Review: Outlandish Scotland Journey Part 1 and 2

When I read Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager)*, I thought to myself, “I really want to go to those places and see those things.” I often wish it was easier to find stuff in Scotland but there’s so many things in Scotland that it can be hard to know where to look for anything specific! Anyway, that was before they made a TV show out of it, and now there’s even more Outlander locations in Scotland!

*Book 1 was retitled Cross-Stitch in the UK for some stupid reason, and they wonder why it was initially less popular over here; it’s still the same love story between Jamie and Claire.

Another rainbow in the West Highlands of Scotland on the way to Loch Ness.

The first guide, Outlandish Scotland Journey part 1, covers the Outlander sites between Edinburgh and Inverness, while the second, Outlandish Scotland Journey part 2, covers Inverness and a whole plethora of sites around the city. In both cases, the sites are marked on a map so you can see the route that goes between them all.

If that’s not enough, there are also very clear directions explaining how to get to each location, and the guides are very clear about what you will find in each place, with lots of details to help you make the most of your holiday. One thing I especially liked was the thistle icons that rated each location, and showed whether a location was worth visiting or not, so I could see at-a-glance how many sites to spend time visiting (nearly all of them… now I just need a reliable vehicle to travel in).

Another thing I liked was the author has found pictures of what the places look like, and put them alongside what the places looked like in the TV series, so you get an idea about how similar the places are in real life (for example, some buildings in Culross were painted for filming so in real life they’re a different colour).

One more thing that I liked about these guides is that they give you the disabled access information, so if you are traveling as a disabled person or if you’re taking someone who is disabled, you have a good sense of whether you can get into any specific place. I’ve talked before about why that’s important to include in travel guides as it can make or break some people’s trips.

It was also useful to know how much time to schedule for each aspect of the trip; for example, it tells you how much time each itinerary will take, depending on whether you want to do it faster or slower, so you have a good idea of how much time to budget.

Other things that you will find in these guide books include: Where to park, for sites where parking isn’t immediately obvious; whether any individual attraction is worth a visit or not (and an explanation and references showing why not, if it’s bad, so you can make an informed choice); how much they cost; and there are even lots of extras, such as places of interest that weren’t in the books/TV series but are still worth a visit while you’re in each area.

These Outlandish Scotland Journey ebook guides also really make use of being in an electronic format, by linking to additional useful information, which basically means it’s like someone went out and painstakingly researched your holiday for you, so all you have to do is follow the route and have a great time! Or, if, like me, you’re the sort of person who likes to go out and discover things, these guides have a lot of mileage in them as well; I would choose the most interesting locations, and see what turned up in the space between them while I was traveling (because Scotland has a LOT of space).

If you live in Scotland, you could do some of these locations as a series of day-trips at the weekend, rather than a long holiday, and it would certainly be a great way to spend your days off! If I still lived in Edinburgh, I would definitely do that.

These guides are useful for a wide range of readers, both locals and further afield, and my overall conclusion is that they are well worth a buy if you are going anywhere in Scotland this year or researching a future trip.

Find the Outlandish Scotland Journey guides on Amazon here: Part 1 and Part 2
Or find out more here: Outlandish Scotland Journey website

The Basketcase Diva

Oh, bipolar antics, how we all love thee </sarcasm>. When you next get made to feel like complete shit, I want you to remember that this happened:  At 8am today, I went to the supermarket in my dressing gown.  It has bunny print all over it.  I wasn’t wearing anything under the dressing gown except my knickers.

So next time you feel like a worthless human being, like you’re not good enough to do something or like you can’t face people after what you did, just think of me in my bunny dressing gown wandering round Morrisson’s.  Security were following me around and I had to say ‘this place is classy, providing personal bodyguards for customers.’  I wasn’t really on form, I was a sugar zombie craving my own brains.

I only bought a basketload of cake and cookies. Medication-induced munchies.

I don’t know why, but instead of feeling embarrassed, I’m just vaguely amused and feeling like one of those elderly divas who insist on wearing rouge, pearls and Chanel No. 5 despite the fact that the highlight of their day is answering the door to the postman.  Wow, we have so much in common.  Except that you don’t really see women like that any more.  I guess their time has passed.  That’s kinda poignant.

Wait, no, it’s all good, there’s still Carrie Fisher carrying the torch for basketcase divas everywhere.

Perhaps next time I’ll put my hair in curlers, too.

There was a time, when I lived with my dad, when we both used to dress up in silly outfits and go to the supermarket acting like characters – we’d put on accents, have silly mannerisms… the best one was when we pretended to be Texans looking for some grits in Edinburgh’s ASDA (Wal-Mart).  We asked three different members of staff, it was hilarious.  I was so carefree and un-self-conscious back then, I would have done anything to get a laugh from someone I cared about.  I guess I stopped doing it because my husband doesn’t really laugh at stuff like that.  It’s no fun when it’s not funny.

Although it’s the complete opposite of shopping in a costume/character, going to the store in my bunny dressing gown really reminded me of how I used to be.

This article was resonant today; this dead Italian guy Sebastiano Magnanini really reminded me of myself.  You know what?  It’s really sad that he died at 46, but he lived his life in such an awesome way.  I think I might go to my grave regretting the fact that I never managed to commit an art crime in Europe.

Oh, wait, it’s all good, I had that webcomic for a few years.  That was a crime against art if ever I saw one.  Oh you want the link?  Here knock yourself out – you’re going to want to after you’ve read it. I had this one as well:  It was about vampires and werewolves.  Such things were very popular in 2008.  At one point they were both in the top 100 webcomics and getting 30,000 views a day.  Generally people’s response to Tank Quest was “I don’t get it.”  Having said that, there’s a video game named after it, and I did meet someone who understood my webcomic once. Scary. Still, it’s not quite the same sort of art crime as producing an amazing forgery or heisting the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. Never even been there, that’s how cultured I am. I took one look at the queue and said, ‘meh, let’s go back to Montmartre and have more coffee’ (coffee here meaning actual coffee and also sex), so we did. I even remember the guy’s name. I did get to see the Eiffel tower though. It kinda looks like mis-shapen scaffolding.

I stopped making the webcomic because I didn’t really know where it was going.  Then I wrote a plan to help direct it.  Then I got bored as soon as I knew how it ended. Wow that was a blast from the past, I was making those comics round the same time I was going round ASDA dressed like a ballerina (etc). Connection?


Alcohol party 06 Snow White 2
I don’t know *what* I was doing with my hand. I think I was waiting for a bluebird to perch on it.  That plastic cup is filled with whisky, BTW.  This was 2006. 
K9 Kings Manor Summer 09 party
That K-9 was remote controlled and that scarf and coat were handmade by me.  This was 2009.

Maybe I should change my blog name to basketcase diva…


Am driving to Edinburgh today to collect my father’s personal effects.  Last night was Motley Crue and Alice Cooper (5 hours driving on the motorway, SO worth it).  I will write it (and Bob Dylan) up when I get back.  Edinburgh’s a 9-10 hour round trip in reasonable traffic.

The roads are pretty foggy.  I don’t want to be on motorways in this weather.  I think it’s easier to drive in fog at night when the daylight doesn’t obscure the headlights.  Ick.

I want to be at home with my bunnies and my tea.