Hootlander - Part 8 

Castle Leoch and Callander House

Beyond Glencoe the road goes through Rannoch Moor which is used as the backdrop scenery to Claire and Frank's second honeymoon following the end of the Second World War in Season 1. Hamish points this out and that Loch Katrine in the Trossachs features as a location in Outlander, Season 2. Eventually, after a long sinuous drive through some of Scotlands most dramatic scenery the bus drew into the parking area of Doune Castle...or as Outlander fans would know it better as Castle Leoch. Doune Castle, or Castle Leoch in Outlander was built for the 1st Duke of Albany in 1390 sometimes called 'Scotland's Uncrowned King'.

Claire and her husband visited the picturesque ruin in Series 1 in 1945 and Claire gets taken to the complete, living castle by Jamie in 1743 after she time travels back 200 years.. All the interior scenes were shot on a stage set. However, the castle was beseiged by fans in 2014 during filming and before the show aired.

Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold near the village of Doune sited on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn 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. The castle saw much action over the centuries and particularly during the Jacobite risings of late 17th and 18th centuries. After countless attacks, by 1800 the castle was a ruin. During the '45 Rising, Doune was occupied by Bonnie Prince Charlie and used as a prison for government troops captured at the battle of Falkirk. Some prisoners escaped by tying sheets together. One who escaped was John Witherspoon, a minister, who became a drafter and signatory of the 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 am amazed how it was magically transformed into the living, working Castle Leoch in the TV series.” Observed Ethel.

“Honestly, while walking around the castle, visions of Season One flooded through my brain – I saw Frank and Claire at the castle on their 2nd honeymoon and then Jamie and Claire first arriving on horseback with Murtagh and the Mackenzie clan and being greeted by Mrs Fitzgibbon. It was like being in a dream.” said Gladys

“The 5 pound 50p admission seemed a bit much just to look around an empty ruin,” muttered Angus.

“Yes, I thought it was very poorly turned out and really needed repaired to make it look like the real Castle Leoch,” added Mrs Finklestein.

Skye was hungry and asked the Castle attendant where he could get 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.”

“Could we stop at the Rowan Cafe in the village, Mr MacMeanie?” asked 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 is a cafe at the next stop – Callendar House.”

Callendar House is a mansion set in the grounds of Callendar Park near Falkirk. During the 18th Cent it was redesigned in the style of a French Chateau fused with Scots baronial elements. The house lies on the line of the 2nd Century Roman Antonine Wall and in its 600 year history has hosted Mary Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria and now “Outlander Tours”.

Callendar+House.jpg

The house was built and owned by the Livingston family who were very important in Scottish affairs until the early 18th Cent when 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 continued to live there and entertained Bonnie Prince Charlie before the Battle of Falkirk in 1746. After Culloden her husband was beheaded for treason as he had supported the Bonnie Prince and fought at Culloden.

The house has a fully working Georgian kitchen dominated by a huge open fire. Staff in period costumes give insights into a world that has now gone, and prepare food that was enjoyed at the grand social occasions that once took place there. The house was used in 'Outlander' for the Duke of Sandringham's kitchen. This is a great opportunity for the Outlanders to parade in their 18th century clothes and really get into character back to the time of Jamie and Claire's romance. Skye scoffed off a plateful of scones with jam and butter to assuage his hunger pangs.