If, like me, you’re a huge fan of the Outlander series (or books) and are planning a trip to Scotland, an Outlander tour is a must. I highly recommend a private tour with Gerry McMullan of Carnegie Touring. He was (is) an absolute gem, and months later I am still flying high from the experience.
When I told my father (who lives near Glasgow in Bridge of Weir) that I was thinking about checking out some Outlander filming locations, he hopped online and organized a full-day tour for my step-mum Mandy and myself.
I arrived in Glasgow on a Friday night (from L.A. via London) and awoke early (jetlag be damned!) for the Outlander tour the next morning. Just for fun, I brought along a “Wee Jamie Fraser” doll that I had fashioned back in Los Angeles. Jamie Fraser is the male lead in Outlander, and I thought it would be hilarious to photograph him at each location.
Early that morning, Dad drove us into central Glasgow where Gerry was waiting in his plush sedan. As he hopped out of his car, I noticed he was wearing tartan trousers, gorgeous CLAN FRASER tartan trousers in fact.
It wasn’t until we settled into the car, I suddenly felt a bit apprehensive about uncovering Wee Jamie Fraser, who was tucked in my travel tote. Would the tour guide think me an idiot? Would he care that I wanted to recreate scenes from the show?
Well, not only did Gerry embrace the fun, within an hour he was helping me plot the next setup and location for the former Ken doll. I gave Mandy my selfie stick for a wide-angle shot but the bluetooth failed to work so we gave up on that scenario. By afternoon the three of us had quite a laugh bringing Wee Jamie Fraser “home to Lallybroch”.
Gerry was so much more than a tour guide. As a fan of Outlander (the books AND the TV show) he knew the stories in and out, character details and history (fictional and real) of each location. Mandy and I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with him, and the tour cost was absolutely worth every cent (pence). He even arranged lunch for us at a charming village pub called The Ship Inn where we were greeted like regulars. The baby black pudding salad with goat cheese and pomegranate was a favorite (photos below).
Blackness Castle (Wentworth Prison in Outlander) was especially haunting on the beautifully dreary day. As I took Wee Jamie Fraser into the belly of the fortress, Gerry stopped me and asked me to look back. He had arranged for a lone piper to play “The Skye Boat Song” aka the Outlander theme for just Mandy and myself. It was probably a combination of jetlag and moody weather, but I was in tears as I tried to video the scene in the gentle Scottish rain.
If you’re saving up for an Outlander tour, do consider booking with Gerry at Carnegie Touring. His love for Outlander and the extra touches (more below) made it an absolutely magical day.
Outlander’s “Castle Leoch”, the seat of Clan Mackenzie (Doune Castle)
Wee Jamie Fraser is almost home! Lallybroch aka Broch Tuarach is the (fictional) family home of Jamie Fraser. In reality it’s called Midhope Castle.
But first, Gerry offers us a wee dram of scotch to toast Lallybroch.
Up close and personal. Fans of Outlander will recognize this shot at Midhope Castle aka Lallybroch.
Crispiest, lightest fish and chips. Mandy had the special of the day, pan-fried herring in an herby crust with salad.
The spectacular village of Culross in Fife, Scotland, the setting for Cranesmuir in Outlander. Gerry mentioned that the vibrant colors were original shades, not just for added scenery.
I loved these stone roads in Culross (aka Cranesmuir) and these spectacular steps too!
Geillis Duncan’s house in the fictional village of Crainsmuir.
With the fabulous Gerry in front of Culross Palace.
Tour date: 9/12/15
The price for our Private Outlander Experience Tour was £310.00 ($470) from Glasgow. £280 (currently $424 U.S.) from Edinburgh. Again, worth it for the die-hard Outlander fan.
The Ship Inn, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
(I’ll post more photos from the tour after Outlander season three airs in the U.S.!)