Sharing a wee dram at the Highlander Fling at the Regal Community Theatre in Bathgate, Scotland with Outlander actors Scott Kyle and Stephen Walters, and Grammy-nominated Susan Boyle.
I read all eight of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books in 10 days. After the first one, I called in sick to work and crawled into my bed with a case of diet Coke and 6 packs of peanut butter cookies. At the end of number 8, when I realized that 1) there weren’t any more and 2) I’d have to shower soon, I posted my fate on Facebook.
Friend: Watch the TV show until Gabaldon writes another one.
ME: Show? SHOW??? There’s an effing SHOW?
Yes, I am that girl who has 999 channels and never watches anything except NFL Red Zone.
After binge-watching the show 5 or 6 hundred times, I decided to go to Scotland. At least in Scotland, I could eat haggis and drink scotch and hike the Great Glen Way and visit the Culloden battlefield and generally keep living in my Outlander fantasy. I connected with the gracious Scott Kyle on Twitter, who invited me to come to his Regal Community Theatre for the Highlander Fling, and have a wee dram with him.
Starting in Edinburgh, I walked the Royal Mile from the Castle to Holyrood. (For my fellow Outlander fans: I looked for A. Malcolm the Printer, but alas, there was no Carfax Close to be found.) To the Fling in Bathgate, then to Fort William, to take the gondola up to Ben Nevis. Next I walked to Fort Augustus, to see Loch Ness and its famous monster. (She’s a beauty! Click here for video.) Got off the trail at Inverness and wept my way through the memorial of the bloody Battle of Culloden, where the Scottish Rising was crushed by the English in 1745.
Here’s what I learned:
- Scotch whiskey and Scots men can be Smoky, Spicy or Salubrious. Enjoy responsibly.
- On the Great Glen Way, follow the Irish lads. They’ve got a nose for the best pubs.
- Some things you just don’t need to know. Like, what’s in black pudding, and why does it come with Cajun sweet potatoes. Wait, that’s not Cajun?
- Don’t wear your Union Jack t-shirt in the Scottish Highlands. They’re really, really not ready to let it go.
Last thing: if you have any doubt that the Universe knows what it’s doing, go to the Isle of Skye. Breathe.