|“||Some say the hill is enchanted, others say it is cursed. Both are right.||”|
— Claire, Dragonfly in Amber
Craigh na Dun (Gaelic: Creag an Dùin) is the location of the ancient stone circle by which Claire Randall travels from 1945 to 1743. Its distinguishing feature is the large cleft stone, through which a time traveler may pass.
As with most stone circles, the hill of Craigh na Dun conceals more than it illuminates. Those with the particular ability to hear the stones have stumbled upon it accidentally, sought out its passageway, and almost universally come to fear and dread the mysterious gateway that the cleft stone marks.
Events of the Novels
In spring of 1945, Claire and Frank Randall take a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands in Inverness. While there, Claire takes an interest in botany, and a local gentleman named Mr. Crook gives her a tour of the plant life in Inverness. He also shows her a standing stone circle on a hill called Craigh na Dun, and when Claire mentions it to Frank, he is immediately excited; the Reverend Wakefield had mentioned to him that a group of local druids still observes rituals on the old Celtic feast days, and so in the predawn light of Beltane, Frank and Claire watch the women dance while the Reverend's housekeeper, Mrs. Graham, calls out a chant in a strange language. After the ritual is complete and the women leave, Frank inspects the circle and a particular blue flower catches Claire's eye, but before she can analyze it properly, one of the druids returns and she and Frank make haste to leave before getting caught.
When Claire returns later, alone, to take a specimen of the flower, she begins to hear and feel a strange buzzing, as of bees, and in a disoriented state she steps through the cleft stone, and ends up in 1743.
In 1968, Claire makes her third passage through the cleft stone on Samhain, back to 1766.
Having returned to the 20th century via another time gateway in the Americas, Roger and Brianna begin to collect their knowledge and various theories about time travel, including known and suspected locations of portals.
Roger leaves with Buck through the cleft stone in their quest to find Jem. Brianna, Jem and Amanda go through the stones to 1737 to look for Roger. Having found him, the MacKenzie family decides to make their way to Fraser's Ridge in 1779.
- While Craigh na Dun is a fictional stone circle, many such structures exist all over the British Isles, including Scotland.
- Craigh na Dun is modeled off of the Callanish Stones in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.
- The stones in the TV series were made of styrofoam and installed on location at Kinloch Rannoch.
- There is a place called Craig Dunain in Inverness. There is a very small stone circle there just off of a local trail.
- In the American printing of Outlander, Claire goes through the stones on May 1, 1945. The date was changed in the UK printing (published as Cross Stitch) to May 1, 1946, which the editor thought was a more reasonable time for Claire and Frank to make their post-war trip to the Highlands. For more about this discrepancy, see The Outlandish Companion.
- In the TV series, Claire goes through the stones on Samhain (November 1, 1945) rather than Beltane (May 1, 1945). This change was made to accommodate the shooting schedule; it was autumn when filming began in Scotland.
- Ron Moore's Outlander Podcast for episode 101
- Outlander Filming Locations - Kinloch Rannoch as Craigh na Dun. Accessed 27 May 2018.