The Starz hit television series Outlander, based on the eight-book series from Diana Gabaldon, premiered on August 9, 2014, and shows no sign of slowing down.
Outlander follows World War II combat nurse Claire Beachump Randall as she passes through a cleft in the stone circle at Craigh na Dun near Inverness and finds herself in 18th century Scotland. Claire meets James (Jamie) Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser after a horrific encounter with Captain “Black” Jack Randall (spoiler alert) a supposed ancestor of her 20th century husband, Frank Randall. Jamie takes Claire to Castle Leoch, home to Colum MacKenize, his uncle and head of the MacKenzie clan. Through unforeseen circumstances, Claire must marry Jamie to save her from the clutches of Captain Jack Randall.
While Claire arrived in 18th century Scotland through ancient stones, travel by airplane will suffice. Pack warm clothes, such as jeans, sweaters and socks. To climb and walk the mountains, bring good walking shoes and/or hiking boots. For a night out at a nice restaurant, women can’t go wrong with the LBD (little black dress) and snappy shoes. Men can dress in a suit or dress slacks, shoes, shirt and sports coat. Of course, most everyone wears casual clothes at the pubs.
Although Claire encounters much drama throughout her travels in the Highlands of Scotland, you can aspire to experience fun-filled and peaceful travel. No need to worry about encountering a raving lunatic of a captain or being forced to marry someone against your will, no matter how good looking. Leave the drama at home. Let the journey begin!
1. Inverness. Visit Inverness and receive a friendly welcome. Locals like to speak Gaelic; learn a few key words and phrases, such as Halò (Hello), Madainn mhath (mahteen vah) (Good Morning), Feasgar math (fesgur mah) (Good Afternoon), Oidhche mhath (oykah vah) (Good Night) and Is mise ... (Iss mi-shuh ...) (I Am). Wander through Inverness Castle, the setting for William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Shop at the Victorian Market and Eastgate Centre.
2. Loch Ness. With its close proximity to Inverness, Loch Ness and “Nessie”, the Loch Ness Monster, have been mystifying writers, researchers, and travelers for years. You’ll have to read the Outlander book series and/or watch the TV show to find out if Claire and Jamie come face-to-face with “Nessie”. For a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster, take a boat ride on the loch (lake) or go for a relaxing walk.
3. Glenfinnan Monument and Visitor Center. The Jacobite rising began in Glenfinnan in 1745; the Glenfinnan Monument was built to commemorate the Jacobite clansmen who fought alongside Bonnie Prince Charlie. At the Visitor Center, learn the history of the Jacobite uprising, one of the most significant times in Scottish history.
4. Fort William. Known as “The Garrison,” Fort William lies on the shores of Loch Linnhe, has a population of around 10,000 and is west of Glenfinnan. The area is home to Ben Nevis and other nearby Munros (mountains). With outdoor activities, such as hillwalking, climbing, skiing, snowboarding, rafting, canyoneering, fly-fishing and mountain biking, staying in shape while traveling won’t be a problem.
A visit to the highlands would not be complete without a round of golf. Even if you’re a beginner, do not let that stop you from stepping onto courses that have been etched into land that has been walked upon by historical figures from Robert the Bruce to William Wallace and fictional characters Jamie Fraser and Claire Beachamp Randall.
Experience the Highlands of Scotland and everything it has to offer. Chat with the locals and you won’t be seen as an Outlander for long.