A ‘pilgrimage’ site for Outlander fans at Culloden Battlefield has been sealed off to the public for repair amid the pressures of rising visitor numbers.
The Clan Fraser stone at the historic battlefield has become a key stop off by fans of the book and spin-off television series, many on Outlander-themed tours, who are keen to tick off Highland landmarks with links to story.Outlander news from Outlander tours Scotland
Clan Fraser is one of the key families in the Outlander story, with lead character Jamie Fraser fighting for the Jacobites at Culloden.
Now, the grave marker, which marks real grave pits dug deep beneath the battlefield, has been cordoned off as the ground becomes eroded, raising concerns about how heritage sites linked to Outlander are conserved amid rising visitor numbers.
Last year, owners National Trust for Scotland sought scheduled monument consent to repair the ground given similar problems. It now appears that these works have not been adequate to deal with the problem, with talks ongoing with Historic Environment Scotland to find a suitable solution.
Raoul Curtis-Machin, National Trust for Scotland’s Operations Manager at Culloden said: “The area around the grave markers had been suffering wear and tear because visitors had been walking off the main footpath to take a closer look at the stones.
“Worst hit recently is the area around the Fraser Stone, which has become a site of pilgrimage for Outlander fans.
“Last year this was not really an issue because the ground stayed hard in the dry weather, but this year it has become very muddy with the heavy rain. Visitors still have full access to the whole area – we have just cordoned off the worst patch immediately in front of the Fraser Stone.
“We will be topdressing and re-seeding the area in the meantime, according to the Scheduled Ancient Monument consent which has been granted, and we are exploring other solutions with Historic Environment Scotland.”
Last year, a 28 per cent increase in visitor numbers was recorded at the Culloden visitor centre with the ‘Outlander effect’ said to be driving the rise.
VisitScotland is currently analysing how much the Outlander series, which charts the romance of a Highland clansman and his English wife during the 18th Century in Scotland and North America, is worth to the Scottish economy given its huge popularity, particularly amongst the American market.