in at Tesco’s for some essentials and I took the opportunity to buy a lottery ticket. It’s all part of my retire to Scotland plan, and I had these numbers given to me by a lad. On the way back to the car, we spied a rainbow! Surely that’s a good sign.

 

At the end of a long day, we drove back to Pitlochry to rest up for the next day’s adventure. Stay tuned!

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

May 25 006

GreatScot! How many miles would you drive for Outlander? 2nd Outlandish Adventure – Day 12

Got a bright and early start today. The lovely Miss Stephenie took the train up to join us for the day, so we picked her up at the train station and hit the road to see just how many Outlander film sights we could hit in one day. I was very excited as most of these were not locations I had seen before.

First up was Craig na Dun. The great part about Steph being with us is that she tells me when I need to turn. The down side is that I usually don’t know how to get back to places (just as Lu how long it took to find the West Kirk), so don’t ask me exactly how to get there, but we did find that actual location used to film Craig na Dun in Outlander. The standing stones were long gone as they were only brought in for filming, but it was still pretty magical to be able to walk up the same hill that Claire, Frank and Sam did for the show. I wonder if they had to dodge all the same sheep dung we did, or if there is some poor intern somewhere in charge of sheep sh*t removal. I don’t think the hill looks as big in real life as it does on TV, but we spent plenty of time examining it. Summer even found a rock to sit on in contemplation. That or she had frozen solid waiting for us to finish taking pictures. It was just a bit windy and cold!

Next up was a drive to the Rest and Be Thankful rest stop. We think this is the location used for the photo shoot used for the Key Art posters. We would have been happy (and thankful) to have rested, but as we neared the car park, we started to see little signs pointing to base unit. We looked at each other (well, I didn’t really look since I was driving) and said ‘Nah…what are the chances.’, but sure enough, the car park had been closed because it was being used as the base unit for some film crew. After some surreptitious sleuthing and a consultation with the expert, we were fairly certain that the film crew in question was not for Outlander. When we finally found someone to ask, we were told it was for a BBC Comedy. We’ll be on the lookout though, just in case. Regardless, we had to content ourselves with photos from a random layby.

At this point, we stopped for a quick bite to eat in Arrochar and then headed south along the ‘bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond’ towards our next filming site. Unfortunately though, Dunmore Park (site of the WWII hospital) is no longer accessible. After some quick research on our phones, we discovered that the site is being approved for restoration. I’m pretty happy to hear that because it is a lovely shell of a building. While investigating, we were asked if we needed help by a lovely Scottish farmer, so the trip was not completely wasted. ;-)

Next stop was Preston Mill. We navigated southwards, very thankful that we were not in the queue of people trying to make it back into Edinburgh at the end of a Bank Holiday weekend. Not hampered by traffic we arrived at the sight of the infamous mill-pond. We thought Jamie might need a towel. ;-) We enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine and poked around the exterior as the site was already closed for the day.

Taking advantage of the long Scottish evening, we managed to squeeze in one more location for the day. The ‘Tearing my guts out, Claire’ scene was filmed not too far from Preston Mill at the spectacularly beautiful Roslin Glen. After parking the car, we hiked deep into the Glen to find the magical spot by the river where Jamie and Claire had the go at each other. The site is an old gunpowder mill and you can still find tons of pottery shards from the 18th and 19th centuries down by the water.

Our day’s touring complete, we dropped Steph off at the bus stop back to Edinburgh, and began to make our way north. After a much-needed pit stop at McDonalds for a toilet, french fries and some wi-fi, we made our way along the highway viewing the ever-changing and most spectacular sunset I think I have ever seen. Ginger tried to take some pics and video. If they turned out well, I’ll try to post them. I’ve truly never seen anything like it.

Arriving home at last, I put that final tally for the day’s driving at about 350 miles. All in a day’s work for an Outlander fan. ;-) Ready for rest, I had a quick Skype with Mom and then enjoyed a spot of Outlander Kitchen’s Atholl Brose recipe and a peanut butter cookie. It’s good to know an Outlandish Baker.

WP_20150525_22_27_50_Pro

Tomorrow, we’re off to Inverness and plan to hit Newtonmore Highland Folk Museum, Culloden, and Clava Cairns before meeting up with some of the Inverness Outlanders for dinner.

Stay tuned.

Slàn leat an-dràsta.

AberdourFalklandCulross 022

GreatScot! How Much Is That Jamie in the Window? – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 11

Hit the ground running for our first of several days of racing from one Outlander filming location to another. We started the day however at the local Co-op. A great benefit of having a house is that we can save some money by making some of our own food and keeping provisions in the car in case we don’t have time to stop and eat. Summer even got a haggis that she plans to cook in the oven (more on that later).

Shopping done, we headed south to Aberdour Castle.  This was one of my favorite stop last October and I couldn’t wait to show it off to the girls. I’m pretty sure that Summer must be related to Candida, because no sooner had I stopped the car than she was out and off. G and I stopped to buy her an entry ticket in hopes of keeping her out of the clink! The super friendly person working confirmed my memories from last year regarding the locations that were used by the Outlander production: the stable block, Long Gallery and Old Kitchen.

We haven’t yet seen Aberdour on any of the episodes that have aired, so our suspicions that Aberdour is being used for the Abbey are likely correct. I think I may have even spied the Stable Block in the preview for episode 116. Will find out next weekend for sure!

After Aberdour, we headed over to Falkland to immerse ourselves in make-believe Inverness. It was there we noticed a trend developing. There were PocketJamie’s in several windows. Believing it might be some kind of Outlander fan distress call, we popped in to make sure all was well. Much relieved, we took the required photos in GhostJamie pose and then popped in to Campbell’s for a spot of lunch. G and I were unable to make up our minds, so we split everything we ordered while S looked on smugly drinking her cappuccino.

Next, we headed to Culross, where in a time honored tradition of traveling with me, we arrive 6 minutes past last entry for the Culross Palace and Gardens (where outside Castle Leoch scenes were filmed between Claire and Geillis). We contented ourselves with a few peeks over the wall and up the hill and then vowed to find time to come back later in the week. We did walk up to Mercat Cross and I was finally able to snap a few pics of the Duncan house without all the scaffolding that was on it last October. We then made our way out-of-town to the West Kirk, my absolutely favorite Outlander film location so far. I wasn’t brave enough to try to drive the car quite all the way to the Kirk this time though after hearing a story of someone dislodging their gas tank. Braving the whipping winds, we walked the last quarter-mile or so.

Beginning to fade, we made our way back home for the evening. We need to rest up a bit for a full day of chasing Outlander locations with our favorite medieval PhD student and Outlandish Baker, Steph, especially since goodies have been promised! We made a couple of pit stops to fill up the car with petrol and get the ingredients for a special something to celebrate our success with tomorrow evening. Wonder which Outlander Kitchen recipe it could possibly be? Stay tuned!

WP_20150524_19_34_38_Pro

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

 

WP_20150523_12_08_58_Pro

GreatScot! Sunshine and Smiles – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 10

We woke up after a lovely night’s sleep and leisurely made our way to breakfast in the hotel where Summer had her first opportunity to try haggis. I think she actually liked it! After breakfast, we headed out to spend some time walking around Glasgow on such a warm and sunny day!

After a bit of a walk, Summer decided she couldn’t go another step without coffee and I am a sucker for anywhere that says patisserie, so we stopped into Valerie’s and had both!

WP_20150523_12_24_22_Pro

Refueled, we spent the next several hours wandering along Buchanan and Sauchiehall streets enjoying the glorious weather, stopping into Boots for some items and enjoying all the buskers out entertaining.

We managed to spend a few moments catching up with Susan, who was just getting ready to head out on another tour. It was funny to see the Americans traveling light and the local dragging a big suitcase behind her for a change. ;-)

Meetups being the order of the day, we also had a chance to catch up with a bonny lad by the name of Richard Rankin. Even funnier, when we were scoping out a good place for the visit, we ran into Clanadonia, a local Celtic music group grabbing coffee before more hit and run performing.

No sooner did Richard have to run, than we heard from another local friend wanting to know if we were free for dinner. They were at a local restaurant called Mussel Inn. Those of you who know me well, know that I was all in as soon as the word mussel was mentioned! We walked the 2 blocks over and then spent the next couple of hours eating delicious food, enjoying great conversation and pretty much laughing our heads off. Thanks so much Eilidh and Peter!

After bidding Eilidh and Peter a fond farewell (or at least a see you later), we walked back to the hotel in a light mist (rain is never far away in Scotland) and piled into the car for the drive north. Even though the hour was a bit late, we made it to Pitlochry with no problems.

Our last thing for the day was a midnight online hangout between Outlander Podcast and Great Scot blog. We had a blast doing a video hangout and chatting with people online about their favorite parts of the Outlander season, so far. So I guess I have now made my Internet debut. I blame the lateness of the hour or I probably would never have done it in my right mind. ;-)

Finally, it was time to drop exhausted into bed. Stay tuned to see what we can get into next!

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

Culzean Castle

GreatScot! Sunshine and Palms…Wait! Am I Still in Scotland? 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 7

Today I woke up to a lovely sunny morning. My hotel room overlooks the River Clyde and the Glasgow Science Center.

After admiring the view, I set off with my companion for the days adventure. I had consulted with Susan Brown, tour guide extraordinaire, for the perfect day trip for a sunny Scottish day and she suggested Culzean Castle, so we jumped in the car and away we went. Culzean was just over an hour’s drive through motorways, highways and rural roads.

Arriving at the Castle, I again used my National Trust for Historic Preservation membership from the US to get into a National Trust for Scotland property. That is looking like the best $20 I ever spent as I have already saved about $36 in visits to just 2 properties. Once that was done, we made our way through the country park towards the Castle car park.

First up was tea and coffee. I have learned through my travels that any Castle is best tackled with plenty of caffeine, so we popped into the cafe at the visitor centre for a quick cuppa…and a scone. Thus fortified, we made our way back along the walking path, through throngs of small school children accompanied by teachers who are way braver than I am, to the Castle itself.

Culzean Castle is similar to many castles in Scotland in that it has been modernized several times during its history. Although foundations and parts are old, much of what you see is that 18th century creation of renowned architect Robert Adam and he did a simply stunning design. The house and  gardens are just spectacular.

After the more posh parts of the Castle, we descended the stairs into the nether regions and it was just like stepping into Downton Abbey as we entered the surprisingly bright kitchens.

Finished with the castle proper, we ventured outside to explore a bit of the grounds. Someone might have told me stories of climbing up the rocks on the back side of the Castle to get in as a child. ;-)

Our visit complete, we hopped back in the car and returned to Glasgow, well pleased with our day in the country.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!