Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer



I realized I have been postponing doing a lot of posts, because I keep trying to get this one done first.

It is the last piece of the one I wrote last year…Leaving Scotland.

Returning to Scotland is a crap title. Coming home? Not quite right after spending a couple of months ensconced in family, friends, pets and house.

The Final Season? Closer, but it’s not true. When I last wrote about my love affair with Scotland, it was after being in our home here, for three seasons.

A year ago we moved into this crazy house. But I left for the US, on October 10th. Missed winter, or so I thought!

When I left California, to come back here, our daughter was in her usual garb, shorts and bare feet. “it is winter somewhere in the world” I constantly tell her. But I was famous in my family for running outside in snow barefoot, in a cotton mini dress, when I was ten. I never wore shoes, so I understand her love of direct contact with the earth, and can’t harass her too much.

But it was HOT when I left California. I was really looking forward to the delicious Scottish climate.

What I underestimated was the time travel aspect of it all. Going from California and our 1948 house, to our 18th century home in Scotland…in January.

It took about 2 weeks to warm up the stone walls. I would sit in the parlour, with a fire raging, the heaters on, and wonder if I was actually going to get frostbite in front of a fireplace.

But that was nothing on the darkness.

Oh my god, the darkness. At night, you can see nothing. I would stand in the kitchen door, while the puppy went out, and could literally see nothing beyond a 4-5 yard ring of lit by the open doorway. The puppy was eaten by the inky darkness, completely invisible, probably 10 feet from the front door.

To make it more of a challenge, dusk began at 3, and the sun was not fully up until almost 9:30. It was like living in a dark box.

So you shut all the shutters, and then pull the curtains across, shove upholstered thingies against the drafts, and hunker down. Waiting. You cannot help but think of all those generations that came before, when THERE WAS NO GLASS in those windows! Those were some tough people.

And then the snow came. And it was wondrous. Insanely beautiful. Everything you have ever read about how beautiful snow is. The snow of another century, another time and place. The kind of snow that has a purpose. It makes the world beautiful and perfect.

Getting to work was not so wondrous., beautiful or perfect.

But here we are, just 4 weeks later. Sun is up by 6:30, and still in the sky at 5. The crocuses are pushing up, and there are a lot of waddling sheep out in the fields. Things move fast here. There is a lot to do. A lot to squeeze into each season. Gotta pack it all in there. ALL those Daffodils and lambs…PACK THEM IN!!!!

It’s fantastic.

21 thoughts on “Winter

  1. AvatarConnie Sandlin

    Oh, these photos are so breathtaking! Thank you for sharing them. I’m particularly interested in the tall tower or turret. Is that part of the structure of your “Lallybroch” or is it a separate “broch” somewhere nearby.

    Warm hugs from Costa Rica, and endless thanks for giving us these glimpses into your world (and Cuilean’s)!

  2. Avatarbwismer5

    This is so beautiful, thank you so much for sharing with us all. You work so hard and the results are magnificent! It seems like blogging and sharing such lovely pictures is above and beyond the call of duty, after all your beautiful costumes, so I want to make sure you know how much we treasure these posts. And your costume podcast was wonderful!

  3. Avatarannalapping

    That sounds wonderful! Not the warming of the stone walls, because that’s where I am now, but the sheep and the crocuses..I’m ready for that! I was in the Midlands of England at Christmas a few years back and experienced the hours and hours of blackness that you describe So happy that the sun is coming to you earlier and leaving later, it is starting here, but hard to tell unless you clock it every day. Which I do. Wonderful post. Hope you, Ron and pup are doing well in the turn of the season.

  4. AvatarBRW

    I’ll trade you. My 90 year old house is just as cold. It’s going to be -8 here near Pittsburgh in the morning & it’s only going to be 8 for the day! I’m tired of the cold, but, I’d rather be here than Boston(all that snow). Your place, Scotland & your puppy look fabulous. Keep warm & stay safe. Oh, and don’t work too hard. Tell your husband that my daughter is looking forward to Paleyfest. It’s during her spring break( she’s a prof) & she needs the sun, being from East Haven,Connecticut. We love what you’ve done on Outlander! Good luck with the 2nd season.

  5. JanieGJanieG

    Terry, you dear lady are a story teller! by your description, I can almost feel that I am there, without the cold. Soon, the green of Scotland will be upon you. Your pictures are a story in themselves. Thank you for sharing

  6. AvatarLynnLouise

    It sounds like a dream… amongst your many talents, descriptive writing is one of them. You really take us there, and for that it makes me want to keep on traveling. Thank you for your time and beautifully expressed thoughts…

  7. AvatarChristinePincince

    Ah so lovely to be you and the rarest best of that is you enjoy it , understand it and appreciate it. You have many talents. That becomes clearer all the time. Not the least of which is the ability to guide others to see through your artist’s eyes. I will be in Scotland in July (no snow I assume) for the first time. Perhaps I will be able to find a few of the sites from the Outlander story. I will look. Your love of the country makes my anticipation ever keener. Thank you for that

  8. Avatarmaryjomalo

    Leave it to the lady of the manor to make time for writing a wonderful blog. As if being a wife, a mother, a costume designer, pet owner, and various other joys and responsibilities aren’t enough. Thank you!

  9. Avatar

    Beautiful photos Terry! I live in the upper Midwest and it is a common occurrence in early spring to see snow on the daffodils and crocus as they peek their pretty little heads toward the sun. We have sub zero temps with dangerous wind chills here, so I too would like to be in California about now.

    When it got really cold outside, my grandfather used to say “It’s colder than a witch’s tit!” This morning, my sixteen year old daughter had to retrieve something from her car in the garage. She came running back in and exclaimed “It’s colder than a bitch’s tit out there!” I said, “um, Honey, the saying is “It’s colder than a WITCH’s tit.” And her reply was “What’s the difference?” I believe she may have a point, and I may amend my use of that saying from now on. Feel free to use it when sitting in front of the fireplace trying to get warm in Scotland!

  10. AvatarAimee

    So breathtaking. The architecture, the landscape, the atmosphere, the antiquity. The moment my feet touched the ground in Scotland I fell in love. Hard, swiftly, passionately. How will you manage when the time comes to leave permanently? Thank you so for this.

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