AN OUTLANDER castle has drafted in security squads to deal with rampaging fans of the hit TV show.
Staff have had to cope with vandalism, anti-social behaviour and even people defecating at Midhope Castle, in South Queensferry, the ancestral home of character Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan in the hit American programme.
The castle lies on the same estate as Hopetoun House, which also features, making it a top destination for hordes of so-called “set-jetters” desperate to see the real-life locations of their favourite fictional dramas.
Known on screen as Lallybroch, Midhope is derelict inside but the exterior is used as a backdrop in series 1 and 2.
Since it was chosen as a filming location in 2013, it has become a staple of many Outlander-themed tours, prompting estate managers to bring in security guards to protect the 15th Century castle and nearby farm, as well as the property of tenants who use buildings on the estate.
They have also had to charge visitors for parking at the site - £10 for cars, £40 for minibuses - to offset their security costs, which has upset some Outlander fans.
Fan Christine Howard, 35, from Ayrshire, is an avid fan of the show and has visited numerous filming locations throughout Scotland.
She said: “It’s quite expensive just to pay to park somewhere that you can’t even go inside.
“I’ve visited loads of places with my kids and my husband, and we’ve never had to pay something like that unless it has been an actual attraction in itself.
“I can see why they might have brought in this charge though, particularly if a small number of visitors are causing problems and damaging things. That is just not acceptable.”
A spokeswoman from Hopetoun Estate said: “Over recent months we have had to deal with inconsiderate parking, dangerous driving, and damage to property and incidents of lewd behaviour, even defecation.
“Hopetoun Estate welcomes visitors. However, Midhope Castle is not an attraction such as Hopetoun House and therefore doesn’t have the infrastructure in place to support the numbers of fans descending upon what is essentially a working farm, timber yard and tenanted properties.
“The introduction of security is to accommodate visitors safely while protecting the historic castle, the privacy of residents and the livelihood of the people who work at the site.”
Finnich Glen, near Killearn, Stirlingshire, has suffered congestion, fly tipping and parking problems due to the number of visiting fans. Specialists have also been called out to rescue fans trapped down the gorge, known locally as the Devil’s Pulpit, and unable to climb out.
The picturesque spot has featured in both Outlander and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
More recently, Outlander fans were told to respect the Cullodden war graves after they were seen snapping selfies at the historic site which features in the show.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Outlander has been a phenomenal success and locations all over the country that feature in the series have seen a significant rise in visitor numbers as a result.”
He added that businesses have had to “look to balance demand with safeguarding their property”.