I blame Diana Gabaldon and Lynn Kurland for my fascination with the highlands of Scotland. I’ve wanted to go there ever since I read their novels (in particular, Outlander and A Garden in the Rain). Imagine a modern-day heroine, alone in Scotland, lost, and suddenly swept back into the past. She endures hardships ranging from ancient plumbing to almost dying. When things look especially grim, she meets the man of her dreams and lives in a castle. How can that invoke anything other than fascination?
My time was limited, so I took a one day Timberbush tour out of Edinburgh to the West Highland Lochs and many castles. If you’re short on time, I highly recommend Timberbush.
We started at Doune Castle, which should be familiar to any Monty Python fan. Soon, though, it will be known as the Mackenzie clan castle in Outlander.
Pardon me as I take a quick time out to do a happy dance!! I really can’t wait for that series to premiere. (Neither can Pocket Jamie.)
The castle is either a bit run-down or suitably rustic, depending on your viewpoint. I thought it was beautiful, and it’s perfect for the Outlander series.
It was hard to get a good, pristine picture of it from where we stopped. Actually, the scenery is so gorgeous that I didn’t even notice all my photos included power lines until I looked at them later that day.
The highlands are a place I hope to explore at a slower pace sometime soon. I want to get up to Aberdeen, stop at Culloden, check out Inverness, see the Isle of Skye. I should plan on a week. At least.
Following the grand tradition of tour buses everywhere, we stopped to visit Hamish the Highland Cow. Hamish didn’t say much. He was very muddy and more interested in carrots than interaction. I thought about cattle thieves in the books I’d read and decided it must have been a very dirty business with all that mud and hair.
As we drove through the highlands, our driver played stirring bagpipe music and told us about Clan Campbell and their dastardly part in the tragedy at Glen Coe.
A woman on the tour got really excited about this castle because it had just been featured heavily in the series Downton Abbey. I haven’t had time to watch that series yet, but I’m sure I’ll get appropriately giddy when I do watch it.
After a brief respite in the gorgeous highland pass called Rest and Be Thankful, we made our way to Loch Lomond.
After that, there was only one castle left: Stirling Castle. It sits high on a volcanic rock like Edinburgh Castle. We only saw it from the road below, but it looked impressive.