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.

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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.

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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!

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Slàn leat an-dràsta!

 

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GreatScot! Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 6

So today started a bit earlier today with a threesome for breakfast. During conversation, we decided that since we only had Lu for a bit longer we would spend the day playing tourist in Glasgow city centre. The best way to do that would utilize the Hop on/Hop Off city tour offered. My mom and I often use these kind of tours when we travel to new cities. It’s a great way to get your bearings in an unfamiliar city and figure out what sites to go back and visit. It also provides transportation between the sites.

Breakfast done, we got our discount vouchers from the concierge desk at the hotel and went down to the convenient bus stop to wait for the tour bus which arrived fairly quickly. With a quick glance up at the sky — it was more sunny than cloudy — we decided we would chance sitting upstairs in the uncovered portion of the double-decker bus. Taking our seats, the bus pulled away and we started our circuit.

After zipping past the first few stops such as the Glasgow Transportation Museum, we alighted at the Kelvingrove Art Museum. Entering and making a donation, we wandered through the galleries looking at the treasures within. We admired the works of the Glasgow Boys as well as Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. We also listened to a bit of the free organ concert performed on the grand pipe organ in the 2 story atrium.

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I think the Kelvingrove needs to update!

After a quick stop in the Kelvingrove cafe for a cuppa, we made our way back out to the tour bus stop to find that it is now raining. However, sun is visible in the distance, so all is not lost. Back on the bus, I managed to snap some lovely pics of the bowls lawns next to the museum as well as a shot of the Kelvingrove and the University of Glasgow. We also made our way past the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the alma mater of one Sam Heughan.

 

We departed the bus once again at George Square to sneak a peek at another Outlander filming location. Lu and I posed in front of the same archway where Frank and Claire dashed through to get married at the Registry Office. That box ticked, we also made our way to the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art and I took some pics of the statue with the requisite orange cone on its head.

Unfortunately by this time, we needed to get Lu back to the hotel to grab her bag and make her way to the train station for the trip home. After some final hugs and farewells, Lu left and I settled in for a solo night. I passed the time eating dinner in the lounge bar and people watching. My steak and salad were excellent, but all to soon I was sleepy and headed up to bed.

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures. I have no idea what they will be as I have not planned ahead at all.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

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Great Scot! Outlandish Mutual Appreciation Society – 2nd Outlandish Adventure – Day 3

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.

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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!

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Great Scot! More than one ‘Clan’ comes together – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 2

This blog may be even shorter than yesterday. Much of that may be because I slept like the dead from the time I finished last night’s blog post until almost 10 am this morning. I finally did drag myself out of bed, feeling very much refreshed, just in time to grab breakfast in the hotel restaurant with Deborah. After that, we packed our stuff and checked out.

I dropped Deb off at her car and then headed north to Pitlochry. That will be my home base for the weekend before heading back to Glasgow next week. Sitting down in comfort, I did a quick technology check to make sure all was working for the all important Outlander viewing in the morning. After some fiddling, everything appears to be working but I’ll keep my fingers crossed until morning, just in case.

Tech check done, I performed a quick wardrobe change and headed across the mountain from Pitlochry to Crieff.  It was a lovely drive through misty rain. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to take some pictures and post them. After a 45 minute drive, I arrived at the lovely Crieff Hydro — a Victorian built hotel and spa. I very quickly started running into friends, old and new, all there for the Outlandish UK Gathering.

Pretty soon it was time for dinner, but first, there was a very special pre-dinner entertainment. None other that Outlander world-famous street musicians Clanadonia, fresh from the streets of Glasgow. All the attendees gathered round to watch — and some ended up becoming part of the performance — as the band rocked the venue.  After several rousing numbers, Clanadonia ended with their smash hit ‘Hamsterheid’– a smash hit partly in that it was featured during the chase scene in Episode 101 – Sassenach.

At this point, many of you have probably noticed something missing in this blog post…pictures. I accidentally left my cell phone in the car and didn’t have it to take pictures with this evening. But don’t worry, I’ll have both the phone and my camera to take pics tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what the Outlandish UK Gathering organizers have in store for us. I’m already pretty sure my credit card balance won’t be safe after shopping at the Outlander Fayre!

In the meantime, do enjoy this video I made of Clanadonia that I was able to make with my handy Surface 3. I sure wish the quality was better but you’ll get the feel. :-(

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After a lovely buffet dinner, the Outlander clan settled in for some Outlandish Trivia. 5 rounds later, three tables were engaging in a tie-breaker for the overall win, but alas, my table was not among them. Why couldn’t I remember William Ransom’s FULL name and title. ;-) Knowing I had a bit of a drive and an early call tomorrow morning, I headed out for home.

In the car, I marveled that even so late in the evening it wasn’t quite dark yet. Pretty sure the sun will be up very early tomorrow (as will I). I made my way back across the Sma’ Glen, keeping a sharp eye out for rabbits, deer and other cars. Have to tell you that the rabbits far outnumbered the other 2. Arrived home safe and sound and now ready to catch some sleep before my very early alarm goes off.

More to come tomorrow!

Slàn leat àn-drasta!