One of America’s biggest newspapers - USA Today - voted Scotland as the world’s best cinematic destination. This comes as no surprise as Scotland offers an unique blend of scenery and history. However, with the popular TV series Outlander being filmed on Scottish shores, it has reached a new high as tourists arrive to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and to visit the locations used to film the hit series which features a World War II nurse, Claire Randall, who finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she encounters a dashing Highland warrior, Jamie Fraser, and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.
If you want to embark on your own Outlander location tour, here’s where to start:
Doune Castle, near Stirling, stars as Castle Leoch. Historic Scotland closed it to visitors during filming but, during a break in shooting, this intrepid SCA member managed a sneak peek in which revealed that the courtyard had been brought to life with props. But, apart from this¬ – and the re-newal of some battlements – the 14th century castle was left to form a striking backdrop. Aptly, it was used by the Jacobites to house prisoners taken at Falkirk in 1746 after which it was allowed to ruin until rescued and re-roofed in the 1880s.
Blackness Castle on the Firth of Forth substitutes as Fort William. A 15th-century foundation it was refortified over the ages for coastal defence and ended its days as an ammunition depot. It was restored in the 1930s and from its walls one can admire the Forth Railway Bridge.
Linlithgow Palace is the prison where Jamie was tortured. This is a magnificent 15th-century pal-ace, the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots but now a roofless ruin after its burning by the Duke of Cumberland in 1746.
Aberdour Castle on the Fife coast is the location for the monastery where Jamie is nursed back to health. The castle’s kitchen and long gallery were used for filming.
Midhope Tower, Lothian, is the scene of Jamie’s barbaric whipping. This is a 16th-century tower house, long-neglected but now repaired and occupied. It is not, unfortunately, open to the public.
Culross, Fife, is the home of Geillis Duncan and Arthur. Culross comes as close as one can get to the 16th century and its cobbled streets have been the location for several films.
The second series will again feature Culross but new locations will include Dysart and Balgonie Castle in the east together with Glasgow Cathedral, Pollok Park and the Isle of Skye in the west.
Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.