Possibly the most iconic Outlander location, Kinloch Rannoch was used for the site of Craigh na Dun. It is here, in the very first episode, that Claire visits the stone circle and is thrown back in time to 1743. There she meets Captain ‘Black Jack’ Randall, a sadistic British officer, before being rescued by a passing highlander, Murtagh. Unfortunately, the stones lead Claire back to Captain Randall, in the mid-season finale ‘Both Side Now’, when she is captured by Redcoats while trying to return to Frank.
Later, at the end of season 2, we are brought back to the stones. We experience the emotion of Jamie and Claire’s reluctant farewell. And, in the 1960s, Brianna, Roger and Claire follow Geillis to Criagh na Dun, watching her leave through the stones.
We had hoped to see more of Kinloch Rannoch in Outlander series 3. However, Claire travelling back through stones was left to our imaginations, as the TV show jumped from her entering a cab in 20th century Boston, to leaving one in 18th century Edinburgh.
Most recently Craigh na Dun returned to the screen in season 4, in “Savages”. We briefly saw Bree at the stones, on her way to see her mother. Whether we see any more remains to be seen, but we are hopeful.
There are no stones at Kinloch Rannoch. However this does not detract from the stunning beauty of the Loch and surrounding Rannoch Moor. This is a stop you won’t want to miss!
In season 1 episode 8, “Both Sides Now”, on his way back to England, Frank passes a stone marker pointing towards Craigh na Dun. If you are travelling north from Aberfeldy, you will see this outside the Braes of Foss car park.
Be aware that, although the public are allowed to visit, this is private land and you may be politely asked to leave if the farmer is herding sheep through the field. We experienced this, but had arrived early enough to enjoy the scenery beforehand.
It is quite and experience visiting such an iconic Outlander site. As much as we had some imagining of what it would be like, the scenery and atmosphere are quite amazing. Walking up to the trees on the hill and taking in the surrounding views were well worth the effort to get here. We could easily picture the stones, and it was no less an experience for them not being there.
How to find Craigh na Dun
Driving to ‘Craigh na Dun’ will take approximately two hours, travelling from either Glasgow, Edinburgh or Inverness. Looking at a map, it may seem that you should reach it sooner. However, the route demands some care, so take it easy and enjoy the scenery as you go. And if you come from the east (from Glasgow or Edinburgh) you will be able to stop (there is parking nearby), on the way, and enjoy the road sign location used in ‘Both Sides Now’ to direct Frank to the stones.
Although there is no actual stone circle, the site of the stones is instantly recognisable. Drive until you are the south of Dunalastair Reservoir, east of Loch Rannoch. There, you will find a turn-off on towards the east side of the reservoir. Look in the direction of this track and you will instantly see the site of Craigh na Dun.