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The Stuff That Make Scotland

Posted by Heliocentrism on February 25, 2018

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Looking at Loch Ness

The time we spent in Scotland Mark and I ran in to a few things over and over again. They were like little themes throughout the country. They made our stay interesting and sparked our curiosity. None of which involved a serpent-like water monster.

1. There are Outlander Fans swarming all over Scotland.

Apparently, half of all the castles in Scotland are featured in the show Outlander. The show is such a hit with the ladies that bus-loads of them have journeyed all the way to the Highlands to swoon at various castles. The tourist industry in Scotland have taken note. They offer Outlander tours, Outlander themed plaques at some castles, and of course they sell the books in each and every gift shop.

The band of ladies who nearly stoned me in my last post were all Americans who traveled to Scotland solely on Outlander related purposes. As one lady put it, “There’s a charity that an actor from the show is very interested in, so we’ve all come here to help.” While they were in town, they did some Outlander sightseeing before the charity event started.

When Mark and I found a crowd at a castle, we just knew that the castle was used on the show. I would over hear women say things like, “This is the room that was used as in inspiration for the room in the scene where that thing happened.” I’m sure I would have been more thrilled had I ever watched the series.

2. One should really learn about the Jacobite Rebellions before coming to Scotland. 

There are more castles involved with the Jacobite Rebellions than ones featured in Outlander. Don’t worry, there are no Jacobite fan tours. But many castles housed Jacobites or were invaded by Jacobites. One was even blown up so those damn Jacobites couldn’t retake it.

There were many battles that broke out because of Jacobites and there were something like, two generations of Jacobites. They centered around a prince named James who the British did not want to be king. They hated the idea of James becoming king so much they begged some Dutchman, who had married one of their princesses, to be the king instead.

They weren’t so happy about James not being king up in Scotland, so that’s where James went for support. Back in the day many Scots were itching for an excuse to fight the British and this one was never wasted. But, not all Scots were keen on seeing James get his crown. There weren’t as many Scots killing Brits as some of them would have liked. They mostly just killed each other.

3. Mary Queen of Scots slept here.

Mary Queen of Scots must have also been a member of the Scottish Heritage because she saw more castles than Mark and I did. Everywhere, from Edinburgh Castle to Inchmahome Priory, boasted that she slept there. She could not have possibly spent the night in so many places. Didn’t she die in her early 40’s after spending years locked up somewhere in England?

4. The place is filled with cairns, brochs, and very old settlements.

If you like neolithic artifacts and sites, then Scotland is the place for you. You can’t throw a stone in the Highlands without hitting some old settlement or realizing that the stone you just threw was part of a cairn. The crazy thing about many of the old buildings is that they tend to be on top of even older buildings.

We’re still not completely sure who all of them were.

5. Scotland makes a lot of whiskey.

Before Outlander tours were so popular, the main theme of Scottish tours was whiskey. There are many distilleries that have shifted there focus from making whiskey to just doing tours. Many distilleries that are still running also do tours. I wonder if there is an Outlander whiskey tour?


The United Kingdom

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land via an underwater tunnel, air, or sea.

Check with your local UK embassy for visa information.

Phone:

  • Use 112 or 999 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • If you’re going to do a lot of travel by train or bus, looking for a Rail card or bus pass before you buy your first ticket.
    • Railway Cards
    • Oyster Card
    • Even getting a day pass on a bus could be cheaper than getting 3 single passes, or a return ticket and a single pass.
  • If you’re going to travel around the United Kingdom, you might want to get membership at one of the following:
    •  English Heritage – £54 / year for 1 person
    • National Trust England – £64.80 / year for 1 person
    • Scottish Heritage –  £49 / year for 1 person
      • All of these are a little cheaper when getting a group or family membership.
      • Many come with discounts for other things, like:
        • The Scottish Heritage gives you 20% off at all of their gift shops and cafes.
        • English Heritage gives you free parking at many of their sights.
      • As a bonus, it helps you when planning what to do and see in the country.
  • If you are going to stay in hostels, join Hosteling International, or any of its subsidiaries.
    • YHA – England & Wales
    • SYHA – Scotland
      • Membership at any of these will get you the discounted rate at any of the other hosteling organizations.
      • These hostels tend to be better than most hostels.

Urquhart Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £9
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 6pm
  • 1 October to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm

Videos:

Notes:

  • The castles date from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
  • If you show your membership card when you get tickets for the Jacobite Cruise tickets the cost of the Urquhart Castle entrance will be subtracted.

Fort George

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £9
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
  • 1 October to 31 March: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Video

Notes:

  • Lookout for a bag-pipe playing angel in the chapel.

Dallas Dhu

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • £6
  • Free for Scottish Heritage Members
    • Admission includes:
      • a shot of whiskey
      • an audio guide

Hours:

  • 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm (last entry 5.00pm)
  • 1 to 31 October: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
  • 1 November to 31 March: Daily except Thursday and Friday, 10am to 4pm

Don’t Miss:

Map:

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