Outlander author wins Thistle Award for Scottish tourism

Outlander author Diana Gabaldon.
Outlander author Diana Gabaldon.

The American author of the massively-popular Outlander novels has been handed a special Scottish tourism honour for her role in promoting visits to sites including Blackness Castle.

She attended the annual Scottish Thistle Awards to receive the honorary International Contribution accolade “in recognition of the phenomenal success of the Outlander TV series” - which features key scenes in locations including Blackness, Falkirk and Polmont.

The fantasy-history soap, originally set during the 1745 Jacobite Rising, has regularly been praised for boosting visitor numbers to heritage sites across Scotland.

However last year the author made a personal appeal to Outlander fans to treat historic sites with respect, after some visitors were said to have tramped over war graves at Culloden Moor.

Hopetoun Estate in East Lothian has meanwhile introduced special measures to protect the area around the ruins of Midhope Castle, whose facade serves as hero Jamie Fraser’s family home in the series.

At the awards ceremony a Stirlingshire estate offering self-catering holidays was named best in the business.

Leny Estate in Callander received the award for Best Self Catering Accommodation Experience, with judges commending its investment in family facilities and strong links with the local community.

Barry Martin, Leny Estate Manager, said: “We work hard as a team to give our guests a stress-free experience from the moment they book with a very personal touch.

“A combination of our unique location, first class accommodation and efficient personal service is a winning combination, and it is very satisfying to have been formally recognised.”

Rebecca Brooks, chairwoman of the Awards’ industry panel and VisitScotland board member, said: “The Scottish Thistle Awards lets us recognise the unsung heroes of our industry who show real dedication and enthusiasm for Scotland’s tourism industry.”