Blackness Castle, Scotland

Blackness Castle, Scotland: Outlander filming location

Blackness Castle, Scotland: Outlander filming location

Any Outlander fans amongst my readers?

Want to talk about some of the more gruesome scenes from the show? No? OK, let’s just talk about the filming locations instead then, shall we?

Terry and I just finished binge watching the first two seasons of Outlander last week, and as well as clearing up a few things about why so many tourists think Scottish people all wear kilts and speak a bit funny, it also gave us plenty of opportunities to jump up from the couch shrieking, “WE’VE BEEN THERE!” when some of our beloved local landmarks appeared on the screen.

(I’m speaking for myself here, by the way: Terry’s not much of a shrieker, really…)

We’ve already been to Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison), Doune Castle (Castle Leoch) and Hopetoun House (The Duke of Sandringham’s residence), so last weekend we decided to take a drive out to Blackness Castle, near Linlithgow, which stands in for Fort William on the show. (The real Fort William being a couple of hundred miles north of here…)

Now, Terry and I have both been to Blackness a few times, but neither of us had ever actually been inside the castle, because I’ll let you into a secret: a lot of ruined castles can be a bit, well, boring once you’re inside them. Don’t get me wrong, they’re awesome to look at, and I always enjoy walking around them anyway, but the more ruined they are, the less there is to see, and sometimes – sometimes – I can be a bit too cheap to want to pay to walk round a ruin, which you can see perfectly well from outside, anyway. Totally living up to those Scottish stereotypes there, as you can see…

Blackness is not one of those castles, you’ll be pleased to know.

For one thing, it doesn’t seem quite right to describe it as a “ruin”,  exactly. Yes, it’s uninhabited, and, yes, there are bits of it which are, well, falling down, to be blunt, but it’s still mostly intact (So much so that when one of those unexpected Scottish downpours started while we were inside, we didn’t even notice: those are some thick walls, let me tell you…), and as you walk around, you get a real sense of what it must have been like when it was inhabited. It’s also much bigger than it looks from outside (the front of the castle is designed to look like a ship when seen from the water, to scare approaching enemies…), with one room leading into another, which leads to a treacherous-looking spiral staircase, which leads to yet another network of rooms, which… you get the picture. At one point we encountered a very confused looking couple who were walking around with dazed expressions, going, “But which door did we come in? How do we get out?!” They’re probably still there, actually…

interior of Blackness castle

interior of Blackness Castle, Scotland

man at work

Great Hall, Blackness Castle, Scotland

An Outlander filming location?

(The Great Hall looked very familiar to me, so either it’s been used as an Outlander filming location, or I lived there in a past life or something. Most likely to be the second option, I reckon. I’d like to think I was someone important enough to live in a castle, but, knowing my luck, I was probably a serving wench who died of consumption…)

Outside is even more impressive: the castle is built directly onto the rocks (I mean, can you even imagine how much that would cost you these days?!), and has views up and down the Forth. The courtyard is a very famous Outlander filming location, and is where they filmed that flogging scene, which I had to watch through my fingers, and which still haunts me to this day:

Outlander filming location: Blackness castle, Scotland

(Oh, look! That couple DID manage to escape after all: good for them!)

Blackness Castle, Scotland

the pier at Blackness Castle, Scotland

pier at Blackness Castle

We spent a couple of hours wandering around, although we could easily have stayed longer without running out of things to see. This was actually our first real day out of the summer, unless you count trips to IKEA, which I totally do: between my pregnancy and Terry’s mum’s illness, we’ve been pretty much housebound for weeks now, and it was just really nice to get out in the sunshine (Well, and the showers, obviously…) for a couple of hours, and feel like “normal” people again for a while. Just a little, while, granted, but hey: we’ll take every bit of “normality” we can get right now, no questions asked…

Blackness Castle, Scotland

10 Comments
  1. Fellow Outlander fan here. 🙂 Looks gorgeous, Amber! I’m exactly the same as you, I love being able to say we’ve been there, so we’ve invested in Historic Scotland and NTS family memberships over the last couple of years- it only costs a few pounds a month per organisation, but for us (and especially having two kids), it makes a huge difference in entrance costs. Goodness just a family trip to Edinburgh Castle alone and your membership would be 2/3 paid for. And my kids are at an age now where they bigger so are more interested in the history, and have a slightly* longer attention span…

    * when I say slightly, I mean it! 12yro is the worst, “Is it lunchtime yet? When’s dinner?” 🙈

    Hope you’re continuing to keep well, my thought’s remain with Terry & his Mum. xxx

  2. So I love Outlander and am visiting Scotland in September, so hopefully I can see this castle! I know what you mean about castle ruins. Sometimes they’re just so…ruined! But this one has so much to see on the inside, too. Glad you had a great summer day exploring it!

  3. I am binge-watching Outlander for the last few days too and I am feeling like jumping on the plane/train and getting to Scotland as soon as possible as apparently I miss it to bits!

    Thank you for sharing the images and the stories about filming locations. I hope I get to see them too!

  4. I’ve never been to Blackness castle so need to add that to my places to visit one day. Love Terry’s photos
    I’m glad you managed to have a day out and some sunshine.

  5. Tantallon Castle is my favourite. One of my Glasgow friends says it was the inspiration for the infamous Red Wedding episode in GoT. Haven’t heard that said elsewhere, but it’s certainly atmospheric and with a real history of its own.

  6. I have to visit. Been to Falkland and did the pics with fountain looking up at Claire window. I shriek each time I see it “I’ve been there”. Enjoy your blog that you.

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