Scotland 2016: Day 0 – 3, Edinburgh – Inverness

It took me a while to figure out how to blog about my 2-week vacation Scotland and how to share some of my many many photos. Do it thematically like “All things Outlander” – “All photos from the coast / beach”? Or do it chronologically? Day by day? Or just one long post? It felt daunting to even start with either way. I also was a bit fed up by the gallery plug-in I had been using on this blog for a long time, so that needed figuring out as well.

But enough of all this. Here is a recap the first three days and a first batch of photos (some integrated in this post, but also a lot more in gallery at the end).

Day 0: Thursday, 30 June, Germany – Edinburgh
I arrived at Edinburgh airport in the late afternoon and I can’t really explain way, but I felt right at home right away. Even more so when I saw the rolling green hills all around Edinburgh from the bus on my way to the B&B. I hadn’t been sure if I really wanted to head into the city on that first evening already or just grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants close by. But the sun was shining and it was still early in the evening so I hopped on the bus and headed into the city. And it was lovely to be back and see all the familiar streets and sights again. It was my 3rd time in Edinburgh, but the first time I stayed west of the city centre so it felt kind of weird to come in via Haymarket and to all of a sudden see the castle. Lovely. 

Day 01: Friday, 1 July, Edinburgh – Perth
I was a bit anxious about picking up my rental car at the airport that morning, but in the end it all worked out fine and around 10.30 AM I headed out towards the north coast of the Firth of Forth. It was raining for the most part of the first 30 minutes or so , which dampened my mood, of course, as I was afraid it would stay that way. Luckily the sun came out after that and it was sunny and lovely for most of that first day. That was a pattern for most of my trip: Lovely weather, when I wanted to walk around and visit something, rainy weather when I was on the road. All in all that was fine with me.

My first stop was Aberdour Castle, which had been an Outlander filming location (The abbey at the end of S1). I didn’t stop there to follow in Outlander footsteps though and I admit I didn’t really recognize it from the TV show. Maybe I will recognize it on TV when I watch those episodes again. But it was on my way around the coast and it was a nice enough location to get out and walk around for a while.

The second stop was St. Monans, one of the many fishing villages along the Firth of Forth and I picked this one because it was supposed to have a great view. And it did. As the sun had come out by now I walked around the harbour for a bit and had lunch in a lovely cafe/shop.

View of the Firth of Forth, St. Monans

View of the Firth of Forth from St. Monans

The third and last stop on my way to Perth was St. Andrews. In a way I wish I had scheduled more time for that city, because it definitely would have been worth strolling around for longer and to go into the castle and such. But it looked like it was about to start raining (which it did, the minute I got back to my car) and in a way I also felt a bit too worn out from that first day of travel. One of the lessons from this trip definitely is, that I have to schedule shorter distances to cover on one day the next time. Even though there probably was no need to, I still felt a bit rushed quite a few times. Worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to see/do all the things I had on my agenda for that day.

In Perth I spent the evening at a pub watching Wales vs England at the EURO2016 and I had a lovely evening. There were a few Welsh fan in the room and I had a nice talk with a couple from Florida who joined me at my table. There also was lovely sunset when I walked back to my B&B.

Day 02: Saturday, 2 July, Perth – Inverness
I’ve done the same trip and visited the main attraction on that route with my friends four years ago, so this time it was more of a mere transition day. But also the day of my visit to “Craigh na Dun”! Or at least the hill on which they film the Standing Stones scenes for the Outlander TV show. I hadn’t plan to do a lot of Outlander sightseeing on this trip, just the occasional stop, where it might fit into my schedule and lay on my travel routes.

This one was an exception though, because I really, really, really wanted to see this. I can’t really explain why, because there isn’t that much to look at. The Standing Stones are probs which are brought in. Basically it’s just a few trees on a hill. But still…. it’s a special hill.

"Craigh na Dun"

“Craigh na Dun”

I promised the fan who gave me the detailed information of this location, to not pass it on, so please don’t ask me how to get there. But if Google helped me to find someone to ask about this location, you should be able to find a way too ;-) Anyway it’s really, really in the middle of nowhere. Quite a drive on single track roads, with lots of road work signs along the way. The idea of a film crew with all their trucks and equipment and trailers doing this treck from Glasgow up there two or three times a year was a bit mindboggling to me. Crazy logistics and all. I was impressed! Unfortunately the sun didn’t come out, so my photos turned out a bit gloomy. Fit fo the location though, maybe?

With a big grin on my face I continued my drive up north and stopped at Queen’s View, which I had been visiting in 2012 as well, but it was a nice enough place to get back to. Also it had a visitor centre, where I could grab a coffee to warm up a bit. The next and final stop on my way to Inverness was at the House of Bruar, a huge store for country clothing, home accessoires and such; mainly to grab some lunch at their food court. It was raining / drizzeling on and off by then, but it was dry once I arrived so I used it to walked up to the Falls of Bruar which was a nice diversion. The weather stayed shower-y in the afternoon, so I continued up to Inverness, accompanied by BBC Scot Sport (or something) on the radio, where they ripped apart the English football squad compared to the performance of the Welsh squad on the previous evening. Good times ;-)

That evening in Inverness I had my first “blind date” with Outlander Twitter friends. From Sweden to boot! @Helen_Hest68, @MalinHDesigner and @AnniStahl were on their own Outlander / Scotland trip and we had figured out we’d be in Inverness at the same time, so of course we had to meet up. And it was so lovely to meet them! To chat about the books and the show and about things to see and do in Scotland. And chat about Sweden as well, because of my own personal connection to this country. They also helped me cheer for the German team, who were playing at the EURO at the same time and the game was on in the pub. It was fun and I was so happy that the meeting at worked out and we were all a bit sad when we had to say goodbye, as they were heading back south on the next morning.

Sunday, 03 July, Inverness
After some interesting and entertaining Brexit debate in the breakfast room with a couple from New York (state), some girls from Montreal and our Scottish host, I headed out to Culloden Battlefield. I’ve been there in 2012 but I definitely wanted to visit again and I was glad I did. Of course it’s the Outlander connection that makes it especially interesting to me, but it’s also a very well done visitor centre with tons of interesting information. The audioguide and the various posts on the moor itself were very informative as well.

Cottage and Visitor Centre at Culloden Moor

Cottage and Visitor Centre at Culloden Moor

Unfortunately the weather started acting up again, so I gave up my plans to drive out to Fort George as well and returned to my BB in Inverness instead. That evening I had my 2nd “blind date” with an Outlander Twitter friend, this time the lovely @JeSuisPrestNow, who has been one of the first Outlander fans I chatted with on Twitter when the talk of the TV series got real and Sam had been cast and all that. It was so nice to not just chat about the books and the show, but also sentimantally remember the “good old times” of the early days, when there was less of the fandom drama ;-) Thanks again, Sinead for taking the time to meet up!

Here a a lot more photos of these first three days…


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