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You get the feeling Sam Heughan doesn’t do well with idle time: While filming in the strike Starz series Outlander, he was able to launch the two a New York Times bestseller–Clanlands, written with co-star Graham McTavish–and an award winning whisky brand, Sassenach (“Hopefully wherever you are in the world, if you taste it, it is going to take you back to Scotland”). In a period of respite between surging COVID-19 figures last summer, the group loaded up a kayak and drove across Scotland, making stops in Edinburgh, Glencoe, Skye, Lewis, Inverness, Braemar and more, exploring Scotland’s food, sports, songs, superstitions, background, and civilization kilts for men.
We caught up with Heughan ahead of Men in Kilts’ February 14 debut on Starz to learn about the highlights of his experiences with McTavish–as well as the moment when things got a little, well, chilly.
How did the notion of a travel show with Graham come around?
Initiallywe were discussing making a podcast, but it actually sprouted legs and arms and was completely formed and flipped into this series that we have today –only researching Scottish culture and discussing that with the rest of the world. Who wouldn’t want to go on a road trip and eat great food and see fantastic sights?
Shooting a travel show in the middle of 2020 have to have been a logistical nightmare. Walk us through what it had been like.
It was only after the initial lockdown, so things were opening up in Scotland. I think, to tell the truth, we were a tiny bit of a guinea pig for other productions–we had been one of the very first ones to move. Because it’s a little show and very included and we were up at the Highlands of Scotland, the risk was relatively low. Nevertheless, it was a new world of shooting within this COVID environment, and it was a lot to get your mind around the various protocols. We are very, very lucky that we are safe, and that we are in a position to keep working when other people are not, so hopefully we could bring a little bit of joy to individuals during this time kilts for men.
Men in kilts for men visited Several Scottish isles, including the Isle of Skye, pictured.
Can you feel a responsibility, in ways, of becoming this global ambassador for Scotland?
Not a responsibility, but I feel really honored that Scotland was renowned through Outlander. Certain historic buildings which we’ve shot at have received incredible quantities of vacationers –Doune Castle, which we feature at Men in Kilts but also in Outlander, had over 200 percent growth –and a lot of these buildings have now managed to regenerate and rebuild. So it has been a wonderful way to support these historic buildings along with the tourism industry. I heard a great deal about Scotland performing Outlander, and just wanted to learn more. I got myself a useful camper van and stuffed it full of goods and my friend, and we all set off.
Even with no pressure of a show, picking the proper travel spouse can make or break a trip. How did you decide to do this journey together and what was that dynamic like?
On the outside he is this gruff, aggressive Scotsman. He plays a lot of quite macho characters in TV and film–but actually, in real life, Graham is a big pussycat. He’s such a big heart, he has a lot of pleasure, and he is a fantastic historian. And I believe that we match each other: I am a bit more of a doer; I like to go and do activities and get out there, and he’s probably a bit more reluctant. He’s definitely one which likes to be driven about and recline and receive snacks and cafe lattes as much as he wants. A good deal of the time I’m winding him up and placing him in places where he does not wish to be. But that is the joy of this series, right?