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Diana Gabaldon takes her own Outlander tour

BEST-SELLING author Diana Gabaldon got to experience the Outlander effect for herself when she hit the tourist trail of the show’s top locations.

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh

The US writer stunned fans of the Jacobite telly phenomenon at the weekend as she turned up at Culross in Fife and nearby Falkland Palace.

Diana relaxes in Culross Palace gardens, used as fictional Castle Leoch herb garden in series

It was almost like a surprise royal visit as gobsmacked tourists mobbed the 67-year-old, who happily posed for selfies and signed autographs.

Diana said: “It’s always fun being in Scotland but usually I’m stopping somewhere for research purposes. So it’s been nice to just feel like a tourist for a change.”

The Scottish Sun joined The Outlander creator for the day with tour company Mary’s Meanders, who specialise in the show’s location visits.

First stop was Culross, which doubles, as the fictional village of Cranesmuir in the TV series.



Photographer Graham Harris Graham, who runs The Outlander And Beyond fine art gallery in the town, praised the Arizona-born writer.

The 54-year-old told Diana: “I would like to thank you for paying my mortgage — seriously.”

Next up she visited ancient Falkland Palace, with its famous Bruce Fountain.

Outlander fans will know that’s where the ghost of Sam Heughan’s Jacobite character Jamie Fraser visits time-traveller lover Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe).

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Spanish fan Ana Garcia was completely overwhelmed when she spotted her idol.

The tearful 46-year-old from Barcelona, who works for a mobile phone company, said: “I came here to visit Outlander locations but never expected to see the woman who made it all happen. I will never forget this moment.”

The show has seen a huge boom in Scottish tourism

Victoria Arias was also delighted to meet the woman whose books have sold 35million copies and been translated into 40 languages.

The 30-year-old French blogger said: “This is my third time in Scotland to visit Outlander locations but the first time I’ve met Diana.

“It was fantastic to see the person who started it all in a place where it is actually filmed.”

Diana’s visit came after tourist chiefs announced visitor numbers continue to rocket — up 67 per cent from 887,000 to 1.5million a year — on the back of the TV smash which is shown in 87 countries around the world.

But humble Diana said: “The Outlander effect is sort of a miracle — I had nothing to do with it other than writing the books.”

The mum of three was working as a professor at Arizona State University when she first began writing her story “for practice” — after famously seeing actor Frazer Hines play a Jacobite warrior in a 1969 repeat of Doctor Who.

It has since spawned nine books — with the latest, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, out later this year. And the fifth TV series — which is shown on Amazon Prime in the UK — will start filming around Scotland from next month.

We joined Diana on a scouting mission

But aside from all the official stats, Diana also receives personal testimonies about how Outlander has changed people’s lives.

She explained: “When we were filming an episode from the first series in Culross there was a little shop up the back street where myself and another writer went for a sandwich.

“But all we had on us were £20 notes and the owner didn’t have any change.

“I said ‘”We’re with the film thing and he said he knew because we had our cans — headphones — over our arms. He told us he’d trust us to come back and settle up later.

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“But just as we left he came rushing after us and said, ‘I saw your name on your headphones and I’ve just realised you’re Diana Gabaldon — for you everything is free. Take anything you want’.”

She added: “Then there are people who make crafts and do art — there are thousands of Facebook pages that sell Outlander gear.

“One woman wrote to me saying she has a business doing stencils to go on bedroom walls of Outlander erotica and asked if she could use some of the more romantic quotes from my books.

“So there are these spin-offs all around the world, although Scotland is where you can see the direct financial impact it has had.”


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Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon has received an award for boosting Scottish tourism through her fantasy saga.

Outlander news from Private tours Edinburgh .

The US writer, 67, received an International Contribution to Scottish Tourism award at the Scottish Thistle awards.

It comes as VisitScotland published a paper detailing how sites used in the TV adaptation have seen visitors soar.

The report says that set-jetting is a growing trend in Scotland, partly due to the “Outlander Effect”.

Ms Gabaldon has told in many interviews how she was inspired to write the Outlander series after watching an old episode of Doctor Who.

Her lead character Jamie Fraser is based on the kilted companion Jamie McCrimmon, played by Frazer Hines, who appeared during the Patrick Troughton doctor era.

Outlander follows a romance between Jamie, a Highland poacher and Claire Randall, a World War Two nurse who is catapulted through time to the Jacobite era.

OutlanderImage copyrightSTARZ/AMAZON PRIME
Image captionCaitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander

It was adapted for TV in 2014 for US network Starz, with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in the lead roles. Filming continues to be based in Scotland, with many Scottish locations doubling as France, the Caribbean and North America.

On receiving the award, Ms Gabaldon said: “It’s fabulous. I hear a great deal from fans of mine who have read the books and seen the TV show, who come to Scotland because they all write to tell me how wonderful it was and they send me souvenirs of their trips.

“I have a stack of postcards as well as a small number of Loch Ness monsters scattered around the house.”

‘Truly extraordinary’

The Outlander Effect and Tourism paper, published on Thursday, reports that attractions that appear in the Outlander TV series have seen visitor numbers soar by 67% since 2013, from 887,000 to 1.5million.

Doune Castle, near Dunblane, which doubles as the programme’s Castle Leoch, has seen the largest surge – 226.5% between 2013 and 2017.

Numbers at Blackness Castle, near Linlithgow, which features as Black Jack Randall’s headquarters, increased by 181.7%.

And Glasgow Cathedral’s visitors increased by 66.8% after it was screened as a French hospital.

Doune Castle, which featured in Outlander, welcomed 142,091 visitors last year

All Scottish visitor attractions were surveyed to discover how screen tourism and Outlander has impacted on their business.

Almost all respondents considered screen tourism as positive for the industry and a fifth of attractions located next to filming locations said they saw an increase in visitors.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “The impact of Outlander on Scotland has been truly extraordinary.

“It has been amazing to see the global reaction to Diana Gabaldon’s stories of adventure, romance and Scottish history – and the subsequent television adaptation – and seeing it translate into visitor growth for Scotland.

“Screen tourism continues to be a growing trend, however it is Outlander which has been the story in recent times, inspiring millions of visitors, from the USA to Europe and even China, to embark on their own Scottish adventure.”

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, added: “Scotland’s wonderful landscapes, rich history and culture continue to captivate visitors from home and abroad, making tourism one of our most important industries.”


Private tours Edinburgh – unique tours of Scotland 7 days a week – phone 0131-549-9785Private tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ?Private tours of Scotland 0131-549-9785 seven days a weekPrivate tours Edinburgh 0131-549-9785 . Looking for day trips Edinburgh ? How about taking an Outlander tour from Edinburgh to visit Jamie Fraser’s home in Scotland’s amazing Outlander film locations ? For tour information call +44131-549-9785 now *** check availability now for our unique tours of Scotland +44131-549-9785 seven days a week