We know that some of you have been an impatient bunch of Heughligans and Sassenachs and have been at loss since Outlander abruptly ended last summer, or maybe – and I sympathise with you – the show has only just premiered recently in your country. If you’re UK-based, today is the day (26 March)! But…
You’ve binge-watched the TV series already.
You know your favourite lines word for word.
You’ve tried virtually everything to make the waiting time for next season more bearable, including attempting to learn Gaelic in preparation for any chance encounters of falling through the standing stones yourself.
If this all is sounding familiar, you’ve entered the dreadful Droughtlander stage and are most likely suffering from Outlander withdrawal symptoms. Don’t worry though – or dinnae fash yersel as they would say – we have got just the cure for you.
Check out our 10 ideas and suggestions on how you can satisfy your hunger for all things Outlandish till the doors to Castle Leoch reopen soon. You may enjoy some of them from the comfort of your own home, and treat the others as an inspiration to plan your visit to Scotland.
Read on and the wait should be over in no time; you can thank us later! If nothing more, by the time you finish reading this article you will be around 10 minutes closer to watching your beloved characters grace your television screens again. So, that’s a win-win situation already!
1. Relax with a dram of Scotch whisky
Beside the occasional mentions of water from springs and wines, whisky must be easily the most popular tipple in the Outlander series. Treat your palate to the distinctive flavours of Scotland’s national drink and learn to appreciate the characteristic differences between distilleries. Why not start with a Glenfiddich single malt, the whisky Claire and Frank sampled after Frank witnessed the ghost of Jamie looking up at Claire in the first episode?
2. Find a comfort in delicious haggis
Haggis was a popular dish in Jamie’s time and is probably as close to 18th century food as you can get. The wild and roaming nature of Highlanders in the past required food that would not spoil quickly so it was common to carry a small bag of oatmeal that could be transformed into a basic meal by, for example, combining it with a small amount of meat, often carried in an inexpensive bag or sheep’s stomach. Nowadays, this delightful delicacy is Scotland’s national dish. Serve it alongside the traditional accompaniments of neeps, tatties and whisky sauce, and you’re in for a real treat.
3. Invite your friends for a Scotland-infused dinner
Get together with your fellow Outlander fans and discuss your favourite episodes over Scottish nibbles and delights. Surprise your guests by serving dishes and food that make up traditional Scottish fayre, from Cranachan and Clootie dumpling to Cullen Skink, one of Geillis’ specialities. Can you remember any other food that frequented Mrs. Fitz’ kitchen? Browse our fantastic collection of mouth-watering recipes by renowned Scottish chefs, including Outlander food stylist Justin Maule.
4. Forage for herbs
Scotland boasts a wide variety of stunning parks and gardens in the cities, countryside and castle grounds, including the beautiful period herb garden at Culross Palace in Fife which stands for the garden where Claire works in the grounds of the fictional Castle Leoch in the TV series. Uncover the fantastic range of parks and gardens in Scotland, many of which boast a fascinating collection of culinary, medical and aromatic herbs. Or, simply visit them to grab some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors.
5. Treat yourself to an out-of-the-ordinary stay
Luckily, you don’t have to fall through time like Claire did to be able to experience unusual places to stay from the bygone days. In Scotland, you can experience lodging like a king or queen by staying at a castle or a stately home, where large halls and reception rooms were once graced by royalty and the nobles of Scotland. Or choose to stay in a traditional broch, a prehistoric abode made of stone, like Broch Tuarach, also known as Lallybroch – Jamie’s family home.
6. Begin your own Gaelic-learning adventure
Try to master a few useful Gaelic phrases – it’s easier than you might think and you never know when it will come in handy! You can then put your newly-gained skill to practice when you next venture out to the Scottish Highlands – even if it’s only to charm local native speakers – or when you watch the show, so you know exactly what the characters are talking about.
7. Discover your roots
You may not know it yet, but what if you belong to the MacKenzie or Fraser clan too? There are 50 million people across the world able to lay claim to ancestral ties to Scotland, but not everyone has uncovered their connection yet. If you have family bonds and a clan history in Scotland, a trip to your clan’s homeland is an incomparable and moving experience like no other. Learn more at our ancestry pages.
8. Pick up a Scottish sport
Golfing automatically springs to mind, and very rightly so, as Scotland is The Home of Golf, and it’s one of the country’s most popular outdoor sports, as Claire notices (Outlander, Chapter One). However, if you want to recreate scenes from the series, you may want to consider fishing – not only because Jamie takes Claire trout tickling during their honeymoon, but also because Scotland is one of the world’s top destinations for freshwater and sea angling. Jamie is also often seen horse-riding with Claire and his fellow clansmen, and Scotland offers plenty fantastic scenic treks and trails too. If you are a novice rider, don’t worry! Even Sam Heughan had to learn horse-riding for this job!
9. Bag a Munro
Speaking of Sam… you may catch him in his free time wondering through the scenic landscapes of the Highlands bagging a Munro or two. Munros are mountains in Scotland over 3,000 ft (914.4 m), offering commanding views of spectacular scenery. Why not challenge yourself to climb one too? The trickier part though is that there are currently 282 Munros in Scotland, so you may need a bit of luck to bump into him, but that should not put you off from exploring them!
10. Get closer to your idols by following in their footsteps
Don’t lie: you know you want to! Check out our map of real locations that featured in the TV show and follow in Claire and Jamie’s footsteps.
Let us know if you have any burning questions about Scotland – we would be happy to assist you with planning your ultimate Outlander adventure to Scotland. After all, finding the perfect Castle Leoch to stay at is going to take time.
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Outlander the TV series is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed novels by American writer Diana Gabaldon – published in the UK as Cross Stitch. The show follows the story of Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe), a married English combat nurse from 1945 who, while on her second honeymoon in Inverness, is mysteriously swept back in time to the 18th-century Scottish Highlands. There she meets Jamie (played by Scottish actor Sam Heughan), a chivalrous young warrior, with whom she becomes romantically entwined.
To find out more about the series and its Scottish connections, go to www.visitscotland.com/outlander