Hootlander - Part 8 

Castle Leoch and Callander House

Beyond Glencoe the road winds through Rannoch Moor, used in Season 1 as the backdrop for Claire and Frank's second honeymoon after the end of the Second World War. Hamish points this out, and that Loch Katrine in the Trossachs features as a location in Outlander, Season 2. After a long sinuous drive through some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, the bus parks at Doune Castle...or Castle Leoch, as Outlander fans know it. It was built in 1390 for the 1st Duke of Albany, “Scotland's Uncrowned King.”

“Claire and her husband visited the picturesque ruin in Series 1 in 1945,” Hamish reminds the group, “and Claire gets taken to the castle by Jamie in 1743 after time traveling back 200 years. All the interior scenes were shot on a stage set. But get this— the castle was beseiged by Outlander fans! in 2014 during filming.”

“Doune Castle near the wee village of Doune is a medieval stronghold on a bend of the Ardoch Burn where it flows into the River Teith. It was rebuilt in late 14th Century by Robert Stewart Duke of Albany, the son of King Robert II of Scots and Regent of Scotland from 1388 to 1420,” quips Hamish to the bored-looking group. “The castle was attacked over the centuries, especially during the Jacobite risings of late 17th and 18th centuries. By 1800 it was in ruins. During the '45 Rising, Doune was held by Bonnie Prince Charlie and used as a prison for government troops captured at the battle of Falkirk. Some of those prisoners escaped by tying sheets together. One escapee who ye may have heard of was the minister John Witherspoon, who fled to America and became a drafter and signatory of your US Declaration of Independence.”

“It's exciting to see this castle first-hand and to compare it with the actual real castle in Outlander. I’m amazed how it was magically transformed into the living, working Castle Leoch in the TV series,” observes Ethel.

“Honestly, while walking around, I could see Frank and Claire at the castle on their 2nd honeymoon. And then Jamie and Claire being greeted by Mrs Fitzgibbon as they first arrived on horseback with Murtagh and the Mackenzie clan. It was like being in a dream.” says Gladys

“The £5.50 admission seem a a bit steep just to look around this old empty ruin,” mutters Angus.

“Yes, I think it’s poorly turned out, and needs renovation to make it look like the real Castle Leoch,” adds Mrs Finklestein.

Skye is hungry and asks the Castle attendant where he can find something to eat.

“The Rowan Dell cafe in the village of Doune is a place for a great snack. The Highland Panini is world famous with Outlander fans.”

“Can we stop at the Rowan Cafe in the village, Mr. MacMeanie?” asks Skye.

“I'm sorry, Skye, but we are on a ticht time table. We need tae git on the bus and head fir Fawkirk. There’s a cafe at the next stop – Callendar House.”

Callendar House is a mansion set in the grounds of Callendar Park near Falkirk. In the 1700’s it was remodeled in the style of a French Chateau fused with Scots baronial elements. The house actually lies on the line of the Second Century Roman Antonine Wall. In its 600-year history, it has hosted Mary Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria—and now “Outlander Tours”.


“So to wind this up, I’ll explain to ye, whether yer interested or not, that this mansion was built and owned by the Livingston family —very influential in Scottish affairs until the 5th Earl sided with the “Old Pretender' and was forced into exile abroad. In 1715 the estate was forfeited, but the Earl's daughter Lady Anne managed to live here and even entertained the Bonnie Prince Charlie before the Battle of Falkirk in 1746. But Lady Anne’s husband was beheaded for treason after supporting the Bonnie Prince and fighting at Culloden. He survived the Battle of Culloden—only to lose his heid!”

“The house was used in 'Outlander' and its fully working Georgian kitchen with big open hearth became the Duke of Sandringham's kitchen. Here’s yer chance ye Outlanders to parade around in your their 18th century clothes—just like the guides here—and really get into character.”

Skye sees his chance—to scoffs some leftover scones with jam and butter to assuage his hunger pangs.