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Outlander inspires trips to Scotland, says author

June 1, 2015 Destination Europe No Comments Email Email

The author of Outlander has revealed that her bestselling books have not only inspired fans to visit Scotland…but to live here.

In the first of a series of exclusive videos for VisitScotland’s Youtube channel, Diana Gabaldon reveals the origins of her hugely successful series of novels, describes her first visit to the land that inspired Outlander and also gives her thoughts on the new television adaptation.

The VisitScotland video goes live today as more countries announce their plans to screen Outlander, with Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Japan joining the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands in showing the Sony Pictures Television series.

And Diana said that there was no doubt that Scotland plays a starring role in the new production.

She said: “The photography is amazing, not that Scotland by itself isn’t amazing, but the way they’ve photographed it. Ron (Moore, the producer) said from the beginning when he realised that we could film in Scotland – which is what he and I both wanted – that it must be as much a character in the show as any of the actual cast members, and it certainly is. It’s just spectacular.”

She continued: “I’ve seen over the years various attempts to make my work into a two-hour movie and I can tell you on the basis of what I’ve seen that it’s flatly impossible to do that. It was a great relief to me to get the opportunity to do a 16-episode television series. I was thinking, ‘at least there will be room.’ I knew Ron Moore had a great reputation as a storyteller and a film-maker and I told him, ‘this is the first script based on my work that I’ve seen that did not make me want to turn white or burst into flames!’”

While talking about the origins of Outlander, which is set in 18th-century Scotland, Diana said that, prior to the publication of her first novel in 1991, she had never been to the country, instead carrying out detailed research in libraries.   

She said: “They (the publishers) fortunately gave me a three-book contract when they bought Outlander and I said to my husband, ‘Well I really must go and see the place!’ So we went to London, rented a car and drove up to the Highlands and spent several weeks roaming around and looking at things.”

She added: “I remember standing on the Border at Carter Bar next to the big monolith that says Scotland on one side and England on the other. I looked out over Scotland and said, ‘yes, I recognise this place. It’s just as I had been imagining it.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We are seeing a real buzz around Outlander and the starring role Scotland plays in the new television series. I’m sure many fans who see Scotland at its dazzling best on the show will be encouraged to come here and see the country for themselves. And, as Diana Gabaldon testifies in our exclusive video, it’s an easy place to fall in love with.”

Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe), a married English combat nurse from 1945 who, while on her second honeymoon in Inverness, is mysteriously swept back in time to the 18th-century Scottish Highlands. There she meets Jamie (played by Scottish actor Sam Heughan), a chivalrous young warrior, with whom she becomes romantically entwined.

It was filmed in various locations around Scotland, including Doune Castle, Blackness Castle, in Glasgow and in a specially-built studio in Cumbernauld.

To watch the video and to find out more about Outlander and its Scottish connections, go to

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