What it’s like to be an Outlander Tour Guide in Scotland

It is one of the most successful television shows in the world at the moment and attracts thousands of people to Scotland every year.

But what’s it like to be the man who greets these Outlander fans and shows them around many famous filming locations?

Well, according to Andy McAlindon, who founded and runs Highlander Tours, it might just be the best job in the world.

The 44-year-old, who lives in Kilmalcolm, doesn’t just know Outlander, he’s actually lived it.

“I had the chance to shoot on Outlander in 2015, and I filmed over 30 days on season 2, pretty much the same on season 3 and I was also involved in seasons 5 and 6.

“My wife and two sons also filmed several episodes and seasons of the show.”

The expert tour guide said the experience gave him a new hobby – investing in 18th century clothing and weapons – and a desire to learn more about the Jacobites and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

And after shooting his first Outlander video in his backyard, it quickly went viral with over 5 million views.

“I started meeting fans of the show who came to Scotland,” he explains. “I ended up doing a few tours for another company and felt I could do a much better job starting my own company and never looked back.”



Andy at the Devil’s Pulpit (which featured in season one)

Since then he has run Highlander Tours full time and has helped hundreds of fans discover Outlander in Scotland.

“The fans are amazing! Everyone’s here to have a good time,” Andy replies when asked what it’s like to be a tour guide. “A lot of my clients’ ancestors even came from Scotland, so I always say ‘Welcome home!’

“Whether they’ve read the books or just seen the TV show, it’s so moving for them to walk the Lallybroch Road or see Craigh Na Dun in person.

“Some have tears in their eyes, it means so much to them.”

Seeing the impact the show can have on people, including himself, is what drives him to ensure that he always provides the best possible experience for every fan.

He adds: “We all know it now as ‘The Outlander Effect’, the series and the books have something for everyone whether you are single, married, widowed, divorced, interested in history, romance or time travel.



Andy talks to one of his guests about one of Outlander's popular filming locations
Andy talks to one of his guests about one of Outlander’s popular filming locations

“It brought so many people together. There’s no religion or politics, it’s just Scotland, whiskey and Outlander!”

Speaking about his favorite place to take people, Andy, who even dresses in Jacobite costume for every tour, said it was a tough choice, but one destination stands out.

“I don’t know if I have a favorite Outlander location, but I love Culross [the historic Fife village which featured as ‘Cranesmuir’ in the show].



Andy (to the right of Sam Heughan) starred in many Outlander scenes
Andy (to the right of Sam Heughan) starred in many Outlander scenes

“There is such a rich history there. The town was founded by St Serf in the 6th century and it is the birthplace of St Mungo.

“There was even the world’s first underwater coal mine, which operated until 1625, when it flooded beyond repair.

“I also love Culross Palace and even had a ghostly encounter there, while on tour with an Australian couple.



Andy with his children at Lallybroch (Midhope Castle)
Andy with his children at Lallybroch (Midhope Castle)

“Linda, the manager, could talk to you all day about the scary things that happen there daily.

“If you’re ever there you have to try The Red Lion, it serves the best steak pie in Scotland in my opinion.”

Although he mainly collects his guests from the Edinburgh area, he is happy to pick them up wherever they are.

On the tour, he takes them to places like Lallybroch (Midhope Castle), Abercorn Church, Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace to name a few of the filming locations.

“When touring with Highlander Tours, clients will laugh and cry,” says the experienced guide. “They’ll practice sword fighting, get a full display of 18th century weaponry, dress in authentic 18th century plaids or red outfits, taste whiskey and recreate some of the scenes from the show.

“We’ll tell you where things were filmed and also tell you the story of the places we visit.”

And it only takes a quick read of some of the reviews that have been left behind to tell that it knows what it’s doing and definitely delivers on its promise of giving fans the best time.

He adds, “We really love what we do. It’s so rewarding to not only just take people to places, but to really bring them to life.”

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