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The Scotland Diaries: Trekking up Goat Fell

Written by: Anne Gavin


Editor's note: This post is a continuation in Anne Gavin's series about returning to Scotland after a wonderful first visit last year. Read about why she, like Claire, had to go back and about her time exploring Glasgow. And if you want to relieve Anne's first trip last year, here's a link to get you started. Let the virtual travel begin!

We arrived the Isle of Arran full of anticipation but slightly WET. Too busy chatting away with locals on the boat, we had no idea that while making our 55-minute crossing from Ardrossan that the clouds had moved in. As we walked down the gang plank of the CalMac ferry, the skies had opened up. Typical Scotland. What is also typical Scotland is the wonderfully kind hospitality of those that live there. The effervescent Brian Deary of Corrie Cabs and Visit Arran was there to greet us and drive us the 30 minutes to our seaside cottage where we would stay for the week. I had been corresponding with Brian for several months regarding Arran and our need for possible rides to and fro while there. A wonderful Scotsman, indeed, Brian regaled us with many tales of the island and its history as he whisked us quite rapidly on a very narrow two-lane track towards the southwest side of the island and our cottage.

One thing I couldn’t help but notice as we drove out of the ferry terminal, however, was the very large and looming Goat Fell mountain dead ahead. I shuddered a little staring at it. It was hard to look away, actually. It looked foreboding – with dark, black clouds near the summit. It was my first up-close and personal view and did not seem at all as friendly as many of the photos I had seen. Quite shear and rocky, the mountain jutted upwards from sea level narrowing into an angular tip at the summit surrounded by boulders on all sides. This was our challenge, however, to make sure we got up Goat Fell at least one of the days we were on the island. I thought I was ready... but didn’t think it would be so soon. Here is our story of climbing the merciless Goat Fell.

Outlander Goes to the Dogs: A Look at the Breed Playing Rollo

Written by: Janet Reynolds


A few weeks ago, Starz threw us Outlander  fans a bone, almost literally, by announcing the breed of dog that would be playing Rollo. Two adorable Northern Inuit puppies are already in training to become Ian Murray's trusty canine sidekick come season 4.

Now book readers likely have an image of Rollo in their heads, thanks to Diana Gabaldon's wonderfully descriptive writing. And they also likely have some expectations of how Rollo should act. TV-only folks, though, only have the cute photos leaked by Starz PR. So we decided to find out a bit more about this breed, which is so new that it isn't even officially recognized yet by the American Kennel Club. We caught up with Sharon O'Garro, who is the first Northern Inuit breeder in North America and founder of the Northern Inuit Society of America. Here's what she had to say about this fascinating breed.

The Scotland Diaries: Waking Up in Glasgow


Written by: Anne Gavin


Editor's note: This post is a continuation of Anne Gavin's first post about returning to Scotland after a wonderful first visit last year. Read about why she, like Claire, had to go back. And if you want to relieve Anne's first trip last year, here's a link to get you started. Let the virtual travel begin!

Despite an overnight flight, I felt none of the usual haze one usually feels after a long transatlantic journey. Just the opposite. I was in Scotland again and was ready to start what I knew would be an incredible three weeks of experiences with some wonderful people and in some extraordinary places.

It had been a year since my last trip here and so much had happened in that year. Another season of life, another season of Outlander and another very joyful year writing for the Outlander Cast Blog, building new friendships. Many of these new friends I had planned to meet this trip while also renewing bonds with others with whom I share some multiple interests—Scotland being the main! But, it was all to start in Glasgow, a city I had glazed over on my last trip to Scotland but only because of lack of time. However, this trip, I knew I needed to explore this colorful city and its history and experience some of what makes Glasgow such a wee jewel. Come along with me on my trip!

It's Not About the Vase and Other Outlander Life Lessons


Written by: Nikki Gastineau



I’ve got a confession to make. I read too much into things—everything really. That mole on your leg? I’m pretty sure that it has changed color and shape since yesterday and that you need to have it removed stat. Your kid’s runny nose? It’s your town’s first case of measles since 1968. I know they said it would only take three weeks to renovate the kitchen, but my gut tells me it's going to take a lot longer than that. And that waiter was totally just flirting with me. You saw it. Right?

Maybe it comes from my overactive imagination or maybe I’m always looking for a story to tell. Whatever the reason, I usually take more away from conversations, books, and movies than other folks. As I reflected on my first read-through of the Outlander series, I began to see many applicable life lessons. I will share them with you, but only if you promise not to make any actual life decisions based on them. If you promise, then please keep reading. If not, you need to take a few moments and ask yourself why you would accept life advice from a lady writing a blog post from her couch while her kid parades the cat around the house like Simba and Rafiki from the opening scene of The Lion King.

My Journey Through Time: the Outlander-inspired Hartwood Highlander Happening

Written by: Denise Stewart



I’d never been to an Outlander-inspired event. I mean, sitting at home texting your friend about the show while watching it simultaneously for the second…tenth time....um who’s counting anyway...IS social and COULD be considered an event, but an actual outing? That had never been in my cards.

That changed when my local Outlander group posted an event that was going to be hosted about an hour from my house. I WAS IN! I texted said friend and asked if she was in too. But of course! So reservations were made, and we were set to go! Want to see what it was like? Come along with us for this virtual tour.

Walking the Way of Outlander: The Great Glencoe Challenge

Written by: Andrée Poppleton


People have many ways of dealing with Droughtlander. Some obsessively rewatch episodes, others re-read the books for the nth time, others have tiny forays into the world outside Outlander. Some decide to walk. Walk, trudge, march (caper about?) and just generally get moving in a forward direction. It gets the endorphins flowing and relieves some of the angst while waiting for our all-time favourite TV show to hit the screens again. Some of the NewGlasgowGirls – a group who met in Scotland, bonded over Outlander and have remained friends ever since – are doing just that. We are going to take a verra long walk together, specifically the Great New Glencoe Challenge, a 26.2 mile one-day hike through some of Scotland's most beautiful and challenging countryside.

And we're not just going to walk further than we have ever walked in our lives before, we are going to raise money for Caitriona Balfe's charity of choice, World Child Cancer.

Here's our story and we invite you to walk along with us.

"I Have to Go Back" – The Scotland Diaries: Part 2

Written by: Anne Gavin


“I have to go back.” – the haunting last line of Episode 13 of Outlander  Season 2, uttered by Claire Randall Fraser when she realized that her 18th century soul mate, love of her life, and father of her only child survived the Battle of Culloden. It’s also EXACTLY how I felt shortly after returning from my first trip to Scotland in the spring of 2016... although, unlike Claire, no soaring Bear McCreary soundtrack accompanied my revelation nor, unfortunately, visions of a tall, red-headed Scot!

The first time I traveled to Scotland, I thought I knew what to expect. For more than a year, I had looked at photos, read several books, re-watched episodes of Outlander  dozens of times and imagined what Scotland might be like. But, it completely and totally exceeded every expectation I ever had. I truly came alive there and, for those few weeks, found myself in a state of complete wonder and frankly – just plain happiness. It was the landscapes, the air, the sea, the mountains, and the hills that captivated me. But more than that, it was the people.

It might have been my love of Outlander  that compelled me to visit the first time, but it’s now Scotland itself that commands me to return. I know there is more to see, more to do, more lovely Scottish people to meet and more of my soul to fill. I journaled those amazing few weeks last year for the Outlander Cast Blog in a series called “The Scotland Diaries.”  I will do my best to do so again amidst dodgy Wi-Fi and cross-country travels with the hope of sharing my second go-around with this lovely and soulful country which serves as inspiration for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander  Series. Here is a little sneak peek of where my travels will take me as I head off in just a little over a week's time.

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