Outlandish Spirits at the stones
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 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 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 MacIan's
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 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 MacIan's
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 Typical accommodation Typical accommodation

We stay in 4 STAR quality B&Bs, inns and on occasion tasteful, small 18th/19th century hotels, although one or two nights may be in a modern, tasteful, Scottish Hotel. Your room will always have a private bathroom and most of the time this will be en-suite.
Accommodation is chosen to meet the following standards:

  • Lovely, fresh decor and cleanliness of rooms
  • The welcome feel of the house and host
  • Customer service of the owners and staff
  • Great breakfasts
  • Quieter locations for a good night's sleep

Note: We strive to provide rooms either with twin beds or a large double (queen/king) bed where requested, however, staying in small country homes limits our our choices. There may be a time when you will be in your second choice. For non-couple guests: Hosts are offering fewer twin rooms than in the past. What this means for you - Two friends travelling together will probably need to share a double (queen/king when available) bed during part of the journey.
These are pictures of some places we have stayed.

Grand Hunting Lodge Special! In 2015, on the Jamie and Claire Tour, we have reserved our rooms for the season at a lovely Grand Country House (aka Big Hoosie - rhymes with Moosie). The interior has a relaxed opulence of a fine castle and a few 4 poster beds thrown in for good measure. The views over the countryside are lovely. We plan to stay here for two nights, giving you time to relax into the fireside atmosphere with good conversation, a wee dram, a cup of cocoa and fabulous cuisine. This has proven to be a winner with our guests in a trial run and far outreaches in decor, service and comfort, ALL castles available to us, so we're quite pleased! A house that would make any ancient Laird envious.

Note: Private Tours ~ Fancy a week in a Grand House or private Castle of your own with your family and friends? We can arrange this for you.

Single vs. Double/Twin: The "Single" rate is higher and is for guests traveling on their own. It allows them to have a private bedroom all week. Double/Twin is the lower rate per person for each tour based on two people who are traveling together (friends, partners) and sharing a bedroom all week.

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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 52 linear inches total (Example: 24" high x 16" wide x 12" deep = 52" 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 very 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.
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. They are comfortable in all weather and their size allows us to go into remote parts of the Highlands. However we may opt to have a mini-coach for some adventures (these are usually 16 seats).

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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, 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.

All J&C tours of Scotland visit genuine standing stones and circles, including Clava Cairns. We also hike up to stones on a hill, like those that inspired Craig na Dun; you will need to be at the higher end of fitness to do this hike.

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.

On our non-J&C tours, like "The Western Isles" and "The Romantic Borders", there will be a daily outline on the Itinerary page.
On the Jamie and Claire Tour, we do not give a detailed itinerary. Why? We like to keep some element of surprise for you since you have come to 'know of' the popular places and frankly, you don't need it. We ask that on your adventure you are not concerned with a day by day, minute by minute report.
However, 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. You're on holiday, so kick back, relax and enjoy the view while WE make sure we're on schedule! The Itinerary page gives a list of the visits and the experiences that will be a part of your tour.
Scotland tours begin & complete in Edinburgh; Dragonfly tours begin and complete in Paris.

Note: 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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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 looking at price (Answers given for our J&C Tour / MacKenzie Adventures tours)
  • Q: Are site entrances included in the cost?
    A: We include all public access castles and boat trips (if scheduled) in our pacakge.
  • Q: How much money does your tour operator expect you to spend per day beyond the tour price on meals?
    A: On our week long scheduled tours we provide close to an all-inclusive package / price. These include 14 out of 19 meals. This includes daily breakfast, 5 lunches, 3 dinners including fine dining. You have 2 independent lunches and 2 dinners to give you individual time. When you sign on, you receive information of meal costs outside of group meals.
    Note ~ On our private tours, you can go as above or opt for a tour price that excludes meals, accommodation etc.
  • Q: Is the flight included in the tour price?
    A: Flight is not included in MacKenzie Adventures tours.
  • 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, will be less than £3 pounds sterling.
  • Q: Is accommodation included in the tour cost, and what standard or rating is it?
    A: We use 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 with an added touch. '3 Star' is clean and no-frills.
  • Q: How many guests are on the tour?
    A: All our pre-scheduled tours are small - 16 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 actual 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: Our guide goes around most sites with you except on occasion when there is a site interpreter. The exception to this is one of the castles where there is so much to see, we let you enjoy the parts you wish to see at your own pace and each room has full written interpretation.
  • 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. 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 carefully to follow 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 get more intricate in the places that we visit to include off the beaten track with lovely hikes and hidden standing stones. 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: Starz adopted some of our locations we've been going to for several years, which we still go to, like the Cottar's House. We have added some of their new locations (mainly) to the extension tour. 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.

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, 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 can 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.

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). You'll give height, weight and mile-time figures during booking.
We have these requirements partly for safety (we go into remote areas at times), but mainly for enjoyment of both you and your fellow travellers to have a tour within everyone's abilities.
The Activity Level setion on each tour page details the requirements.

Footwear for the active parts: You will need walking boots or shoes with ankle support.


connoisseur's tour stamp "The Romantic Borders" or "Journey to the Western Isles" are two examples of the Connoisseur's Tours.
Where few tread 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 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 understand that we only offer these because we love these places and want to share them!
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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 are:

  • Starz Outlander Locations ~ a fun one day tour currently being offered to anyone whether having been on the 7 day tour or not.
  • 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 and if more than one day, your accommodation will be booked for you (unless stated otherwise). 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

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.
Other expenses will be 2 lunces and 3 dinners on your own during most of our 7 day tours, local transport, gifts, etc.

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 after 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, May are filled with flowers, light green leaves. These were the drier months but we can't promise this. 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 may rain more some 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 and there are normally fewer tourists around.
  • See this link for an unbiased opinion: www.scotland-flavour.co.uk/scotland-weather.html

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Questions about deposits, booking process etc

Sign on from the time the tour is on the web until 12 weeks before the tour date. Final balances are due about 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 payments are made securely via Paypal and you may use your debit or credit card within their system. We do not accept cheques, bank drafts, money orders or cash.
Instructions for paying your balance will be outlined on your contract.

If you have trouble with the booking process, you can email me by translating this email address
Samantha @ JamieandClaireTour 'dot' co 'dot' uk
OR
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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Miscellaneous

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