PartnersApril 1, 2016

The Claire Randall guide to surviving in 18th century Outlander times


With daylight saving coming through an end, fall even further back than one hour with Tara Ward’s Outlander-inspired survival guide to the 18th century. 

It’s the end of daylight saving this weekend, and you know what that means – one more hour of sleep! Be still, my beating heart. A word of warning: take care when putting your clocks back, because I heard about this woman who turned her clock back 200 years. She ended up pashing a hot ginger, was tried for witchcraft, and set a herd of cows loose in a prison. True story.

So goes the journey of Claire Randall, our beloved Outlander heroine. Claire finds herself transported to the bewildering world of eighteenth century Scotland, where every day is like a bad speed dating event: your clothes are too tight, the men smell terrible, and you just want to go home and eat chocolate.

Life on Outlander isn’t easy. Claire is the author of her own build-your-own-disaster novel, lurching from one crisis to another like a slinky falling down a staircase. She survives assault, abuse, trickery, imprisonment, and a nasty case of ginger pash-rash. How does our favourite time-traveller make it through the day?

In the likely event that you turn your clocks back on Saturday night and wake up wedged deep inside a gorse bush with a pack of feral Redcoats descending upon you, here are some basic truths from the ‘Claire Randall Guide to Surviving Eighteenth Century Scotland™’ to see you right. 

1) Be able to drink large quantities of alcohol without losing your shit

If there’s one thing Claire knows how to do well – it’s drink. It’s her go-to ice-breaker in an awkward situation, and tipsy Claire is bloody good value. Need to impress a bunch of strangers? Cheers! About to consummate an arranged marriage to a ginger virgin? Bottoms up! Forecast is for rain? Another round, bartender!

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2) Learn how to make friends and influence people

Friendships are crucial for time-travellers, as your new BFFs will dress you, feed you, and encourage you to steal a goat. Claire loves meeting new people, especially gal pals who like to piss in a bucket, sing the Gaelic Top 20, and rub their hands in hot pools of steaming urine. (They’re either waulking wool or conjuring up heathen spirits, not 100% sure).

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These women are literally taking the piss, but look at how happy Claire is among her people. Perhaps she is secretly hoping to find a hole in the fabric of time? Whatever, girl power is the winner on the day. 

3) Always try new things

Looks delish, but save some room for pudding: it’s Mrs Fitz’ stuffed cabbage. Nom nom.

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4) Basic first aid skills will take you a long way

Clan MacKenzie is riddled with festering sores, spurting veins and degenerative disorders, which means Claire is trapped in the dungeon until everyone is cured and immunisation rates hit 90%. On the plus side, her needlecraft skills provide a legit excuse to play doctor with Jamie, aka Mr Castle Leoch 1743. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to sew this beast of a man back together.

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5) Utilise your non-verbal communication skills

The Highlands are full of rabid, rutting English soldiers who are meaner and dirtier than Dougal’s imagination after eight drams of whisky. Claire’s an expert at shooting her mouth off, but sometimes it’s best to let a loaded pistol and a red hot poker do the talking.

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6) Always pay attention to historical detail

If only Claire had paid more attention to Frank’s batshit boring history lectures, instead of daydreaming about nylon stockings and blue vases. She messed with Black Jack’s mind by revealing the day of his death, but her ‘you will all die’ summary of the Jacobite Rebellion overlooked some of the finer tactical details of the campaign.

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7) Develop an impressive knowledge of random weeds

Plants are cool. They stop you from getting scurvy, plus you can impress everyone with your big latin words. You’ll seem exotic and mysterious to the locals – because they’ll have no idea what you’re wanging on about – but they’ll be ever so grateful your potions saved them from chronic constipation, exorcism and/or festering monkey bites.

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8) Most importantly, marry a man with impeccable timing

Claire is an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to survive. Preach, sister, but we can’t ignore the fact that Jamie rescues Claire from several shithouse situations. Without him, Claire is a one-nippled wonder burning at the stake, using her last breath to scream “but I only wanted to see the pretty flowers!” Sometimes you just can’t beat a bloke who scales prison walls in a single bound, with not a hair out of place.

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So that’s all it takes to survive the past. Easy, right? Now you just need to check your smoke alarms and locate your nearest standing stones. You can thank me in another couple of hundred years. Good luck, and may the rub of the ginger always fall on your side.


Without having to put your clocks too far back, click below to watch Outlander on Lightbox before season two arrives on April 10



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