Daniela's Blog - Outlander Tours Schottland
Daniela's Blog - Outlander Tours Schottland

Friday, September 7th - Glasgow


On Friday, we started the day with an extensive breakfast in a restaurant in John Street, right next to the restaurant of the evening before. The breakfast was rich and tasty, but we had to wait quite a long time for it, probably because the leek tartes ordered by Sabine and me also included steamed pumpkin and various beans. Way too much, we only wanted the tart, we had also ordered scrambled eggs and bread... Anyway, we had a lot of fun, every dish found approval and so we were able to face the program of our first day well strengthened.

Finally, we got started quite a while later than planned and the first thing we did was to pass Sam's drawing on the wall of Tennent's Brewery in Duke Street. A few years ago, Sam Heughan shot some very funny commercials for the brewery, if you want to, please search and watch on youtube, it's a lot of fun!!!

I continued to Glasgow Cathedral, where I found a parking lot right next to the pub at Cathedral Square. We wanted to see the cathedral first and found there already the first souvenirs, postcards and stamps, even Outlander articles they sell there meanwhile! The cathedral is actually called St. Mungo's Cathedral or High Kirk of Glasgow and belongs to the Reformed Church of Scotland. The building belongs to the Crown and has not been a bishop's seat for more than 300 years and thus actually isn't a cathedral anymore, but the name Cathedral has simply persisted. The choir school from 1124 is with nearly 900 years the oldest existing school in Scotland!
Of course, I also showed my girls the crypt (lower crypt), thus the basement under the front nave, where they had shot for the hospital scenes in season 2  (Hôpital des Anges in Paris) between the arcades, there is also a notice board for the shooting down there. It is interesting that the cathedral is also dedicated to the nurses, with Claire being a nurse.

Then we crossed the bridge to the old Victorian cemetery, called Necropolis (Greek for necropolis), from where you have a nice view over the city and the cathedral. There are many gravestones and statues of famous Scots, such as the famous reformer John Knox or the chemist Charles Tennant. Sabine and Conny climbed the steep mountain for a big walk, Christina, Karin and I stayed in the lower area.

I used the time for getting in touch with Gillebride MacMillan, who had already spontaneously promised me on Twitter, weeks ago, to meet us for dinner one evening in Glasgow. Well, dinner didn't work out for him on that day for family reasons, but he suggested to have lunch with us and meet us before at the shooting location in Dowanhill Street. We arranged a meeting shortly and impatiently waited until Sabine and Conny came back. On our way, I showed them all the oldest house in Glasgow, Provand's Lordship directly opposite the cathedral, and we drove through the middle of the city over the Great Western Road to the residential area with the beautiful red and white sandstone town houses, where we met Gillebride after a short time. He works as a teacher at the university and is also a famous and excellent singer, mainly singing in Gaelic, so he has also appeared as a bard in Outlander's season 1 (episode 3) and since then has gathered a steadily growing fan base, well deserved as we all think, because he is a really great singer. He had brought me his new CD and signed it for me. Then he showed us the house and street where the Randall family had shot for their home in Boston. He happened to pass by there in the morning, because this street is on his footpath to the university and he was able to watch several old-fashioned cars and superstructures for the shooting.

Afterwards, we accompanied him on his way towards the university to a café called Little Italy on Byres Road for a coffee. We spent another pleasant half hour together, he invited us to his concert, which would be in Edinburgh the following week on Friday, before we had to say goodbye, because we were expected at 2 pm in the Auchintoshan Distillery.

Until we were finally all back in the car, it was a bit later tahn expected and the distillery is located quite far outside the gates of the city, always in extension of the Great Western Road. Finally, we reached the Auchintoshan Distillery shortly after 2 pm, where we had booked a Whisky Tasting for only 4 people, because Karin does not drink whisky. But they wer kind enough to let her join us for the tasting and so she didn't have to spend the time alone as we had expected. We were allowed to try 5 different sorts of whisky, added to some a few drops of water to find out the slight changes in tast and all those who preferred not to drink much (e.g. drivers like me) got the leftovers in small screw glasses afterwards to take them with us.

Our group for the tour consisted of about 25-30 people. First, the guide explained to us that there are about 136 distilleries in Scotland, all of which are united in one association. The malting and shredding of the grain is now (as in most other distilleries) done outside the house. The most important first steps are therefore the soaking and steeping of the grain in huge vats, in different stages and temperatures, to dissolve the sugar and start the fermentation process. To put it simply, you brew a simple beer within a few days. It is then distilled, the special thing about Auchintoshan being that it is not distilled twice as usual, but three times, and then diluted with distilled water of over 90% alcohol content to a drinkable percentage. Filling in barrels sets a decisive course for the taste, e.g. in red wine barrels from southern France, smoked oak barrels, sherry barrels from Spain or bourbon barrels from the USA. During the storage period, some varieties are also transferred from one barrel to another or mixed from 3 varieties, a so-called "Marriage". A whisky barrel loses about one to two percent of its filling quantity per year, called the "Angel's Share", and a little more at the beginning. As a result, the content becomes less and less and therefore, and also because of the storage costs, older whisky is so highly expensive.
After the visit to the stored barrels in the warehouses (millions and millions of pound), there was a glass for everyone to taste again and the gift shop, of course.

Now we drove the same way back to the city to get to the Botanic Garden before its closure. I let the girls get out quickly to look for a parking place, which I found after a few turns in the side street just opposite the entrance and got out to follow them. Even though we had feared that the greenhouses were already closed, they were still open and I saw Conny disappearing in the Art Nouveau house, hurried and followed her. Beautiful, how it is arranged inside, completely in white, bright and light-flooded, with many mostly tropical plants, carnivores etc...

From there it went to the other greenhouses with desert plants, orchids, banana, palm trees, etc.... The variety of shapes and colours was really overwhelming!

Then we strolled towards the exit, where we found blooming flowers that reminded me at first look of crocuses, but in autumn? But no, it was - of course - meadow saffron, also called autumn crocus. It was a real stroke of luck that we had Christina with, a real biology expert! She was able to give us interesting hints on some of the plants shown.

And we met again our little friend the squirrel that the others had met before, which was trusting enough to eat Christina out of her hand, who still had a few almonds in her pocket. Really unique... And no, the pictures are not enlargements, I was really that close!

A few blocks south, I wanted to show my friends the beautiful old bridge in Kelvingrove Park where a scene with Claire and Brianna in a pram had been shot. Since it was already relatively late, we found a comfortable parking right next to the park entrance at Kelvin Way and the bridge we were looking for was only a few meters into the park, across the river Kelvin.

Now we  entered the campus of the University of Glasgow, even though we had already feared that the entrance would be closed because of the advanced hour, but we found the main entrance open as hoped and a parking along the main road only a few meters away, even free of charge. The purest luxury in such a big city! The old building of the University of Glasgow is an architectural gem from the 15th century and I found without problems the colonnade, named Cloisters, which I had already visited last year. In the series, Claire and Frank walk through here after an invitation from his boss at the university.

We found even more beautiful corners on the complex building of the University before we wanted to go. But before that, some of us had to go to the toilet. We found a sign for toilets in the corner next to the Cloisters. Inside there was only one ladies toilet and to the right a disabled toilet. Because it was pressing and it didn't matter, Conny went to the disabled toilet, I waited outside, when suddenly a constantly repeating beep began. When Conny finally came out, we found out that she had probably accidentally triggered an alarm when she pulled the cord next to the toilet, assuming you could use it to pull the flush. Well, we swayed outside between panic "Let's go before somebody comes and scolds us" and calmness "we wait until somebody comes and explain the mistake". But nobody came, although we waited a few minutes, probably because of the late hour (luckily someone didn't really need help!), but the beep wouldn't stop at all. We had a discussion what to do next, excited like school girls. Finally, I went inside again and found a red button next to the door that could be used to acknowledge the alarm. Relieved and relaxed, we could continue on our way home.

That evening we wanted to go to Jamie Oliver's restaurant called Jamie's Italian, which we had already discovered on the first evening, directly on George Square, and we were happy to find a table for us 5 in the middle of the restaurant. It was very well frequented and offered mostly upscale Italian cuisine, with Scottish and creative flair, as one can expect from the famous name... As also on most of the following evenings, we got a common bill, divided the amounts and put our money together; separate bills and paying separately is not common in Great Britain as also in most other countries.

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