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Outlander: A Global Phenomena

Tue 15 Mar 16

There has been a phenomenal worldwide interest in the television series Outlander. But what exactly is Outlander and what is the attraction?

Outlander (TV series) is a collaboration between British and American television companies to produce a drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon. The show premiered on August 9, 2014. It has proven to be a phenomenal success with an international following and has been nominated for awards around the globe. It stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Beauchamp Randall, a married World War II nurse, who in 1945, finds herself transported back through time to Scotland in 1743, where she encounters dashing Highlander Jamie MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes involved in the run up to the Jacobite uprisings of 1745, which culminated in the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Series 2 is due to air from April 2016 and is being eagerly anticipated by the legions of devotees worldwide.

The attraction of Outlander lies in the storyline, as outlined above, and in the filming locations, which are mainly set in Scotland, portraying the diversity and beauty of the land and buildings, and also delving into part of a proud nation's history.

The local Outlander effect has seen a surge of pride and interest in the Kingdom of Fife. Local tourism partners are uniting to find ways of offering the best all round experience of Scottish culture and many of us are looking forward to showcasing our services this month to Outlander fans and followers at an Outlander Inspired Market in Balgonie Castle, itself an Outlander filming location, on the weekend of 23 and 24 April. We want you to get the chance to enjoy our landscape and our hospitality, indulge in our food and drink and maybe even try out a few words in the Gàidhlig!. We can also help you choose a few local products to take away as a lasting memory of your trip but most of all we want to give you a personal experience with memories that will never fade and want to return to our beautiful land.

The first series is filmed in a variety of locations in Central Scotland, mainly around the River Forth and in Fife, and are readily accessible for visits and tours from the local towns and cities. Within Fife itself, there is a group who are actively promoting the Outlander Filming locations as a destination for visitors to Scotland to both enjoy the sites used in the series and to learn the history of the buildings to help combine the fact with fiction. This group consists of representatives of tour companies, Marys Meanders and Clan MacKenzie Routes, Outlander Filming Fife which is a social media site, Cruise Forth which helps plan for the many cruise passengers now arriving in the Forth Ports, Balgonie Castle which is one of the filming locations, Fife Tourism Partnership which is part of Fife Council and also Visit Scotland, the National tourist organisation. The aim is to promote the area as an exciting and vibrant place to visit, to see the Outlander filming locations but to also immerse yourself in Scottish culure, Scottish history and to meet the local people, who in a recent poll were voted to be extremely friendly and helpful.

The filming locations that are easily visited in and from Fife include Falkland (Inverness in the series), Aberdour Castle (St Anne de Beaupre's monastery), Dysart (the port of le Havre), Culross (the village of Cranesmuir), Balgonie Castle (home of the MacRannochs), Doune Castle (Castle Leoch, home of Clan MacKenzie), Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway (where Frank and Claire say goodbye), Hopetoun House (home of the Duke of Sandringham), Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison), Midhope Castle (Lallybroch), Blackness Castle (Fort William HQ of Black Jack), Preston Mill (Jamies scene at the Water Mill) and Glencorse Old Kirk (where Jamie and Claire tie the knot).

As you travel from location to location, enjoy the scenery, from open farmland to seaside cliffs, from gentle hills to world famous golf courses, pass by areas of open water and castles, travel through villages, large towns, and small picturesque fishing communities, the Kingdom of Fife has them all on show.

There are many excellent places to stay, ranging from Bed and Breakfast establishments, pubs with accommodation and a varied range of Hotels. You can stay in a town. You can stay in the countryside. You can stay at the seashore. All are available in Fife and surrounding area. There are many award winning restaurants in which to eat traditional Scottish food made from locally sourced produce. Simple food. Gourmet food. World cuisine. We have them all. There is even the opportunity to attend an Outlander inspired meal to enjoy the food that was being eaten in 18th Century Scotland in a period home in the heart of Fife.

With the series comes the usual publicity materials and merchandise but did you know that there is now an official Outlander tartan? It is the featured tartan in the Scottish Banner this month. There are actually 5 tartans used in the series. The Outlander itself, the weathered MacKenzie, the weathered Fraser, Cocknammon and the Craigh na Dun tartans all feature. The young up and coming Scottish designer, Siobhan Mackenzie, is becoming renowned in the fashion world for creating kilts combining Harris Tweed and tartan who, as well as creating outfits for Miss Scotland at the recent Miss World competition and the Scottish Cricket Team at the 20/20 Cricket World Cup, has used the weathered MacKenzie in combination with Harris Tweed to design and supply a kilt for the present Clan MacKenzie Chief, the Earl of Cromartie and came to the attention of the Outlander designers.

The series has been a tremendous asset to the Scottish tourism industry and with the new series about to air we hope the profile of Scotland will rise even further. Come and visit...Tha sibh fàilte are welcome here.
Fàilte gu Alba...Welcome to Scotland.

Useful websites

Balgonie Castle
Clan MacKenzie Routes
Courses for Cooks
Cruise Forth
Fife Tourism Partnership
Marys Meanders
Outlander Filming Fife
Siobhan MacKenzie
Visit Scotland
Welcome to Fife 

Article by Donald McKenzie 

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