During my holiday in Scotland I went to Boat of Garten in the Cairngorms National Park. I decided to do a walking holiday and tour the countryside which provided Outlander inspiration for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander saga. My guide was from Scot Mountain Holidays. I told him of my keen interest in the Jacobite rebellion and what happened to the Highlanders who fought for Bonny Prince Charlie after the Battle of Culloden.
Being a connoisseur of the area he took me on a historic day trek through an 18th century village where I saw layouts of old black houses and kilns while tracing beaten carriage tracks. I was shown various medicinal, poisonous, and culinary plants relevant to the people of the time and Outlander’s heroine who delves into Scottish botany.
We spotted a tawny owl who flew by not ten feet in front of us. I tasted a juniper berry with the the richness of gin. I sniffed the vibrant yellow broom wafting of coconut, and took in the spicy scent of bog myrtle used at the time to flavour beers.
We saw two majestic golden eagles floating in circles together on a high wind!
But the most exciting part of our adventure was John Roy Stuart’s cave, a Jacobite rebel and close ally of the Bonny Prince. Andy described his rise as Jacobite leader to eventual fall as a “rebel”. We crouched inside the cave in which he hid from the Red Coats for years after his exile, and discussed what life would have been like at the time.
If ever there was a moment I felt close to James Fraser, this was it!
Stuart even had a young boy who ran him supplies (wee Fergus?) and narrowly escaped death many times. Standing in this place brought a sense of the real history, drama, intrigue and very thorough research by Gabaldon to ground her story in places and situations that happened to real people. I was given the gift of seeing first hand the evidence of their lives.
My hosts took me to the Culloden Battlefield and Visitors Centre. We saw a panoramic video re-enactment of the battle which is very impactful, and got an in depth immersion into the history told by eye witnesses and historical accounts. Plaques made reference to John Roy Stewart’s contribution.
We also saw commemorations to the various clans which had lost members during the battle, including the Frasers.
Being able to learn more about Jacobites and the history which informed the Outlander series was truly fascinating. I look forward to seeing more of Scotland’s history through walking its landscapes, and there’s no better guides and base for it than in the Cairngorms with the warm and knowledgeable hosts at Froach Lodge.
May 2016 was the month for the west coast to shine. The two weeks we picked to take our guests on an exploration of Skye and Knoydart proved Andy’s method of following UK weather singularities as guidelines for our trips really pays dividends in seizing optimal conditions; it was glorious wall-to-wall sunshine – no one had brought enough sunscreen, t-shirts or shorts.
We set off from Boat of Garten around lunchtime with a quick detour to Aviemore station for the first of our scheduled pick-ups, then we were on to Inverness airport. (Multiple pick-up options offer the most flexible transport to our clients.) We then traveled to Skye and met the last of our guests in Sligachan; they were already on the isle.
Itineraries and payments were arranged in advance, leaving the guests to travel stress free over accommodation, food and guiding. We arranged a comfortable cottage for the group and Rebecca created and catered the menu. Late evening meals were always an option so guests needn’t worry over hotel dinner hours. We are happy to do this, as we did on Skye, as some evenings all were more interested in enjoying the glorious hilltop weather before heading back to eat.
The walkers and climbers were able to concentrate on their activity while the support team (Rebecca and Gregor) took care of the food and pick-ups for linear routes, ensuring everyone’s comfort and satisfaction, because as a team we are always focused on exceeding expectations!
Price: £845 Hillwalkers; £915 Munro-baggers.
Number of days: 7 nights on the Isle of Skye; once a year offer.
Accommodation: Self-catering cottage (all meals prepared by your hosts).
Achievement: 12 Munros.
Guides: 2 Instructors.
Our menu included (sample): Spiced beef and bashed beans. Salmon with soya sauce and ginger. Venison pie. Chicken with lentil and rosemary. Tomato and goat cheese tart. Self-saucing chocolate pudding. Fruit cheesecake. Wild garlic soup.
This year we’ve timed our Highland Extravaganza hiking tour to include the Abernethy Highland Games – after all what would a visit to the Highlands be, without a chance to get to a Games.
At Scot Mountain Holidays we always look forward to the Highland Games, and here are our main reasons why!
1. It’s family friendly
Stalls of Hook-a-duck, children’s races, Fair Ground rides, souvenirs, trampolines and more provide entertainment for the whole family. Arrive by Steam Train from Boat of Garten in the Cairngorms and really thrill the kids!
2. Highland Dancing
See local girls compete in Highland dancing in their full traditional garb.
These athletes tour around with the Highland Games, making the rivalry real. See the challenge live and cheer on your favourite side.
4. Caber Toss
One of the most exciting and famous parts of the Games, you won’t want to miss this main event.
5. Food & drink
Venison vans, burger trucks, fish and chips, pulled pork, beer tents and coffee all to treat your tastebuds while taking in the Games.
Why not join a fun-loving ceilidh at the end of the night? Enjoy some drinks, have a dance, and chat with locals about the day’s events.
7. Chieftain’s Parade
Led by pipe bands, this is sure to thrill. See the men in their kilts and ladies in traditional dress, accompanied by bagpipes.
And an honorary mention goes to…
8. The Abernethy RSPB 10-mile Road Race
Every second Saturday of August the Highland Games come to Abernethy, where you can see the Abernethy Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) 10 mile road race. Ideally located if you are based at Fraoch Lodge in Boat of Garten. Come see runners in action for a good cause!
Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is a worldwide sensation highlighting the beauty and intrigue of Scotland and her Highland culture.
Scot Mountain Holidays can immerse you in the historical drama by exploring the real life setting of Gabaldon’s time-travel epic.
Come experience Scotland through an Outlander hiking tour guided by us, your local connoisseurs, and get off the beaten track!
This means rugged scenery, enchanting flora, rich history, and magical stories. With Fraoch Lodge as your base, you and your friends and family will easily access historical sites of Jacobite history, the world of “The Frasers”, and sites where the Starz Outlander series adaptation is filmed & sites which served as inspiration for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books.
Your hosts will provide routes and in-depth knowledge of choice locations handpicked for an enchanting Outlander Scotland experience. Transportation to and from the lodge to your locations can also be provided as a service.
Don’t miss out on exploring chosen landscapes inspired by the likes of Lallybroch Scotland and Castle Leoch from our Highland home. Come see filming locations such as Tulloch Ghru and The Highland Folk Museum (on our doorstep!). At Fraoch Lodge, you can tour romantic scenery, enjoy a whisky by the hearth with your hosts, and talk all things Outlander.
Contact Scot Mountain Holidays for more information about Outlander tours and getting off the beaten track.
The Starz drama based on the historical fiction and time travel series by Diana Gabaldon has been renewed for 2 more seasons, which promises to return to the Highlands.
We can always count on Outlander for intrigue, drama, stunning Scottish landscape and, of course, men in kilts! Which is why we here at Scot Mountain Holidays have accumulated a list of events to compliment your Outlander and Jacobite fever.
1. Fort George
Close to the Inverness airport, Fort George would not exist if not for the Jacobite rebellion, which is a major feature of Claire and Jamie’s story. Their re-enactments are unbeatable:
Just outside our doorstep is Britain’s first open air museum. Check out the old township to get a feel for the Highland way of life. Oh, and did we mention Outlander was filmed here?
Walk through the fields of the historic battlefield and visit its interactive centre. Learn how 1,200 Jacobites were slaughtered in under an hour brinigng an end to a Scottish era:
Experience Old Scotland and the lead up to the rebellion through the story of Urquhart Castle and its eventual demolition:
All of these events are within easy reach of Fraoch Lodge. Contact us for more details and come immerse yourself in the Scottish Highland history which inspired Outlander!