As professionals with families, we joined this new adventure of writing about our enthusiasm for Outlander to not only illustrate our own journeys, but also for those whose lives have been transformed by this dynamic series. Spreading positivity throughout this fandom is important to us. We enjoy sharing our endearment for the adventures we take, the experiences with other like-minded fans, and, most importantly, the connections we have developed with others across the globe. Neither one of us could have predicted the remarkable path we found ourselves following, as we express our enthusiasm for all things Outlander. Needless to say, we are enjoying every moment!
We have been fortunate to meet so many people along the way. In this blog, we will share one of our newest friendships with fellow fans Graham and Stewart. Knowing someone who loves history as much as we do has been one of the greatest gifts of this new found camaraderie. It has helped to form a personal connection from Outlander’s fictional filming locations to true historical locations beyond what we read and see within the series. In addition, their ability to obtain autographs and being within close proximity to filming sites for Season 3 has also been admired by many of us in this marvelous fandom. Sass3 is excited to feature Graham and Stewart to share how their life long hobby of collecting autographs from actors, within Outlander and beyond, has been transformed into bringing enjoyment to others across the globe.
“If we can give someone in the world a bit of happiness or joy as we wait outside at filming locations or sharing our autographs, we will always try and do that. That is the right thing for us to do.”
-Graham and Stewart
The Transformation of a Cherished Hobby
From our conversations, Stewart and Graham had started this hobby of collecting autographs approximately 30 years ago. They truly enjoyed meeting various cast members of theatre and film, while also capturing the moment with a photograph and cherished autograph. This pastime has led to the acquisition of signed memorabilia that they have safely stored in albums within their homes. One of my favorite stories we spoke about was meeting the one and only Muhamed Ali. A legendary encounter at a book signing over 23 years ago, Graham still remembers the excitement and wonderment of that special day. It is a remarkable story we will always love to hear. Their other star meetings include Harry Lennix from Blacklist, Jonathan Price from Game of Thrones, Kim Cattrall, Doug Ray Scott, Billy McNeil, Susan Boyle, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, and many more!
Graham and Stewart have always enjoyed watching historical fiction. As many fans have stated before, no one could have anticipated the level of impact Outlander would have when adapted to the screen. The marked release of the television show in 2014, based on the historical time travel series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, intrigued Graham and Stewart – wondering if this story would be a true representation of 18th century Scotland. To their surprise, they not only found a program they thoroughly enjoyed, but they also found themselves joining a local fan base and began reading the books. Soon they became engrossed by the series, as many of us have found ourselves, not knowing it would also open the door to new opportunities to use their hobby to help others.
“We have had opportunities to meet wonderful people that we never would have met before. Making friends, sharing our appreciation of history, visiting filming sites, portraying the connection between reality and what you see on screen, and having fun and moments of laughter while doing it – we couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.”
-Graham and Stewart
Their Goal: Helping Others Experience Outlander and Supporting Good Causes in the Process
With the rapid growth of this fandom, the desire for autographs have grown – not to mention the inquisitive minds of various fans who wish to see glimpses of Season 3. As we all know, patiently awaiting Season 3 is not always easy to do. Sharing with other Outlander devotees has always been the primary goal of Graham and Stewart. They have given away autographs to others who may never have the opportunity to meet the cast, provided knowledge of cherished Edinburgh sites to traveling visitors, and proudly donated the prized possessions they have collected for the purpose of charity. Graham and Stewart discovered a way to use their natural talent, being in the right place at the right time, for a bigger purpose.
“We have friends and acquaintances who have asked for signed memorabilia for raffles and other fundraising events – which all go to certain charities. We don’t have a favorite. Rather, we believe that if anyone needs something, we will do our best to get it for them and provide our support. Our mother passed away with cancer, these causes will always be important to us.”
-Graham & Stewart
Graham and Stewart take great pride in the ability to share their successes in order to give back to the community. Over the past 30 years, they have donated signed photos they have collected for cancer research and other children’s based charities. They continue to support these important causes and felt honored to provide signed pictures of Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan to various fundraising events in order to raise money for each actor’s charities. Up to this date, they have acquired and given away over 30 signed pictures of Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, and other supporting cast members. They have also provided signed images to Scott Kyle’s Bathgate Regal Theatre to assist in their fundraising efforts. Most of the donations were auctioned off at the Highlander Fling in September of last year, raising a total of approximately 700 pounds. Graham and Stewart’s kindness and the desire to assist others remain at the forefront. Their actions acknowledge the belief that as a global community, many Outlander fans go above and beyond to do what they can to make a difference in the lives of others.
Treasured Filming Moments with the Outlander Cast of Season 3
Graham and Stewart have met most of the cast of Season 1 and 2. They easily discuss their delight in meeting cast members. Shared observations during their interactions testify that in addition to all of the individual talent of the actors present in this series, there is also a genuine interaction between the stars and their fans. For those of us who have been fortunate to have met the cast at events, we have certainly witnessed this level of grace shown towards members of the fandom during the many meet and greet opportunities.
“The fan base for Outlander has been great. We have made lots of friends joining different groups and, to us, it is like a big and happy family. We all help each other to get tickets, give notice of upcoming events, and support each other as we enjoy watching this series.”
-Graham & Stewart
During the most recent filming in Edinburgh, Graham and Stewart patiently waited at the filming site to catch an opportunity with Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. The hours spent waiting and bravely facing the weather elements was a memory they enjoy sharing. Their level of patience and perseverance was rewarded by capturing brief moments with the actors, leading to the acquisition of incredible imagery that gave glimpses into the highly anticipated Season 3 of the series. Living vicariously through their adventures, we enjoyed each image they were able to capture. Nonetheless, they state that their level of success in these ventures has been achieved through the support of each other, while also making sure they remain respectful of the actors time and limitations they may have while filming.
With all their exposure to the actors, have they ever been starstruck? That was a question we couldn’t help but to ask! They answered, “We were fine will all the cast, and we have even formed some friendships with some of the extras on set. However, nothing can compare to the natural beauty that Caitriona Balfe possesses.” We felt the same way when we also had the opportunity to meet her in person. There is no doubt that her true beauty lies in her radiant personality, vibrant laugh, and astounding inner beauty of dedicating herself to global charitable and societal causes.
Suggestions of Sights to See While Visiting Scotland
The adaptation of Outlander has certainly created a rise in tourism throughout Scotland, as many try and follow the paths of their favorite characters. Seeing the filming sites of Outlander is definitely on the top of our list. Scotland has so much history and beauty to explore. In addition to participating in their hobby and donating to charities, they also spend time sharing their knowledge of historical insights to visitors across the world in person and through social media postings. Graham and Stewart’s kindness and personable nature enables many to feel as though they are traveling with them on their narrated journeys to the locations they visit – connecting fans together through the magical story of Outlander.
We wanted to give some of their favorite recommendations to fellow visitors, although there are many more that can be listed. Here are just a few highlights to consider on your next visit to Scotland.
Midhope Castle, a 16th-century tower house in Scotland that represented the family home of Jamie Fraser. In real history, during the latter 16th century, the castle belonged to Alexander Drummond of Midhope. A special stone inscribed as “AD 1582 MB” can still be seen today, commemorating Alexander and his wife Marjory Bruce.
Highland Folk Museum is in Newtonmore Village, south of Inverness. This was the location where Episode 105 – Rent was filmed.
Duone Castle served as the location for Castle Leoch. It is a 14th century courtyard castle with a striking 100 foot high gatehouse and one of the best preserved great halls in Scotland.
Hopetoun House was the location used as the home of the Duke of Sandringham in Series 1. In addition, the rear of the House was the location for the dual between the Duke and the head of the McDonald clan. It is a site of magnificent natural beauty. The house was built and designed by Sir William Bruce.
Linlithgow Palace was one of the principal residences of the monarchs of Scotland in the 15th and 16th centuries. The heart wrenching scenes of Wentworth Prison were filmed at this location.
Glasgow Cathedral is one of Scotland’s most magnificent medieval buildings with a rich history, including surviving the Reformation of 1560. You may recognize this location, as it was transformed into L’Hôpital des Anges in Season 2.
Craigmiller Castle begun in the late 14th or early 15th century as a simple tower-house residence that expanded following subsequent owners over the next 250 years. It is best known for its links to Mary, Queen of Scots. For Outlander fans, this will be the location for the infamous Ardsmuir Prison in Season 3.
Clava Cairns is a prehistoric burial place that is over 4,000 years old. It is a set on a terrace about the River Nairns and is a location that is filled with incredible history unlike any other.
Preston Mill is a watermill on the River Tyne. The present mill dates from the 18th century. However, there has been a mill on this site since the 16th century. Most notably, it will always be remembered as the site of Jamie’s unforgettable river scene in Season 1.
Outlander is Certainly for Everyone
Outlander is a powerful story. Each reader or viewer can often identify what first drew them to this show. With so many elements incorporated into the plot, such as war, spirituality, family, bonds, time-traveling, history, and of course love – there is always a topic that can speak directly to each person, whether man or woman. The power of Diana Gabaldon’s words has led many of us on adventures of meeting new friends, traveling, and re-learning elements of history that relate to this series. There is nothing greater than experiencing the connection between the locations you see on screen and actually walking the path of true historical events. Graham and Stewart have enabled many of us to have a stronger affiliation to Outlander, as they share their knowledge and experience chasing the footsteps of Outlander. We can not thank them enough for their friendship, contributions to charitable organizations, and spending time helping others to find Edinburgh sites that are beyond the typical visitor path. Most of all, their kindness and generosity confirms that friendships can be formed in the most unexpected ways – All Because She Wrote A Book.
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