Outlander fans travel to Edinburgh for convention

MORE than 100 fans of Outlander, the best-selling time-travel novels which are being turned into a TV series currently filming in Scotland, are staging a convention in Edinburgh this weekend.

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser in a promo shot from Outlander. Picture: Contributed
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser in a promo shot from Outlander. Picture: Contributed

Devotees of American author Diana Gabaldon’s books, which have sold more than 25 million copies around the world, have organised three days of events inspired by the launch of forthcoming TV show this summer.

It is hoped the UK Outlander Gathering, which includes visits to historic sites featured in the books, will raise thousands of pounds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, a cancer charity backed by Sam Heughan, the lead actor in the TV show.

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The show follows the adventures of a married nurse after she is mysteriously propelled through time from the Second World War to the time of the Jacobite rebellion.

Angela Sasso, from Chicago, one of the organisers of the convention, said: “It is the filming of the TV series that has really brought everyone together for this event.

“There’s not really been a big network of fans in the UK until now, as Outlander is much more popular in America than it is here.

“A few of us started talking in the autumn about having some kind of gathering after the show was announced and Sam was cast as the main character, Jamie Fraser.

“The idea of a convention just grew from there and we’ve now got 110 people coming to Edinburgh from 10 different countries for the event.

“We’ve really put it together to really just celebrate the books, celebrate the TV series, and celebrate the fact that it feels like the right time for it all come together and become a very magical thing.”

The £50 million production, the biggest ever inward investment in a film or TV production in Scotland, has been shooting in a vast studio complex created in a warehouse in Cumbernauld, as well as on location around the country, since last October.

A crew of more than 200 and around 2000 extras are involved in the show, which is being made by cable channel Starz and entertainment giants Sony, and masterminded by Battlestar Galactica producer Ron Moore.

The commissioning of the initial 16-part series is expected to generate at least £20 million for the economy, although Gabaldon has written eight books.

Although less than a minute of footage has been released so far, Heughan and co-star Caitriona Balfe have won huge armies of fans and were mobbed by more than 2000 fans when they appeared together at an event in Los Angeles earlier this year.

Fans have already been turning up to locations where Outlander has been shooting, such as Doune Castle, in Perthshire, which stands in for the fictional Castle Leoch in the series, Culross in Fife, and the Highland Folk Museum, at Newtonmore, in the Highlands.