Bo’ness bus firm launches capital tour special to Outlander Castle

The couple behind an enterprising Bo’ness community bus venture have branched out to offer a niche tour of hot spot “film set” Blackness Castle - which stars in no less than three blockbuster movies.

By Roy Beers
Sunday, 31st March 2019, 1:37 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st March 2019, 1:58 pm
The evil Black Jack Randall, left, finally comes to grief in a gory duel to the death with Outlander hero Jamie Fraser
The evil Black Jack Randall, left, finally comes to grief in a gory duel to the death with Outlander hero Jamie Fraser

It’s aimed at visitors to the capital who might otherwise struggle to find a straightforward and cost-effective way of seeing historic sites now familiar to millions of film fans.

As a bonus the trip also includes a visit to Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, which also featured in Outlander - all for a return ticket of just £8.50.

Visitor numbers have soared at Blackness Castle since its starring role in Outlander, where it was used as the set for the headquarters of dastardly redcoat villain Black Jack Randall - supposedly in Fort William.

However since then the 15th century one-time stronghold has also featured in the 120-million dollar epic Outlaw King - the biggest budget movie so far filmed in Scotland - in a scene in which Isabella MacDuff, played by Kim Allan, is suspended from the battlements in an iron cage.

During filming Historic Environment Scotland helped to camouflage contemporary details like railings to give the castle an authentic 14th century look, and visitors were even allowed normal access - giving them a surprise chance to see the actors in action.

Then most recently the castle and its nearby beach featured in yet another Scottish history drama, Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan as the luckless Stuart monarch.

Both the castle and the railway are on the C19 Community Bus Route from the centre of Edinburgh (close to Waverley Station and the Balmoral Hotel), and the trip leaves Waterloo Place at 10,15am.

Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots, during filming at Blackness.

Visitors are advised: “You arrive at Blackness Castle around 11.07 and take in the castle’s stunning location before exploring the grounds and entering the 15th-century castle commonly known as ‘the ship that never sailed’ due to its ship like shape.

“Blackness Castle appeared in season 1 and 2 of Outlander and provided the setting to the Fort William headquarters of Black Jack Randall as well as featuring in the heart-wrenching scene of Jamie’s incarceration.

“Jump on the 13.37 bus to Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway where you’ll be able to stand on the very spot filming took place in 2013.

“Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway was transformed in season 1 of Outlander to a wartime London train station, which saw Claire and Frank say their goodbyes.

“Afterwards, why not go next door to Scotland’s largest railway museum and enjoy the fun interactive displays which explain the history of the railway – trust us when we say you’re guaranteed to have a ball.”

The return trip heads back to Edinburgh from Bo’ness at 5pm.