Today we continue our Scotland adventures with Day 3’s activities. That morning we left Edinburgh and drove toward the highlands because you can’t visit Scotland and not go to the infamous highlands – especially if you’re an Outlander or historical romance fan! After a few hours on the highway we decided to try an exit to find some lunch. We ended up driving a bit further from the highway than we’d anticipated and ended up in a lovely, tiny country town with lovely old homes.
There was a small market near where we had parked and I noticed this dog patiently waiting for his owner who had gone inside. A few school children passed by to pick up a snack and gave him a pat on the head. Figuring there wasn’t much else around and not wanting to detour from the highway once we got back to it, we opted to find something simple here and take it with us.
The GPS indicated there was a historical park a few miles down the road and since it was such a lovely day I suggested we stop there to eat picnic style. The park turned out to be quite large with numerous displays of historic buildings and machinery. And when I heard that it had been an Outlander filming location we just had to explore a bit more. There were stone and thatch structures from old farms and turn of the century shops which had been moved to this site for preservation.
Around another bend was a pen of these curly haired pigs. I’d seen similar breeds before but the Hubs was quite intrigued by their coats. They seemed less interested in us since we didn’t have any food for them.
Inside the structures there were elements of what daily life would have been like here, including a basket of dung chips to keep the fire going. Many of the buildings were quite dark inside due to the thatch roofs and limited windows, so I didn’t get many good pictures of those aspects.
We still had a few other sights still to see that day so we headed back toward the highway and further north to Culloden, the famous battlefield where the Jacobite Army suffered their massive defeat. This battle is a central point in the Outlander story and is significant in Scotland history – much like America’s Gettysburg.
We paid our admission fee and toured the historical displays in the welcome center where no photography was allowed, then made our way out to the battle field. The Leanach farmhouse stands at the corner of the battlefield, on the same location as a cottage that probably served as a field hospital for government troops following the battle.
In 1881 headstones were placed to mark the mass graves of fallen Jacobite soldiers by clan. They sit along an early 19th-century road which runs through the battlefield. There were several to see, but one in particular I was searching for.
And then I saw it. The Fraser headstone. It was obviously one of the most popular based on the flowers and coins left on the stone. I wondered if that was because of Outlander’s popularity or if there were just more visitors of that heritage.
Thanks to some speedy driving, we arrived at Loch Ness just before sunset. Of course we had to had to have proof that this was the real Loch Ness and not just some random lake, so I had the Hubs pose with the sign and then enjoyed listening to the water lap at the shore as we watched for Nessie.
Sitting at the end of the lake, the Dores Inn was the first establishment we found along the road where we could park and access the lake. They had a wonderful garden space in the back where guests can watch the lake as they eat during good weather. The storm we had just missed at Culloden had apparently hit here first so everything was wet, but we didn’t mind since we had limited light to enjoy.
One of the Inn’s staffers was cleaning up in the outdoor area and noted that some of the best shots he’s seen of the sculpture were right up next to the head with the water in the back ground, so we gave it a try. I’m not sure it’s quite life-like but it’s definitely a fun memento.
With the last of the light gone, we headed around to the front entrance of the Inn to get dinner. Apparently it’s a very popular spot with the locals and tourists and reservations are required for the dining room. Our luck continued and we arrived just in time for a party leaving the bar where it was open seating.
Then came dessert. I don’t remember what either of these were called but mine had a pear and ice cream with the creme filled cookie and I ate every last crumb in satisfaction. The Hubs was a brownie with ice cream & sauce, which I sampled and approved of as well – although not as much as my selection.
As we had been eating I spotted several little Nessie figures available for sale on a shelf over the bar. This one gave me the look so I introduced myself to find out how much he would be. Because they are made by a local artist they require cash payment and we had just enough left, so he joined us at our table to await the hot chocolate I ordered because I just wasn’t ready to leave yet.
Check out our other Scotland adventures: