GENRE-CROSSING historical drama Outlander is coming to an end. Although the 10th and likely final book is still being written by author Diana Gabaldon, it has been announced that the TV rendition will conclude with its upcoming eighth season.

This is difficult news for fans of the series that encompasses everything from romance to science-fiction, fantasy, and the occult, but does mean it is time to recognise the “Outlander effect” on Scottish tourism.

I was entranced by the TV series when it first came out in 2016 – not just by the seriously sexy love story of lead characters Claire, a 20th-century war nurse from England, and Jamie, her 18th-century Highland laird, but also by the history and scenery. I progressed on to the books, which were even better, enhanced by the reading of Davina Porter.

Wanting to immerse myself further into the ­Outlander world, I travelled several times from my London home to Scotland and researched my ­family history. My great-grandmother Isabel Anderson was originally a hemp weaver in Arbroath; visiting the Scottish town, I ate kippers hot off the smoker at dawn and searched St Vigeans graveyard for family tombstones.

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I went to the World Porridge Championships and even considered starting a “porridge drawer” in my ­kitchen dresser. I tasted whisky in Oban and cooked an entire 18th-century meal on a peat fire.

I became a fan of smoky, peaty whiskies, sipping the amber liquid while watching Claire and Jamie. I’m even considering buying the Outlander tartan, designed and woven by the Ingles Buchan mill.

Gartmore House, a historic house near Stirling, runs courses ranging from watercolours to corsetry. I enrolled for the week-long corsetry course, making an 18th-century stay – similar to the one worn by Claire in Outlander. I stitched and boned for days. My fingers were bleeding from pin pricks by the end: “Little sacrifices to the gods of sewing,” suggested our tutor Alison Campbell.

“Traditionally corset-makers were men, as you need strong fingers to do the boning and whip ­panels together with twine,” Campbell said. By day a ­Bravissimo fitter who can eyeball a cup size from 100 paces, she told us the supposedly “standard” B cup is a rarity. I’m far from a standard size, so her help and skill in adjusting the historical pattern by JP Ryan to my petite plus-size shape was invaluable.

The stay was the precursor to corsets (in turn the precursor to the bra). Stays were in use from the 15th century until the end of the 18th century. In ­Stuart times, they were longer and more conical, with ­farthingales underneath, but became curvier in the 18th century with a lower waist, under which a bum roll and pockets are added. There are two types of stay: full-boned and half-boned. We were making the latter.

There are seven pieces to a stay pattern, and they are fitted together in a counter-intuitive way. This work is more akin to architecture and engineering than dressmaking; it is no surprise Howard Hughes designed a bra for Jane Russell’s tremendous curves.

Historically, stays were made of layers of densely woven linen and a couple of layers of rag paper (like watercolour paper). There is a thick “bone” down the front, called a “busk”, made of wood. These were ­often carved and decorated gifts from lovers, as they are near the heart. The stays were never washed but worn with a chemise ­underneath.

The National: Caitriona Balfe stars as Claire Randall in Outlander Caitriona Balfe stars as Claire Randall in Outlander (Image: Jason Bell/ Starz/ Sony Pictures Television)

Although they were expensive to get made, everybody wore them – young, old, rich, poor. It was considered to be ­slightly obscene not to wear them, like going without a bra. The phrase “loose women” derived from the uncorseted.

In Outlander, time traveller Claire is brought appropriate clothes when she wakes up for the first time in the 18th century – and horrifies head housekeeper Mrs Fitz with her elasticated 1940s bra. “It’s from France,” Claire improvises.

Today, different materials are used: the four layers are calico, cotillon (a stiff thick fabric), a second layer of calico and finally the decorative top fabric. In the past, baleen, the small bones from inside a whale’s mouth, was used to bone the stay. The modern equivalent is “German Plastic”.

The Outlander series has been a boon for the Scottish tourist industry, similar to Sir Walter Scott’s romanticised portrait of highlander life in the Victorian era, attracting Queen Victoria herself as well as more mundane English tourists. Outlander’s author Diana Gabaldon, who is American, although married to a man with Scottish ancestry, has been given the “Great Scot Award”.

I spoke to Hugh Allison, a former ­manager of Culloden, who now runs Inverness Tours and is the ­author of Culloden Tales (Penguin 2016).

When did he first notice the ­importance of Outlander to Scottish tourism?

“I suddenly start to notice a shift in the questions that some of the people ­coming through the front door are ­asking, then what you want to do is find out why those questions have altered, so you can ­better answer the public.

“People were asking where the Clan Fraser stone was at Culloden.”

It changed Allison’s career.

“I left my position at Culloden and ­decided to embark on a career as a self-employed driver/guide. It seemed to me at the time that there was a huge gap in the marketplace because almost no one was running any Outlander tours ­anywhere in Scotland.

“We’ve taken people that were ­Outlander fans but not particularly ­interested in the wider Scottish ­history and turned them on to the wider Scottish history.”

Andy McAlindon, known on ­social ­media as Andy the Highlander, ­actually appeared in several episodes of ­Outlander’s second season.

In 2016 he went viral with 5.3 ­million views of a video shot in his garden ­showing how to pleat, fold, belt and wear the great kilt, or Feileadh Mor.

Acting in the series inspired ­McAlindon to start buying his own plaids, dirk, ­18th-century broadswords and muskets.

“Then I started my own tours in 2016. It has been an amazing journey. it has changed my life completely. My wife has been on Outlander, my two sons have been on Outlander, loads of friends on it.

The National: Gartmore House in Stirling offers corsetry courses where you can make garments inspired by those worn by Outlander protagonist Claire RandallGartmore House in Stirling offers corsetry courses where you can make garments inspired by those worn by Outlander protagonist Claire Randall (Image: Newsquest)

“It has been amazing for Scotland, amazing for our economy. It’s taught me a lot.

“I was a qualified electrician for over 25 years before I joined an acting agency and started this journey.”

Outlander changed the life of ­literary historian Alex Dold from Germany. She originally came to the University of ­Highlands and Islands for a semester of her masters on “the representation of Scottish identity in Highland dress”, which referenced Outlander.

One of her professors invited her to do her PhD on the “Outlander effect” and she has now lived in Scotland for over three years. Her English is heavily ­accented – Scottish, not German.

“My boyfriend is Scottish,” she ­explained. Her immersion in Scottish ­culture is complete.

She is interested in the intertextuality between literature, history and tourism, something she calls the field of “public history”.

“I’ll finish my PhD in about a year. Then I’ll be a Doctor of Outlander,” she laughs. “It’s obviously brought massive tourism here, so much so that by now academia has picked up on this.”

Other academic research includes a new book by Dr David Worthington on the Reverend James Fraser called Rev. James Fraser, 1634-1709 A New Perspective On The Scottish Highlands Before Culloden.

In July, the University of Glasgow is hosting an international academic ­Outlander conference because it says the series has “triggered more interest in Scotland and its history than any other cultural artefact in recent years”.

Outlander historian Dold is part of the ‘Inverness Outlanders’, a fan group who live nearby.

They host an Outlander Day on June 1 every year to commemorate the publication day of the first novel in 1991 at the Highland Folklore Museum, as well as other events such as a conference last October, attended by Gabaldon, which sold 660 tickets.

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The episode “Rent” was filmed in the thatched houses of the Highland Folklore Museum where they host wool ­waulking experiences. The raw wool cloth is soaked in household ammonia or stale urine, known in Gaelic as maistir, which helps make the dyes fast and softens the cloth. How authentic this is, I’m not sure, nor whether you have to contribute your own urine.

Everyone I spoke to agreed that the quality of Gabaldon’s research was superb. Tour guide Allison testified to the historical accuracy of the books.

“One of the reasons I do Outlander tours is because it’s been very good for my culture and my ­country. She’s so good at research that a lot of those little stories that are shoehorned in there, like some characters telling a story – they are all real. Diana was very gracious and she would come to the Culloden Centre. She wanted to do ­research in our archives.”

As a mostly English person, one feels a bit uncomfortable and guilty reading the books, particularly the cruelty and destruction of Highlands culture after Culloden, I tell Allison.

“I want to tell you something that will have you going home with a lighter heart,” he replies. “This was a civil war. And there were many English people who followed Charles Edward Stewart. We should never confuse Westminster with the English. And it was sometimes ­enacted by the descendants of the clan chiefs on their own people.”

Andy the Highlander explains the ­appeal of Outlander. “I think there’s something for everyone. It enables people to detach from reality. It’s a safe place and you can go, take your mind and your body and soul somewhere else. Even if it’s just for one episode – just to get away from the pains of modern life and ­reality.”

One of the concerns for us diehard fans is that the ending of the series at season eight will mean that there is a Game of Thrones-style situation – George RR ­Martin and Gabaldon are, in fact, friends – where the 10 books are not finished and the final series will feel unsatisfactory.

There will still be the prequels to look forward to, however, as Starz has ­greenlit the prequel series Blood of My Blood, with the story of Jamie Fraser’s parents. I’ll wear my stay and have a wee dram awaiting.

Gartmore House offers corsetry courses. A five-night break including tuition, most materials and full board in a double room/two singles cost £979 per person. Classes range from watercolours, to patchwork quilting, willow work and outdoor activities