Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm going to Scotland in July!!

I'm thrilled to announce that I've made plans to go to Scotland in July 2012, on Judy Lowstuter's Celtic Journeys OUTLANDER tour!  Going to Scotland has been a dream of mine since I first read the OUTLANDER books five years ago, and we finally decided that this is going to be the year for it.

My sister Alice will be joining us on the tour, coming from Israel.  She's also a fan of Diana's books, although she doesn't have a lot of spare time for reading.  I'm delighted that I'm going to be able to share this special experience with her.  And my mom is also coming along, for the sightseeing and to help with the logistics of travel and accessibility.  (She is not a fan of the books but has promised to at least give OUTLANDER a try before we go in July. <g>)

I can't tell you how happy I am to finally be able to do this.  As some of you may know, I have cerebral palsy and use an electric scooter for long distances.  I don't travel a great deal, and I really wasn't sure I'd ever be able to go to Scotland.  But this tour seems just right for us, and Judy has been amazingly responsive and willing to go out of her way to address all of our concerns about accessibility, etc.  I'm looking forward to this so much!  I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic experience. <g>

If you have been on this tour or know someone who has, please let me know.  (Here is an article from 2008 about a group of fans in Florida who went on this tour.) 

And of course if you have any tips for a first-time visitor to Scotland, please share them!

Diana's reaction on Compuserve, when I posted about this last night, was, "Judy is fabulous, and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time!"

By the way, Judy is mentioned (along with Judie Rousselle and Elenna Loughlin and the rest of the Ladies of Lallybroch) in the Acknowledgements to THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, for "the bench in the eighteenth-century walled garden at Culloden House, kindly dedicated to me and my books".  You can see a slideshow with photos of the bench and Diana here.  (In case you're wondering, yes, this is the same garden where Elenna Loughlin took that gorgeous photo of Diana that appears on the back cover of SCOTTISH PRISONER.)  I'm excited that I'll get to see that lovely garden, and the bench, for myself next summer!

16 comments:

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Great news Karen, I'm so happy for you! It's a gorgeous, unforgettable country - you'll have a ball! It was a dream come true for me this past August as I'm sure it will be for you!

Tip: go to Castle Eilean Donan, if possible. Everyone says it's the most photographed castle in Scotland and there's a reason why -it's breathtaking! It was the first castle I saw when we were there and it was truly awesome and magical!!

MichelleKCanada said...

Oh Karen that is simply fabulous. If I ever get to do my dream trip to Scotland that is the way I want to go too! I am so happy for you.

I am actually looking forward to your blog posts about the trip once you have taken it. Please include pictures? Let me live through you!

Fabulous!

SKM said...

Good for you Karen. :)

Susan said...

I've been to Scotland many times and never tire of it. My first piece of advice would be to invest in some REALLY good wet weather clothing. You never know what you'll get weather-wise, and you don't want a little rain to get in the way of a good time. :-)Hooded rain coat, waterproof shoes, pants that dry quickly.

Don't forget one of those power converter plugs for ANYTHING you take that's electric (phone, laptop, etc.) Check with your cell phone carrier regarding international calls etc, if you want that kind of thing. Can be VERY expensive. Lastly, contact all credit card companies and banks whose cards you might use overseas and let them know when/where you're going. I know folks who did not and tried to use their cards only to have them blocked. Tough to untangle from long distance.

The tour sounds great! Enjoy!!!

Susan McCreadie
@the_bothy

Nenya said...

That's great Karen. I hope you'll enjoy your trip and tell us everything about it. :)

Jacquelynne said...

Oh my gosh!!! I am so excited for all of you going!! I totally want to do my exchange in Scotland for school :) History Student needs to go to Scotland at least once in her life, haha!

lesley said...

Fab news Karen,very excited for you all. Hopefully your mum will be hooked on Outlander way before you go so will understand just why it is so exciting.
:-)

Mary Hudspeth said...

Karen,

I am so happy for you, your sister, and mother. We so enjoyed our trip there eight years ago. At that time, I was the only one in my family who had read the books, so I surreptitiously steered part of our tour towards important places from Diana's world. It was wonderful.
I can't imagine how much more meaningful this will be for you with your extensive knowledge of both the books and many of the incredible people from the forum.

liljan98 said...

That is so so wonderful that you'll finally be able to go to Scotland! Yay! I've been there in 2009, when I took the still unread Outlander novel with me (I thought if that's not the perfect time to start reading it, when else?) and fell in love with Jamie and Claire and Scotland during this trip. It was quite special to be there while reading about all the events of the first two novels, (yeah I went through both of them on this trip and even started Voyager on my trip back home ;-) )
You will love it in Scotland, I'm sure of it, because it's a beautiful country, very nice people and... well, Jamie's place. What's not to love about that?

I will travel back to Scotland myself in August next year, this time with two friends of mine. We'll take a car with us this time and even though we haven't planned any details yet, I already know I will have to go to Culloden, because that wasn't on the itinery of the trip I booked in 2009. And after reading Outlander I just have to go there and my friend will just have to deal with it :-)

Deniz Bevan said...

Squee!! I'm so excited for you! If only it was April - DH and I are hoping to go to Edinburgh then.
I can't wait to live the tour vicariously through you!

Anonymous said...

Marvellous! I hope you will enjoy Scotland. It's a lovely wee country! As a lurker coming out of lurkdom (I do enjoy your blog, but never have anything meaningful to add) I hope you'll forgive me for jumping on you like this.

I live in Scotland, although I'm English, since, ahem, a kilted Scot literally swept me off my feet. Ever since I find myself dispensing advice to friends and family visiting. So, fwiw:

a) Layer your clothes. No, seriously, think onions. The weather can change from one moment to the next, and you may go from freezing cold to incredibly hot within moments, as soon as the sun comes out.

b) If you're going in summer: MIDGES! These are tiny, evil mosquitoes, for those who don't know. The one proven remedy is wind. Even if it's raining and there's no wind...good luck. Local remedies are Avon's Skin So Soft (the bluish-greenish one) and "Smidge". Skin so Soft works fine, but you will be covered in a film of oil and midges. "Smidge" is pricey and depends on your body's chemistry, but it works for me. Both are locally available.

c) Eilean Donan Castle is lovely to look at. The scenery is fantastic. BUT it's not by any means authentic. It was rebuilt in the early 20th century and not restored, but based on a dream (literally)the owner had. Quite a bit of a letdown for me, but it's still lovely.

d) Don't miss out on some fantastic seafood. Fish & Chips are wonderful, but if you can, try "Cullen Skink" (smoked haddock chowder).

e) If you can, visit Edinburgh Castle. I gather you are mobility impaired, but most Historic Scotland sites like Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle etc, are very accommodating about that. You might want to call "Historic Scotland" beforehand though.

f) The "Highland Folk Museum" in Kingussie does living history. They have a Highland village from the 1690s, which is well worth a visit. The "blackhouses" there didn't go out of fashion till the beginning of the 20th century, so just the atmosphere is worth soaking in. Coming out of one, smelling of peat for hours after, is worth it.

g) Prolong your visit, if you can!!! "Sassenach" that I am, even I can't recommend it enough. Just remember that sometimes, in a Scottish mist, you can't do anything else but get wet, with dignity. ;o)

Sorry for giving all this patronising advice. I truly don't mean to sound patronising, by any means and I hope you will not take it that way. If it comes across like that, I'm frightfully sorry. I suppose, I got carried away a bit, with a chance to contribute something.

In any case, I hope you enjoy Scotland as much as I enjoy your blog,

All the best,

Cecily

Lee Ann said...

Have a wonderful time! I've been to Scotland 4 times and am planning on going back in June! XO

The Lit Bitch said...

You are SOOOOO lucky!! I want to do this tour SOOOOO bad, like I would give my right arm to take this tour!! :).

Sounds like an amazing opprotunity for you and truly a dream vacation. I never wanted to visit Scotland or the Highlands really until I read the Outlander books last year as well....now it's like all I think about!! They sound so beautiful, mystical, and amazing!!! I LONG to go there someday and now that I know there is a special Outlander tour group I am totally dragging my husband and going that tour!!!! I can't wait to see pics from your trip!! Have fun!!

The Lit Bitch said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Faith said...

Thrilled for you! I look forward to hearing all about it.

Desiree said...

I, too, am going on my first trip to Scotland. I appreciate the advice listed here, and I'm taking it to myself also. I am flying into Glasgow in late April, and will be in Scotland for three weeks. I've just booked my accomodations and flight ticket--I'm very excited about my trip!!!