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Quick question: does anyone else spend most days out quietly convinced that they’ve left their curling irons switched on at home, or is that just me? And, I mean, I should add here that not once have I ever actually left the curling irons in question on: it just hasn’t happened. That fact, however, hasn’t ever prevented me from spending almost every single trip we ever take worrying that we’re going to come home to a burnt out shell of a house, and such was to be my destiny this Tuesday, when we left Max with my parents, and headed to Perthshire for the day.
(I am 100% thinking about the curling irons here. If you look closely, you can see the fear behind my eyes…)
The main purpose of our trip was to try out the Citroen C5 Aircross, which we’d borrowed for a few days. Here I am, standing in front of it, and almost certainly still thinking about those damn curling irons:
Why, yes, it IS almost the same colour as my skirt, thank you for noticing. (Also pictured: a very pretty tree. More of that later.)
So! We had our car, we had our matching skirt (Or, at least, I did …), and we were at least 87% sure we could remember switching the curling irons off. (Ironically, by the end of the day, my hair had gone almost totally straight, thanks to the slight drizzle that followed us across the country, so I could easily have just skipped the curling iron angst altogether. A lesson for next time, perhaps.) All that remained was for us to choose our destination: by which I mean, ‘Work out which Outlander filming location’ we’d go to see THIS time.
And the answer to that one? Well, there’s really only one major location we haven’t seen yet: the famous standing stones, which send Claire back to the past. Now, the actual standing stones used in the TV show aren’t real, unfortunately: they’re apparently Styrofoam ones which are brought in purely for filming. The hill they stand on, however, is very much a real place, and it’s located near Kinloch Rannoch, in Perthshire: you can find the exact map location here, should you particularly want to go.
The Outlander Standing Stones location
As I said, there were no standing stones waiting for us when we got out of the car – which was probably a good thing, really, given my habit of touching the things. There was, however, a very nice American couple who were also there for Outlander-related reasons (I mean, to be honest, I don’t think you’d go there for NON-Outlander-related reasons, really?), and who we had a quick chat with before heading up to the hill, which might not look exactly as it does in the show, but which was still instantly recognisable to us:
It was certainly one of the more scenic places I’ve stood in with my eyes tightly closed in all my photos, that’s for sure. I can totally see why Claire would keep going back there, in spite of the very real risk of being whisked back in time. Speaking of which, just as we reached the top of the hill, we became aware of an odd buzzing sound, not unlike the noise the stones make, which only Claire can hear. (And, OK, also Brianna. And presumably also Roger and Geillis. Wow, the 18th century must have been pretty crowded, huh?) I came very close to freaking out, thinking the whole time travel thing was ALL REAL, but then Terry realised the sound was, in fact, coming from the drone the couple we’d just been chatting to had told us they were about to fly over the site: PHEW.
As pretty as it is, however, if you’re thinking of visiting this location, you should be aware that the road leading up to it is NOT the same one shown in the show, so, other than the hill itself, there’s not a huge amount to see. Once we’d taken our photos, then, we jumped back into the car, and head for out next stop. Before we get there, though…
Some thoughts on the Citroen C5 Aircross
Now, as regular readers will no doubt understand, I know nothing (Jon Snow) about cars, so, rather than attempting a “proper” review, I’m just going to tell you about some of the features of this one I particularly liked. Things like…
- THE SPACE: SO much space. We didn’t have Max with us on this particular trip, but we did take him out in the car on the other days we had it, and it was so much easier to get him in and out of his car seat than it is in our own car, which has a really low roof:
(I’m paranoid that someone’s going to point out that he’s not fastened in correctly here – it’s because I was in the middle of getting him out of the car when it occurred to me to take a photo!)
- THE SAFETY FEATURES. As a nervous driver – and passenger – I was particularly keen on the Aircross’s many safety features, which include a lane departure warning, to stop you drifting into the wrong lane; collision risk alert, so if you get too close to another vehicle, the car will tell you about it; a reverse camera to help you park, and even a coffee break alert, to let you know you’ve been driving too long, and need to stop for a break.
- KEYLESS START AND ENTRY. Not only does this car start up without a key, it also opens without one: so, as you approach the vehicle, it senses the key in your hand/pocket, and automatically unlocks the doors for you. This might seem like a small thing, but when you’re leaving your toddler swimming class, with your child in one arm, and a heavy bag in the other, it’s very, very welcome…
- WIRELESS CHARGING. See the charging cable in the photo below? Well, there was absolutely no need for that charging cable, because all we actually needed to do was place our phones on the wireless charging area, and the job would’ve been done. Of course, we only realised that once we got home, obviously, which is just so US.
- THE BUILT-IN DASHCAM. What’s a poor blogger to do when she finds the perfect Instagram spot, but there’s no one around to take her photo in it? Why, she gets the car to do it for her, obviously: because, yes, this car has a built-in dashcam, which you can use to take photos. AT LAST, someone thinks of the bloggers!
It also takes video, and I can see this also coming in really handy for all of those times when the driver in front decides to pull the kind of crazy stunt that leaves you fearing for your life, and thinking, “Wow, I wish I could’ve recorded that to send to the police.” (Because, yes, I’m a nervous AND a vengeful driver…) Here are some of the photos it took for us on our travels:
I haven’t edited these at all, and, as you can see, they’re fairly high-res, and much better quality than I’d have expected, given that they were taken by a CAR. The screenshot from Terry’s phone, meanwhile, neatly leads me to our next stop, which was…
Until recently, I hadn’t even heard of the little village of Fortingall (Map location here), but now that I’ve seen it, I’m recommending it to everyone, because it’s just one of those picture-perfect little places that it’s hard to believe are real, you know?
Most visitors to Fortingall come to see the Fortingall Yew tree, which is one of the oldest trees in Britain, with an estimated age of anything from 2,000 to 9,000 years. (Yes, I had to double-check that: it’s currently thought to be around 3,000 years old, but as the centre of the tree is split into several parts, it’s impossible to tell for sure.) For obvious reasons, the tree is protected these days by a stone wall, so we couldn’t really get any decent photos of it: that’s its branches you can see to the right of the image below, though, so say hello to the Fortingall Yew, everyone:
This is a very small village, so it’s not a place you’d expect to spend a huge amount of time in. It is, however, incredibly picturesque, so we stopped here for a quick coffee break (And we didn’t even have to be reminded by the car, either!), before making our way to our third and final stop…
The Falls of Dochart
When Terry told me our final stop would be a waterfall, I instantly pictured something a bit like Plodda Falls, say – so, a large amount of water falling from a great height, basically. The Falls of Dochart, however, are a totally different kind of waterfall: located in the pretty little village of Killin, these falls tumble down over a large, rocky expanse right at the heart of the town, before flowing under an old stone bridge:
(There were quite a few other tourists taking photos here, and, at one point I wandered down to the very edge of the water, then looked up to see the bridge behind me absolutely full of people, all wielding cameras. I shudder to think how many tourists will be going home with photos in which me and my bright red skirt totally spoil the landscape they were trying to photograph…)
We spent quite a long time here, just wandering around and taking in the view, but, all too soon it started to rain, and we had to head back to the car, so we could go home and pick up Max. We thoroughly enjoyed our quick trip to Perthshire, though, which is a part of the country I’ve always found really pretty – and we were also impressed with the Citroen C5 Aircross, which got us there and back again in total comfort, and quite a bit of style, too. If only I could have a car to match EVERY outfit…