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“Now this one is about a man out late on a fairy hill on the Eve of Samhain who hears the sound of a woman singing sad and plaintive from the very rocks of the hill. ‘I am a woman of Balnain. The folk have stolen me over again, ‘the stones seemed to say. ‘I stood upon the hill, and wind did rise, and the sound of thunder rolled across the land. I placed my hands upon the tallest stone and traveled to a far, distant land where I lived for a time among strangers who became lovers and friends. But one day, I saw the moon came out and the wind rose once more. So I touched the stones and traveled back to my own land and took up again with the man I had left behind.”
~ Jamie Fraser, translating to Claire, the song and tale “Bean Tighearna Bhail’ ‘n Athain” or “The Woman of Balnain” , Outlander, 1991
One of a collection of tartans created specifically for the historical time traveling television series Outlander (based on the namesake novel), the Anama Chaillte tartan was inspired by both the scenery and the characters of this Jacobite romance. The story follows married World War II nurse Claire Randall who in 1945 finds herself transported back to 1743 Scotland, where she encounters dashing Highland warrior and outlaw Jamie Fraser and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings. The title song is an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem "Sing me a Song of a Lad that is Gone" set to the tune of the Scottish folk song "The Skye Boat Song". This popular series is responsible for the latest resurgence of interest in heritage tartans , tweeds, and laces, as established and emerging Scottish designers look to reference and source Scottish textiles and trims for modern interpretations of kilts and tartan.
Outlander is a British-American television drama series based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. The show premiered in 2014 with Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse in 1945 who finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings.
As explored in Gabaldon's books, there are certain dates and locations that make the ability to travel between eras easier: in particular, the four seasonal solstices, and the four Gaelic festivals meant to celebrate them. Claire Randall first travels back through time on the eve of the May Day festival, Beltane, generally reckoned as halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.
Other natural or man-made landmarks which facilitate time travel prominently in the novels are the fictional (and actual) :
Stone circle on Ocracoke
Stone circle in the rhododendron hell
Tunnel under Loch Errochty
Stone circle near Hadrian's Wall
This ability is sometimes aided with gemstones, the presence of fire or blood, and is an inherited ability seen in Claire Fraser and her child, Brianna, Geillis Duncan and her descendants (William Buccleigh MacKenzie, Jeremiah Walter MacKenzie, and Roger MacKenzie), and the children of Brianna and Roger, Jeremiah MacKenzie and Amanda MacKenzie.
This tartan is one of several created for the television series and was inspired by scenery and characters.
For the rules of time travel according to Outlander, click the famous title image.