Diana Gabaldon's Outlander novels begin with a nurse time-traveling back to 18th-century Scotland – and for many of the novelist's legions of fans, the story continues with a pilgrimage.
BY PENNY CARNATHAN
The wind charged across Drummossie Moor. Finding nothing to slow it in the scattering of stooped stone grave markers, it drove pellets of chill rain into our cheeks, necks and eyes. We hunched our shoulders in our thick jackets, blew our red noses and stepped gingerly across the grass, mindful of the boggy spots that had also sucked at the feet of the doomed Jacobites buried here.
Shivering and wet, we paused, one by one, at the stone engraved "Fraser," the resting place of all of that clan who died on Culloden Battlefield on April 16, 1746. Some of us laid flowers; one left a ribbon in the Fraser tartan. But we thought of them all, the 4,500 (or so) Highlanders wrapped in soggy plaids against the screaming wind, starving, exhausted and dug in for a battle for which many had no heart. We empathized with their suffering; their courage we could only admire.
We would never have experienced this watershed in Scottish history, would never have even known of it, if not for Jamie Fraser, the red-headed 18th-century hunk who'd summoned us here from across the Atlantic. He is not buried at Culloden, or anywhere. Our powerful, sweetly romantic warrior lives forever in six novels – author Diana Gabaldon says a seventh, An Echo In The Bone, should publish in the fall.
The full text of this article is available in the Summer 2009 issue of Scottish Life.
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Photo center left: © Heather Winters; Castle: P. Tomkins/VisitScotland/Scottish Viewpoint.