Outlander fans find the real ‘Craigh Na Dun’ in Inverness

Most Outlander Fans come to Inverness wanting to visit the real Craigh na Dun only to\n fi\nnd out that there is no such place but there is a standing stone circle that happens to be only five minutes drive from Culloden Battlefield called Clava Cairns and it is a wonderful place to visit. Diana only visited Clava Cairns for the first time after she had written the the first Outlander book and was surprised that it happened to have a cleft stone in it. She used this stone on the back cover of the First Outlandish Companion and we used it in our Inverness Outlander Logo.DG bookOutlandish Companion. Volume 1, U.S. /Canadian publication (Thanks Leslie Ann for the photo )But as Diana herself told us that she was sure Claire would have mentioned the three big cairns that were there if Clava Cairns was Craigh Na Dun. Clava Cairns is a very special place and because of it’s proximity to Culloden it has been very busy with Outlander Fans visiting.stone 7On the Winter Solstice 2019 we got to watch Clava Cairns doing what it was built for . It was wonderful to see the sun shine its light at the back wall of the Cairn this would of been even more spectacular when the roof was on the cairn.

So where is Craigh Na Dun? In the show they made stones and erected them at a beauty spot in Kinloch Rannoch, Perthshire, this is actually a special historical site itself as it’s a ring fort . If you go visit this area you won’t see any standing stones but it is a stunning area to see.stone 6.jpgThe pedestals for the stones were in the ground the first time we were thereblue flowers growing on the hillSign on the gate going into the fieldIt’s a working farm.There are lots of standing stones and and stone circles in the Inverness area but none that are called Craigh Na Dun. There is however a standing stone on a hill that overlooks Inverness just as Diana described in her books but the hill is not called Craigh Na Dun it’s called Craig Dunain (that’s close enough for us ). From the hill you can look down at the lights of Inverness.This Cairn has only been rediscovered in the past few years as it was over grown with gorse for many years.20170805_134642The Leachkin chambered cairn is the remains of a round Orkney-Cromarty type chambered cairn the standing stone that’s left consist of a coarse conglomerate, it dates back from the Neolithic period (c.4000-2000BC).To find it follow the Great Glen Way walk that runs from Inverness to Forth William. It will take you an hour to an hour and a half walking from Inverness city centre to get to the Cairn or you could drive to the Scottish Natural Heritage building, Great Glen House, Leachkin Rd, Inverness IV3 8NW and walk from there. It will take you about a twenty minute walk to the cairn. Walk across the road at the SNH building follow the blue Great Glen Way signs up the path through the woods turning right at this gate.walk1This path was the old drovers road which was the road used by the men escaping after the Battle of Culloden.You get to see some nice views over Inverness before the path takes a left up hill.

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Not far up hill from this view point you will see another blue Great Glen post on the path.Take the path directly opposite this sign ,there’s a picnic bench there now . Follow the small path heading up the hill.walk 4As you head up the hill you will see the top of the standing stone.Reach the top, sit down and enjoy, whatever the weather or time of year, we do recommend going there to watch the sun rise, it’s magical.IMG_8988IMG_8986IMG_1578IMG_1573IMG_1570IMG_136820170814_07402020170805_13464220170620_14333320170210_080947_00120161121_10255420161121_10252020170208_11491720170210_081342There is no filter used on these photos20170210_08130620170210_08124820170210_08120620171001_071603You may find some blue wild flowers near the stone just like Claire.If you come to the cairn from the back of it20170620_143224It’s a great place to go and hang out with friends.In this area there is also a Fairy Well and a Cradle-stone click hereDiana mentions these in Outlander

”Above the Inverness District Asylum, and immediately below the ascent to Craig Dunain, is “Fuaran a Chragain Bhric,” or the Well of the Spotted Rock. This was in former times a place of great resort, the waters, among other healing virtues, being supposed to be strongly diuretic. The bushes around were adorned with rags and threads; while pebbles, pins, and shells might be observed in the bottom of the spring. We have seen one juniper bush close by so loaded with rags and threads as to be hardly distinguishable. This was also a fairy well, and if a poor mother had a puny, weak child, which she supposed had been left by the fairies in place of her own, by exposing it here at night, and leaving some small offering, as a dish of milk, to propitiate the king of fairyland, the bantling would be carried off, and in the morning she would find her own, and restored in health.

-Alex Fraser, Northern Folklore on Wells and Water, p. 17.

The hollow stone lies on the summit on the ridge of Leachkin above the Mental Hospital. The stone is flat and hollow in the centre [and] resembles in size and shape a child’s coffin. The greater part remains but the foot is broken or weathered away. At one end it used to be hooded over like a cradle and was known variously as Cradle-stone and Clach-na-shia (Fairies’ stone).”

To get to the Fairy/Healing Well, head back onto the great glen way past the reservoir at the right time of year keep your eyes out for blue dragonflys in this area.Just past the reservoir there is a gate go through the gate .The well is located just the other side of the gate , slightly hidden just under a Rowan tree to the right.Just to the right of this path

Under the Rowan Tree
UPDATE April 2020The Fairy/Healing Well has been cleared and cleaned up it is now much easier to find and much more impressive.We asked Diana on Twitter if she’d ever been to these stones. She replied


17 thoughts on “Outlander fans find the real ‘Craigh Na Dun’ in Inverness

  1. Very impressive photos.. good job!!
    Inspires me to visit the area.
    Another addition to my every growing bucket list !!
    From all the photos I’ve seen(which are several dozens) Scotland and its countryside appear to be quite beautiful while instilling a feeling of peacefulness..


    1. Beautiful photographs, thank you so much for sharing them. I’m a huge fan of the Outlander series, fell in love with the characters, country and Scottish culture. In fact, we are planning a bucket list trip from the US to Scotland in September this year. I can’t wait to experience the scenery and historical sites.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the article! I had a wonderful experience at Clava Cairns in May 2011. So many voices. When I get more tyme, I will share. Perhaps along with photos and video.


  3. Enjoyed this. Visited Clava Cairns last September and was told that was inspiration for Craigh Na Dun but kept seeing pics of this stone online and knew Clava Cairns did not overlook Inverness so had wondered where this was.


  4. I love the Outlander series and me and my daughter plant to visit Inverness this July. I am so looking forward to seeing these wonderful places.


  5. Am addicted to Outlander, have read all the books and love the Starz series. Will be going to Scotland next April and plan to see some of the Outlander locations if possible. These pictures are amazing! I was also a Pan Am flight attendant and we will be going to Lockerbie to pay our respects to our murdered colleagues and the 11 people who died on the ground there.


  6. I can only wish to get to see it all for real! I absolutely LOVE the Series, “Outlander”, I’ve watched it over & over, the new premiere of the Series airs tomorrow night, 11/4/2018, can’t wait! Claire & Jamie have arrived in America, starting a new life in the colonies. I can only wish for Brianna(hope I spelled the name correctly) but for their Daughter, accompanied by her fellow friend(hoping they marry, have children & have a wonderful life together too), but they could very well visit the Stones & travel back to the time of her Parents living in America & The Colonies, getting to start a happy life together with her parents & everyone, wouldn’t that storyline be grand!!! I love this show so much I dream of it! If only when Jamie rescued Claire from Randall, he should have killed Randall right then & there!!! Outlander could carry on & on, unending, thru their Generations! I’d LOVE it!!!


  7. I read the Outlander books many years ago and was very excited to hear the series is being televised. I definitely want to come to the Inverness area and visit the places from the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When we went to visit Culloden last Spring, we also went to Clava Cairns which was an easy walk from the battlefield. I have a picture of myself in the same cleft stone that Diana Gabaldon stood in for her photo. In mine, there was a shaft of light that seemed otherworldly and which landed exactly on my face!

    Liked by 1 person

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