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Outlander: 10 Facts About Craigh Na Dun & The Stones You Missed

With a fifth and sixth season in the works, Outlander has proven to be one of STARZ’s most popular shows in recent times.  Based on a series of novels of the same name, the show tells the fictional tale of a 1940s British woman named Claire Randall who travels back in time to Eighteenth Century Scotland and gets involved in historical events.  

Her time-traveling is made possible through a circle of stones site called Craigh na Dun located near Inverness, Scotland.  But here are some interesting facts about this place and the stones themselves that might have been overlooked.

RELATED: Outlander: 10 Things In The Show That Only Make Sense If You Read The Books

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10 Druids Congregated At Craigh na Dun

In the very first episode of Outlander titled “Sassenach,” Claire witnesses a group of Druids participating in a ritual at Craigh na Dun before she approaches the stones herself.  Historically, Druids were spiritual leaders in the British Isles during ancient times who had been repressed by the Romans and then Christians later on.

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Though much like Wicca, a new incarnation of Druidism emerged in the Twentieth Century that adapted certain practices from the original Druids including the celebration of certain holidays at sacred sites that are similar to Craigh na Dun.  So the presence of the Druids would indicate they knew the stones had significant spiritual power, though whether they were aware the stones could allow a person to time travel or not is debatable.

9 A Buzzing Sound Occurs Near The Stones

Almost every time Claire comes to the stones at Craigh na Dun, she hears a buzzing sound which no one else seems to hear.  Of course, this is proven wrong when her daughter Brianna hears the sound later in the show along with Brianna’s lover Roger Wakefield MacKenzie.

This is also the case in the books, which in turn has caused Outlander fans to speculate on the significance of the noise itself.  On Reddit, some described certain details from the books including the idea that it had to do with the Druids' chanting.

8 Multiple Time Travel Trips Can Be Exhausting

In addition to the buzzing noise, going through the stones to travel from one time to another is an exhausting experience.  For this reason, IGN speculated this may have been an important factor regarding Claire’s decision about whether to go to the Eighteenth Century again or not after she made it back to her own time at the end of Outlander’s second season.

Still, it’s unusual for a story that has time travel elements in it to have the time traveler experience weariness during one trip, let alone multiple ones.  Yet this element doesn’t seem to affect things too much, as Claire does return to Eighteenth Century Scotland in the third season.

7 More Than One Person Can Travel Through The Stones

As stated before, Claire isn’t the only person who can use the Craigh na Dun stones to travel through time.  In the fourth season, Brianna and Roger travel through the stones to the same time period Claire ended up in following her second trip.

So naturally, Outlander fans have determined that the ability to time travel is inherited.  This is certainly the case for Claire and Brianna, since they’re both related, and Roger since he’s descended from another time traveler named Geillis Duncan who served as a minor antagonist in the show.

6 Gemstones Are (Sometimes) Required For Safe Passage

While most time travel stories tend to be affiliated with futuristic devices or mysterious rips in the time-space continuum, Outlander takes a more mystical approach to the subject of time travel.  Apart from having a circle of stones act as the main channel, there seems to be an underlying rule about the time travelers needing to carry a gemstone with them during the trip.

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This was seen when Claire wore a ruby ring on the trip to her own time at the end of the second season, though she apparently didn’t have anything like that when she time traveled the first time.  In addition to this inconsistency, the books take a more complex approach to this element.

5 The Characters Time Travel During Pagan Holidays

Another mystical element to Outlander’s approach to time travel is when the characters go through the stones at Craigh na Dun.  For instance, Claire’s time travel trips coincided with two holidays: Beltane and Samhain.

Both Pagan in origin, these holidays are typically celebrated by Wiccans and Druids alike.  While Beltane takes place in April and celebrates the beginning of summer, Samhain is in October and was the precursor to Halloween.  Now what these holidays do have in common is that it was believed the veils between our world and another (either the Fairy realm or the Afterlife) were thinner during these times which might explain the Craigh na Dun stones’ power.

4 The Flower Claire Finds Is A Real Plant

Upon approaching the Craigh na Dun stones for the first time, Claire was drawn to a blue flower growing at the foot of one stone before she traveled back to Eighteenth Century Scotland.  So naturally, Outlander fans have tried to narrow down what this flower was since it’s never explained in the books.

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In the show, the flower resembles a Forget-Me-Not (or Myosotis) which is a blue flowering plant that is symbolically affiliated with remembering the departed and undying love.  So because it ties into the series’ themes about time and romance, most fans are satisfied that this flower is a Forget-Me-Not though there are other similar-looking flowers in Scotland according to The Daily Record newspaper.

3 There Are Other Stone Circles Across The British Isles

Though the Craigh na Dun stone circle is a significant location in the Outlander series, it’s important to remember that it isn’t the only one.  Apart from the famous Stonehenge in Britain, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of stone circles across the entire British Isles with some dating back all the way to the Neolithic Age.

The purpose of these stone circles was for ceremonial purposes, such as observing the equinoxes and solstices which tended to coincide with certain Pagan holidays later on.  With this in mind, it’s possible that Claire and other time travelers like her could’ve used other stone circles as a means to time travel which might have been the case for Roger’s father who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

2 The Stones Aren’t Real

For those who don’t have a trained eye to notice these kinds of things, the actual stones that are shown at Craigh na Dun in the Outlander show aren’t real.  In fact, they’re made from styrofoam and painted to look like real stones.

However, the stones were designed to look like the kind found at a real place.  Specifically, the Callanish Stones which are on the Outer Hebrides chain of islands in the northwestern part of Scotland.  Erected during the Neolithic Age, there are many legends surrounding them including that they are actually petrified giants.

1 Craigh na Dun Is Based On A Real Location

While the Craigh na Dun stones may not be real, they were put in a real place called Kinloch Rannoch which was used as a shooting location for the Outlander show.  Additionally, Craigh na Dun itself is based on Craig Dunain Hill.

Overlooking the actual city of Inverness, Scotland, this hill does have a single standing stone at its top that dates back to the Neolithic Age.  While the stone itself is not visually impressive, the view from the top of the hill is nice as seen in these photos on the Inverness Outlanders blog.

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