Outlandish Spirits at the stones
Images from 
work in
the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images 
our work
in the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our 
work in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images 
from our work
in the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our work in the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden
click-links! Images 
our work
in the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our 
work in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our 
work in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from 
our work in
the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! An Arasaid from 
drawings Images from our work 
in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our work 
in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from 
work in
the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our work 
in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from 
our work in
the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from 
our work in
the Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! An Arasaid from 
drawings Images from our work 
in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links! Images from our work 
in the
Highlands. Some pictures have hidden click-links!

Frequently Asked Questions about the tour

Questions about Accommodation
Typical accommodation

We reserve your accommodation; you pay for it directly upon arrival (some places may require an advanced deposit via credit card). You will be staying in three places, two nights each on the J&C Tour, a fourth place on longer tours. We choose them because of their high standards (4* standard, or equivalent). We have had great feedback over the years about our choices for both their quality and hosts.

Solo travellers will be given a room to themselves (usually a double bed). This is why a solo traveller price is higher than two people sharing. It's called "single supplement" by hosts.

For your information, your full week accommodation bill will be around £400 pp for twins and doubles, or £600 for solo travellers. This amount will be paid to the hosts directly.

You can inform us in advance of your intention to book your own accommodation and for example, choose to use Air B&B or hostels, which will be less than the figures quoted above.

On tour, we pick up and drop guests at the tour designated accommodations each day. If you prefer to book your own, different accommodation, you may meet us each morning at one of our accommodation pick up points.

Questions about meals and food

On the seven day J&C Tour and longer Dragonfly etc:

  • For your information, the food cost for a week will be around £180-240 person.
  • All breakfasts are covered in your accomodation cost (if you are staying in the places we choose for you).
  • Two lunches of the seven on the J&C Tour are provided and paid for by us, other tours may vary and will be noted on their own pages.
  • For your remaining lunches, you will pay for these directly.
  • Three evening meals will usually be group dinners. We arrange these social ocassions and you choose and pay directly for your own meal.
  • The remaning evening meals are open, non-group dinners. Again, there will be ample choices from the simple to fine dining available. We will give you a list of places, phone numbers to reserve if needed. Your B&B hosts or ourselves can phone on your behalf. Frequently, our guests like to dine with each other in small groups. Solo travellers will never be short of a dinner companion, unless they want to be!

On one day tours and extensions:

  • Lunch and dinner are not included in the quoted price. You pay for your lunch yourself. We will be in an area with multiple choices for lunch.

You will commonly find vegetarian options in most restaurants and cafes for lunch and dinner.

Gluten free requirements are understood by cafes and restaurants in Scotland. Some have choices specified on the menu. Other times you will ask and the staff will offer you something suitable.

If you have food allergies (which you will also list on our booking form health section) then you can contact the eateries ahead of time based on the list we supply and make arrangements.

Food standard in Scotland is excellent, with much influence from Europe and India and many awarded chefs. Some of the best beef in the world comes from Scotland. Enjoy the variety of our cuisine. We give no help to the un-adventurous and picky eaters.

Questions about luggage and transport

baggage allowance photo All tours have the same baggage allowance, drawn from years of experience, as to what makes good travelling. Each person is limited to ONE piece of luggage.
Maximum luggage size is 50 linear inches total (Example: 22" high x 16" wide x 12" deep = 50" linear).
You must be able to lift your own luggage in and out of the vehicle trunk and carry it up 2 flights of stairs. There are no elevators, tour guides or porters to carry your luggage for you. The photo to the right shows the appropriate luggage.
A small day/book pack may be substitued for a purse and must comfortably sit on your lap in the vehicle to hold your wallet, camera, etc. This daypack should NOT be used to hold luggage items.
You can download a suggested packing list after booking. It has been compiled from my own and our guests' experiences.

Tour Van image We normally use 9 seater MPV vehicles (one or two) like the one shown here. Their size allows us to go into remote parts of the Highlands unavailable to large coaches.

However, these vehicles have limited luggage capacity, hence the personal luggage allowance.

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Questions about the itinerary

Details of Edn
religion-vs-science We do not offer Edinburgh on the 7 day tour. However, we offer the Edinburgh Extension tour sometimes, the day after the J&C tour, which guides around particular flavours of Edinburgh, covering the return of Claire to Jamie at "A.Malcolm, Printer" for part of the day and we include the Scottish Enlightenment era which began in the mid 18th century and is the inspiration for the boom of Scientific, intellectual and humane accomplishments affecting Europe and 'the new world' of America and its constitution. That is, the second part of the day you will enjoy because it shows the context in which Jamie operated his printing business.

Your tour will clearly show what optional extension(s) is offered after the main tour.

The Starz Fort William Ha ha! No! There's nothing there to see. Black Jack's Fort is a round-about and a supermarket carpark! We'd rather spend the time on things from the books that you will not want to miss.
However, now that Starz has chosen a castle not unlike the old Fort William, we go there on the 1 day Starz extension tour for those interested in the TV version of the books.

All J&C tours of Scotland visit genuine standing stones and circles, including Clava Cairns. There are no stone circles in Scotland exactly like the one described by Craig Na Dun - there are plenty of stones and circles to see though. We'll visit two or more.

The stones shown in Starz were made for the series.

Remember, it took Claire and Jamie the better part of their first year to make their initial journey just in the first book. Even with modern transport, the order of the locations in the book would literally have us going up/down/up and around in a couple of circles, and would not be practical or possible in one week! What we do, whenever possible, is to go to the locations of the first book early in the tour, Culloden quite late in the tour, then finish with Edn. There is a logical flow to our tour.

Each Jamie & Claire tour date shows the Itinerary & Experiences. We do not publish a day by day, hour by hour schedule. Why? Because we like to keep elements of surprise and, frankly, you don't need one. You're on holiday, so kick back, relax and enjoy the view while WE make sure we're on schedule! Each evening we will go over the next day's plan so you can prepare the appropriate clothing and have something to chat and dream about. Our other tours, like The Romantic Scottish Borders tour will have similar and you can find their itineraries on their page. The list is printed on the contract as well.

Scotland tours begin & complete in Edinburgh; Dragonfly tours begin and complete in Paris; Private tours can begin and complete anywhere you wish by arrangement.

On the J&C seven day tour, we often give you a half day in Inverness, for shopping, laundry and catching up on your journal.
On other days between about 9 am and 5 pm we guide you, afterall you are paying for a guided tour!
We recommend that you give yourselves a day or so on either end of the tour.
On the Extension tours (1-3 days) we use all the day (9-5) for quality experience, without free time, except in the evenings.
On custom tours, you can choose how much free time you want.

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Questions about tour price

Each tour has its price listed in three places:

  • On the home page in the quick-links table
  • On each of the season pages (e.g. "Spring Tours") in the summary table at the page head
  • In the drop-down section of each tour e.g. July Tour, The price and what's included drop-down section

What's included?
Again, that is given on the drop-down "the price and what's included" section of each tour. At the foot of that section an estimate of pretty much the whole tour cost (inc meals and accommodation) is also given, to assist with your budgeting.
(You can also read the next section below on this page "Questions to ask about price".)

Custom/ private tours are priced to your needs, but are broadly about the same as the regular tour if you have a party of 6 or more. See Custom Tours page.

We do not pay travel agents a commission. As a result, any agent that you have engaged to plan your wider itinerary is unlikely to make our tours available to you.
You are most welcome to deal with us directly and have your agent programme other aspects of your trip.
Simlarly, unlike some tours, ours is not re-packaged and resold through any other tour company (with accompanying price increase). All guests on our tours pay the same.
We do work with agents for custom tours where the client pays them directly for their organising service. See Custom Tours page.

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Picking the right tour for you - questions to ask

It's important when evaluating different tour companies to compare their offer on a like-for-like basis.

Here's a few things to ask any tour company when comparing price (Answers given for J&C Tour / MacKenzie Adventures tours, for comparison)
  • Q: Are site entrances included in the cost?
    A: We include all public access castles and boat trips (if scheduled) in our package. Currently, we give guests the option to visit the the Culloden Battlefield centre (paid entrance). It's well worth it, but some guests choose not to go in, so we make it an optional extra.
  • Q: How much money does your tour operator expect you to spend beyond the tour price itself?
    A: We give you that estimate at the foot of the tour price drop down section.
    Note however that we do not inlcude the seventh night of the seven day tour as some travellers do not wish that booked due to onward travel arrangements that evening.
    Note ~ On our private tours, you can opt for a tour price that includes meals, accommodation etc.
  • Q: Is the flight included in the tour price?
    A: Flight is not included in MacKenzie Adventures tours. We do however assist you with avoiding problem airports.
  • Q: Are there costs getting to the start of the tour?
    A: Our tours start and end on the Edinburgh train and tram routes and depending where your pre-tour hotel is, it will be less than £3 pounds sterling to get to the start point. There are also hotels we can recommend right at the meet point, if you prefer.
  • Q: Is accommodation included in the tour cost, and what standard or rating is it?
    A: The cost of accommodation reserving is included in the given tour price (for 7 day+ tours). The cost of accommodation is not, because you pay it directly to the hosts, but we use mostly 4 star, locally-run, characterful B&Bs and on some tours we include one or two nights at a lovely castle-like Grand House for quiet elegance.
    Note: '4 Star' accommodation is nicely decorated, clean, fresh and comfy, often with an added "wow!" touch. With a few exceptions '3 Star' is clean and no-frills.

In general, you'll want to query whether a tour is hosted by Outlander fans (there's only a few of such tours) or whether it's a rebranded generic Scotland tour capitalising on recent increase in interest. When the Starz Outlander series went live in 2014, the number of tour companies doubled (hint, hint).

  • Q: How many guests are on the tour?
    A: All our pre-scheduled tours are small - 14 guests max. However if you're requesting a private tour for your larger or smaller group of travellers we can cater to the size.
  • Q: Does your tour schedule have big gaps where there is no guiding in the beginning, middle or end?
    A: No! If we say we're giving you a tour, we don't leave you waiting for a day or two before the actual guiding has begun. We start the tour and guiding from the first day and continue to the last, from morning to late afternoon. On one day, there may be an afternoon of free time to take care of personal things or explore as you please.
  • Q: Do you guide on the last day of the tour or drop us off in the morning and bid us farewell?
    A: If we say it's a 7 day tour, then we don't drop you at the airport or final destination that morning; we have a full day out and return usually between 4 & 5 pm on the final day. A 7 day tour IS 7 days!
  • Q: What is the quality of the guiding? Does your guide accompany us around the sites or only wait by the vehicle until we return?
    A: We are fans and repeated readers of the books. We guide around most sites with you except on occasion when there is a site interpreter or that solo exploration is better.
  • Q: How much time is spent in a vehicle per day vs how much at the sites / experiences?
    A: We drive about 90 minutes a day on most days, just over 3 hours to get to the Highlands on the first day and just over 2 hours to head south to the more southerly Highlands on the return. We intersperse the daily driving with plenty of visiting, hiking, exploring time away from the vehicle.
    We want you to see Scotland with your feet firmly on terra firma and not just whipping by you through a vehicle window. The average speed on Scottish roads is about 40mph, so bear that in mind when looking at distances per day.
  • Q: Is the J&C tour based on Outlander or is it a general tour of the Highlands?
    A: The tour was created in 2008 after carefull surveying of other Outlander fans It follows the first three books. We don't venture off to see unrelated castles and islands etc. that either did not exist in the time period or were not depicted in Claire and Jamie's travels. There is more than plenty to see just sticking to the places depicted in Outlander the books! These are places that readers and non-readers will enjoy as the history and beauty comes through for everyone. We also visit places that are less accessible to most tourists. This is to help you experience not only the world of Jamie and Claire but of the Scotland so few get to see.
    (Private tours give you the choice to go off-book if you have other places you wish to include).
  • Q: Is your guide a Gabaldon reader?
    A: J&C Tour is run by fans for fans of Outlander. We are long time Diana Gabaldon fans (Scot & myself) 12 & 18 years respectively who have read the series a few times... do I detect an understatement here?
  • Q: What is the age range of the tour guests?
    Our travellers have been from age 23 years to 85 years so far on the scheduled tours. Yes, we've had some pretty robust seniors that have put the rest of us to shame! We've had families with young children on the private tours.
  • Q: Does your guide speak Gàidhlig and give you lessons along the way?
    A: You'll get lessons from Scot as we drive along and be introduced wherever possible to native speakers to practice the living language.
  • Q: Is the tour based on the Outlander books or is it based on Starz filming locations?
    A: The Jamie and Claire Tour is primarily based on the books as we bring you to the places of reality, like Culloden and to the most authentically represented places like our own Lallybroch as it's described in the book and represents the home architecture of that era. We offer a one day extension specifically for TV Outlander locations.

Scotland has strict No Smoking laws. It is now illegal in/around accommodation and within public interiors. For ease of rules and everyone's comfort, we do not allow smoking at any time on the tour, even in the off hours, as the smell of smoke clings and can be carried into the vehicle / restaurant.

All MacKenzie Adventures tours have a house style - small, genuine, well thought out, high standards... - but we have a few different kinds of tours.

  • Jamie and Claire Tour: For readers and viewers of Outlander and their partners (readers or not)
  • The Connoisseur's Tour range: For those keen to see the other fabulous places that few overseas travellers go.
    Currently we offer "Journey to the Western Isles" & "The Romantic Borders". We would not go here if we didn't like them so much!
  • Slow Scotland: inspired by the Slow Food movement (opposite of fast food) where we base ourselves in one rich area and take trips out and back via foot, cycle, sail, canoe, horseback - nothing fast. Use of motor vehicles is kept to a minimum. A style of tour where you really get to know a region of Scotland in incredible depth. These types of tours work well for private parties of family and friends. We often arrange for private accommodation for you so you only need to unpack once over a 6 or 7 day period.

On private tours you set the activity level. On the advertised, scheduled tours we set it.

Group / scheduled tour requirements. As tour organisers, it is important for us to have guests with similar abilities on the trip so that we can tailor the more active parts of the tour accordingly (walking, hiking, pony trekking). Knowing how long it takes you to walk a mile on the flat is a good indicator, as is your height to weight ratio (BMI) and any physical limitations (knees, respiratory etc). Your BMI also lets us know if you will be comfortable in the van's seats. The max BMI on group tours is 29.5. Private tours do not have this requirement, as we adjust the activity to your private tour group level.

We have these requirements partly for safety (we go into remote areas at times), but also for enjoyment of both you and your fellow travellers to have a tour within everyone's abilities.
Our itinerary does not allow for an alternative activity or opt-out for non-participating guests. The "activity, walking and fitness level" section on each tour page details the requirements for each tour.
Note: You'll give height, weight, medical conditions and mile-time figures during booking.

Footwear for the active parts: You are required to have walking boots or shoes with ankle support. This means a boot that comes up and laces around the top of your ankle. Without proper footware, you will not be allowed to participate on the hikes or walks.

connoisseur's tour stamp
"The Romantic Borders" or "Journey to the Western Isles" are two examples of the Connoisseur's Tours.
From our Borders Tour These adventures have the hidden gems, the roads less travelled, the well kept secrets, the "Oh my goodness why don't more people know about this" places! These adventures are designed for those who...

  • Want to see some of the well hidden and "best of" an area, often outside of the Highlands
  • May have visited before, be it Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, France, to the popular tourist sites and on a repeat visit wish to go deeper into the land and culture of the place, to wonderful places that they have probably never heard of.
  • Are perhaps Outlandish Spirits alumni and have been on The Jamie and Claire Tour or any of our other adventures because the aching in your heart to return just won't go away.
  • Guests who trust that we know our country, love these places and that they are worth sharing.
  • Guests who understand when we shout "No! We don't go to Edinburgh Castle and Loch Ness of this tour!" and will take them to places even better.
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Questions about guests / fellow travellers

Two of our guests The minimum age for guests is 21 on unless accompanied by an older adult.
Past tours have had guests aged 23 to 80+ on the same tour.
Many of our private tours are requested for families with young children.

Questions About Optional Extras

The World's End Do you want to see more of Scotland and stay a bit longer? We've created the Extension Tour to let you do just that. An Extension Tour is a short, optional tour of 1 to 3 days in addition to your existing tour. Some of the options offered from time to time are:

  • Starz Outlander Locations ~ about four of them.
  • Edinburgh Extension ~ Claire's return to Jamie and the Scottish Enlightenment.
  • Mini Borders Tour ~ a Connoissuer's Tour with fabulous walks along seacliffs and the romance of Sir Walter Scott.

The tour will follow directly after the week long tour. Some of the Extension Tours are also Connoisseur's tours (see above drop down menu) to take you deeper into the culture and history in ways seldom seen by tourists.

Pony Trekking Pony Trekking and Horse Riding are great ways to see a bit of the countryside and woodlands. This is an optional extra available on many tours, depending on our route. It lasts 1-2 hours and costs around £30. Prior riding experience is not always needed. Safety helmet is supplied by the stables. Highland ponies are traditionally smaller so there is a weight limit for riders of about 180 pounds / 13 stone / 80 kg.
Those in the group not riding are usually guided on a pleasant walk.

Travel tips, arrival, first time in Scotland etc

Flights should only be purchased after you have received word that the tour is 'set to go'. This happens when there are a minimum of 6 guests registered and you will be notified as soon as it happens.
See: "Are all tours guaranteed departure".
You will arrange your own flight to/from Edinburgh or alternate airports when appropriate.
We advise you to avoid flights that change in Newark NJ or in London Heathrow.
A great route from the north Americas into Edinburgh is via Schipol (Amsterdam) in the Netherlands, or via Mancherster England or Shannon Ireland.

I remember my first time abroad. I wish I knew then, what I know now! So, as part of your booking process, you will receive a suggested Packing List, Edinburgh Hotel suggestions for pre/post tour and information covering everything from currency exchange to local transport, etc. We try to make your first or return trip to Scotland as informative as possible.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get Sterling cash is to use an debit card in the ATM at Edinburgh airport arrivals lounge. You can't miss the ATM (aka Cash-Machine, Hole-in-the-Wall)
Be sure to ask your bank to unlock your cards for use in the U.K.
Note that Amex cards are rarely accepted in the UK.

It's easy! We pick you up (and drop you off) at a location that is :

  • Near to Edinburgh airport
  • On the tram and train lines just minutes from the Airport, Edinburgh city centre and 45 mins from Glasgow
  • There are hotels right there that we can recommend.
You can find all of this in the "Travel Tips" PDF that you can download when booking.

For accommodation, you will have your own room. Usually within our small groups (up to 16 people) there is a natural camaraderie that happens. I do help this along and I remain aware of any single travelers and do my utmost to make everyone feel part of the group. But it is a two way path and each traveler, single or in couples or groups, needs to meet us part way! Scot and I are part of the group too! So we socialize with everyone.

Yes, we advise that. If you arrive the day before a tour, you don't have to worry about your flight being late and you can ease through any jet lag so you're rested for the first day of the tour. If you are late, we cannot wait.
Your downloaded documents after booking will have a few suggestions for Edinburgh accommodation and transport.

Global warming is here, one way or another. As such, seasons are not predictable or consistent. However, here is an overview of our seasons:

  • The pre-spring and spring months of March, April and May are drier, usually. May is filled with flowers, light green leaves. The days can be cooler and get comfortably warm. There are fewer travelers, so you can enjoy sites at ease.
  • Summer can have warmer temperatures. Gardens are in full bloom, but it tends to rain more most years. There are more tourists about.
  • The autumn months of September/October have the added value of the autumn sun that casts a lovely glow over the landscape - artists love this time of year. The heather turns to a deep rusty red that covers the hillsides. The weather is mixed (like summer) and there are normally fewer tourists around.
  • Winter is very beautiful too, providing you have the appropriate outdoor clothing. We can get brief days of clear, blue cold skies, with longer days of driving rain. That's 56 degrees north in the winter for you!
  • See this link for the climate profile for Edinburgh: www.myweather2.com (for Edinburgh) and choose your tour month from the tabs.

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Questions about deposits, booking process etc

They'll be published as soon as I have them, normally in October for the year following. Have patience!

Sign on from the time the tour is on the web until 12 weeks before the tour date. The Sooner a tour is filled the sooner we can establish everyone's accommodation, vehicles, any special events, etc. It is rare that we sign someone on after the 12 week mark. If we do there may be extra costs incurred for late comers.

Click on the Booking link on the slide menu on the left of your screen or on the Book Your Tour Here button within each tour's page. All deposit payments are made securely via a web payment service and you may use your debit or credit card within their system. We do not accept cheques, bank drafts or cash.
Instructions for paying your balance will be outlined on your contract. We currently recommend Transferwise.com
The Terms and Conditions of the deposit, cancellation etc are found on the T&C page.

All tours have a minimum guest number to make the tour viable. It is usually 6.
A tour that is guaranteed to depart (failing force majeur events beyond our control), is noted with a green check / tick as shown in the picture here. green tick

A reminder: Do not book your flights until the tour is guaranteed to go. You'll be informed of this as soon as that happens, which is often several months in advance. If a tour is cancelled due to low numbers, it is at least 3 months in advance. Your booking can be transferred to any other available tour. If you choose not to transfer, your deposit will be returned in full. Though we have never had to cancel a tour so far due to low numbers, it is best to side with caution.

If you have trouble with the booking process, you can email me by translating this email address
Samantha @ JamieandClaireTour 'dot' co 'dot' uk
Telephone from outside UK: your country exit code* +44 1764 681682
(Remember time difference. *US exit code is 011)
Within the UK 01764 681682

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Yes we do, but we do not pay commission. We can offer custom / bespoke itinerary based on our tours as part of a private tour that you programme for your client. See Custom Tours page.

If you have trouble with the booking process, you can email me by translating this email address
Samantha @ JamieandClaireTour 'dot' co 'dot' uk
Telephone from outside UK: your country exit code* +44 1764 681682
(Remember time difference. *US exit code is 011)
Within the UK 01764 681682