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!

Touring Scotland for 14 years and Outlander Guides for over a decade

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about accommodation
Typical accommodation

We source and reserve your accommodation; the price of your accommodation is not included in your tour price; you pay for it directly upon arrival (some places may require an advanced deposit via credit/debit card). You will usually stay in three places throughout the J&C Tour, and a fourth place on longer tours. We choose accommodation 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. This is why the solo traveller accommodation price is higher than the price per person for two people sharing a room. It's called "single supplement" by hosts.

Actual Accommodation Cost: Your *accommodation cost: £300 to £400 per person dbl / twin sharing or £440 to £500 solo traveller. The amount will depend on where we're staying. We do not receive kickbacks or bonuses from our B&Bs. You will pay your hosts directly.

On tour, we pick up and drop guests at the tour designated accommodations each day.

Questions about meals and food

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

  • FOOD COSTS: You only pay for what you eat. So, depending on your appetite, the food cost for a week will be around £200 per person for 5 lunches & 6 evening meals. You make your own selection and only pay for what you've ordered.
  • 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.
  • All breakfasts are covered in your accomodation cost.
  • Some evening meals will be group dinners. We arrange these social ocassions and you choose and pay directly for your own meal. There will be ample choices from the simple to fine dining available.
  • Your B&B hosts or ourselves can phone on your behalf if reservations are required. Our guests like to dine with each other in small groups on independent nights and solo travellers will never be short of a dinner companion, unless they want to be!

One day tours and extensions:

  • Lunch and dinner are not included in the quoted price. We choose a local eatery and you pay for your lunch yourself and the tour completes before dinner time.

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 many eateries are willing to take a special order.

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 + 14" wide + 10" deep = 46" linear inches).
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 A. Malcolm & the Edinburgh Enlightenment Tour Extension the day before or 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 with 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 normally visit two sets.

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.

Go to the date of a tour you're interested in. 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 pages when a tour is published. The Itinerary & Experiences are 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 from about 9 am we guide you through the day, afterall you are paying for a guided tour!
There are some places we go where you can explore at your own pace away from the guide and group for a couple of hours before we journey to our next destination.
Usually, three of the evenings are independent and three have group meals. On the Extension tours (1-3 days) we use the whole day 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
What's included?
This is a general list for all tours. For specific tour inclusions & exclusions see individual tours listed on their own pages.
  • Fully researched, planned, booked and guided tours
  • Guiding by professionals including a kilt-wearing Highlander and Historian (long term DG fans for the J&C tour)
  • Reserved accommodation for the duration of the tour (you pay the accommodation hosts directly)
  • Daily transportation from tour start to completion
  • Two lunches on the J&C tour (packed / picnic when weather permits)
  • We arrange 3 group evening meals (you pay for your own meal)
  • Entrance fees to group arranged places (castle, etc.)
  • Evening group entertainment including Highland Tales with Harp
  • Gàidhlig lessons
  • All applicable taxes

What is a tour style and content about?
Tour style and content is about the experiences you may have on tour and is created from our:

Experience+Enthusiasm+Devotion

Experience: We're experienced Guides having given tours of Scotland for 14 years and we created The Jamie and Claire Tours over a decade ago. We are Historians, Storyteller, and avid explorers of this land.
Enthusiasm: We love this country and think of it as 'our back yard'. We enjoy showing people around 'our back yard', including significant places of beauty that few visitors are aware of.
Devotion: We're devoted to our work and especially devoted to the story of our two heroes in Outlander, so on The Jamie and Claire Tour we take you to places and provide experiences that are closest to Jamie & Claire's story and their travels.
The Real MacKay: When the Starz Outlander series went live, the number of 'Outlander' tours went up overnight. If this is the only trip you'll ever make to Scotland or for a long time, go with The Jamie and Claire Tour Guides who are particular about the experience you have.

On our tours you'll also have:
Real Guiding ~ We guide you in each place, (with the exception of a couple of self guiding / free to roam places) not just transporting you from one stop to another and waiting for you at the vehicle. We take you on hikes, show you hidden places, link the book to actual Highland locations and history. We're not simply drivers!
Thoughtful Planning ~ You get a well planned, thought out itinerary according to the book and relevant locations. We don't take you 'off book' to another part of the country or unrelated castles, etc., then call it an "Outlander Tour". We link our experiences to Jamie & Claire's.
Real Highland ~or~ Borderland Hospitality ~ You get lovely, homey places to stay with fabulous breakfasts and countryside hospitality through your accommodation hosts. Each place is hand picked. We don't block book impersonal hotels.
Great Activities ~ Dedpending on the adventure, we have special activities from boat trips, a Wilderness Skills event, beach combing, local Storytelling evenings and ale tasting to optional activities and events like Pony Trekking, (all when available - and they usually are).
The Wow Factor ~ You get a week of "WOW!", at least according to our vibrant guests.

  • Q: How many guests are on the tour?
    A: All our pre-scheduled tours are small and have up to 14 guests max. The transport is not a 'touristy' looking coach but 9 seater vans and 5 seater cars. We also have requests for private tours and can cater for larger or smaller groups.
  • 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. The only exception is when there may be an afternoon of free time about mid-tour to allow guests to take care of personal things or explore as they 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 guide around most sites with you except on occasion when there is a site interpreter or that solo exploration is better. We like seeing these places so much that each time we go we enjoy guiding others. For the J&C tours, we are huge fans and repeated readers of the Outlander books and love pointing out places you might miss as 'first timers'.
  • 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 a majority of days once at our furthest locations, and 2 to 3 hours spread out in a day to get to the furthest Highlands or Borderlands locations. The longer drives are interspersed with activities including site visits, hiking and 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.
    If another company takes you 'all over the country' and 'covers a lot of ground', then you have to question how many days are going to be 4 to 6 hours in the vehicle. That's half to three quarters of your day wasted in a vehicle..... ouch your back!
  • Q: Is your J&C tour based on Outlander or is it a general tour of the Highlands?
    A: The tour was created over a decade ago after careful 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 have been going to locations all these years that Starz has now filmed at. 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: 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 and a few pointers from Samantha as we drive along.
  • Q: Is the tour based on the Outlander books or is it based on Starz filming locations?
    A: Some, but "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. Again, we've been visiting Outlander book locations that we discovered a decade ago and were the only ones visiting them; locations that Starz has only just discovered and have now used for the filming. We offer a Starz one day extension specifically for the other TV Outlander locations that are not within easy reach or timing of the book based tour.

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, accommodation, restaurant, etc., making it unpleasant for others to sit next to that person.

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.
    In some years we offer "The Romantic Borders" or "Journey to the Western Isles". 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: Our scheduled tours are physically active! You should be in decent / good shape when you sign on to a tour. It is important for you to have similar activity levels and abilities on the trip as everyone else so that we know you will be able to stay with the group and not fall behind on our walking and hiking activities. As well, we're travelling, exploring, and socializing for a whole week and that alone takes good health and fitness. You should:

  • Be able to walk briskly up hills / mountain paths on hikes of 1 to 3 hours, keeping up with the guide and group.
  • Be able to climb flights of stairs in castles, B&Bs.
  • Be able to stand for long periods in museums, castles, exhibits.
  • Be able to carry your own luggage up flights of stairs and lift it in and out of vehicles. (See Luggage Allowance)
  • Have a BMI >below 29.5. Check your BMI here

Why is BMI important? - One indicator of a person's fitness and ability to participate on all activities is the height to weight ratio (BMI). The higher range BMI often indicates a person is less likely to keep up with the the hills, back-country & mountain hikes and therefore not enjoy themselves. It is even more important when it comes to safety as our activities will put an extra workout on different parts of the anatomy. When there is a higher weight to height ratio, the activities can be a strain on the anatomy and can result in injury to limb or worse, internal organs especially the heart. If a person's BMI is high, it is a good indication (unless a weight lifter, etc.) they do not engage in regular cardio activity. The last thing we want is for you to break a limb or worse on a tour. As well, our tours utilize 9 seat passenger vans. These seats are roomier than cars but not as roomy as a coach seat. A person's BMI lets us know if they and other guests will be comfortable sharing seats in a row within the vehicle for the whole week.

Our regular itineraries and logistics do 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: These are not endurance tours! People who are in relatively good condition and regularly engage in at least medium cardiovascular exercise should have no problem on our tours. On the booking form you'll give height, weight, medical conditions and your pre-timed mile result.

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 footwear, 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 and who realize there's more to Scotland than Loch Ness!.... ahem, cough cough.
  • 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 Fort William on this tour!" and understand we'll take them to places much better.
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Questions about guests / fellow travellers

Two of our guests The minimum age for guests is 21 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.

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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 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 1.5 hours and costs around £35. 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 (at least 3 months before the tour start and sooner if 6 guests sign on before that).
You will arrange and purchase your own flights 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.
We talk about additional expenses (like gifts and meal prices) in a document after you sign on.

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 document you receive after you sign on.

For accommodation, you will have your own room. Usually within our small groups (up to 14 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 traveller, 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, absolutely. 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 for the meet time, we cannot wait.
The documents you receive 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/were historically drier. May is filled with flowers, light green leaves. The days can be cooler and get comfortably warm as well. There are fewer travellers, so you can enjoy sites at ease.
  • Summer can have warmer temperatures quite often. We visit gardens in full bloom, but it tends to rain a bit more, historically speaking. 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 from purple to a deep rusty red in later autumn 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 16 weeks (4 months) before the tour date. The Sooner a tour is filled the sooner we can establish everyone's accommodation, vehicles, any special events, etc. We may hold the tour open up to 12 weeks, but it's best to check with us first if it's getting towards the closing date. 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.
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. We also notify you that the tour is "set to go", see below. 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
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

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
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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