Let's get aboard the '˜Outlander Express' to boost area's tourism

The local authority hopes to hitch a ride on the film and television tourism bandwagon and cash in on the success of a romantic time travel show.

At a meeting of Falkirk Council’s executive committee on Tuesday members discussed and approved the new and updated Historic Environnment Strategy for Falkirk.

The document contains plans to promote, maintain and improve the area’s historical sites and buildings, but members felt the attraction of important places and landmarks from the past like Callendar House, Kinneil Estate, the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Antonine Wall – which have been boosted by relatively recent additions like The Falkirk Wheel, the Helix Park and the Kelpies – would be greater if they were coupled with the interest which has built up over the television adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels.

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Councillor David Alexander said the council had to take advantage of the popularity of the historical drama series, which is filmed in a variety of locations in and around the Falkirk Council area.

He added the show was particularly popular with Americans, who are known to fly over to visit the locations featured in the programme, which switches between the time periods of the end of World War Two and Scotland’s Jacobite risings in the 18th century.

As well as the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 during the First War of Scottish Independence, the strategy is now looking to promote the importance of the Battle of Falkirk Muir in 1746, which can also take advanatage of the Outlander connection.

Councillor Robert Spears, portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism, added: “We want people to know there’s never been a better time to come to Falkirk.”

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Consultation on the draft strategy took place between April 19 and May 31 last year, with over 3000 consultees involved.

The strategy states: “The area has a dynamic and successful history spanning from the Roman occupation and territorial disputes with the English to becoming the engine room of Scotland’s Industrial might.”