Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish talk to Stylist’s Hollie Richardson about their new documentary, Men In Kilts, and share their tips for a dream tour of Scotland.
“It’s all lies!” Sam Heughan tells Stylist after his Outlander co-star Graham McTavish recalls how they instantly hit it off when they first met. “Much like he did with this interview, Graham turned up late, out of breath, saying, ‘Oh god I’m so sorry.’ That’s why I shook his hand - I’d been waiting so long for him.”
It’s hard to tell if and when the two pals are bending the truth; the brotherly bond between them makes for a lot of mischief and teasing. But ultimately, it’s clear they have a lot of respect and fondness for each other. “Sam was really warm, charming and supportive,” McTavish confirms with full sincerity.
That’s why Heughan and McTavish are always a pleasure to watch together on screen. Outlander fans will of course know and love Heughan for playing Jamie Fraser and McTavish for his turn as Dougal MacKenzie in the hit time drama. But they’re taking their fascination with all things Scotland one step further in their new Starz documentary series, Men In Kilts.
The show sees the twosome take a road trip around Scotland, exploring the country’s culinary scene, history, culture, witchcraft and everything in between. With references and comparisons to Outlander throughout the journey, it really is a must-see for any fan of the period drama (or just anyone who loves Scotland as much as they do, really).
“How long have you got?” replies McTavish when asked about what annoying things they learned about each other on the road. “The things that surprised me are the things I actually enjoyed: taking me out of my comfort zone, making me do things that scare me.”
“Graham is very grumpy, especially when he’s tired and hasn’t eaten,” Heughan says. “That said, he is so much fun and I didn’t realise how much of a historian he was and how much he really relished the macabre, grotesque historical facts.”
Watch the trailer for Men In Kilts
The friends meet plenty of experts along the way to make the most out of the exploration, but which Outlander character do they wish could take them on an IRL tour of Scotland?
“Murtagh Fitzgibbons!” Heughan immediately answers. “You probably wouldn’t survive that tour, but it would be a lot of fun and you’d get in some really strange situations.” Opting for a much darker guide, McTavish says, “I want Black Jack Randall’s tour… never a dull moment.” (OK, fans can all agree he’s definitely joking about this one.)
Alas, Murtagh and Black Jack are (thankfully) not around to share their best tips of Scotland, so we asked Heughan and McTavish to share theirs.
Best place in Scotland for a morning coffee and breakfast?
GM: There’s a Swedish coffee shop called Söderberg in Edinburgh by the Meadows. You can sit outside with fantastic coffee, some smoked salmon on bread and beautiful pastries. It’s absolutely delicious.
SH: On the last day of filming my driver bought me a square sausage and egg in a roll, which is a very traditional Scottish breakfast. It was the best one I’ve ever tasted and I still dream about it today. It’s from a little butchers in the centre of Braemar.
Best place in Scotland for a romantic date?
SH: Where did I take you Graham?
SH: But I would actually say that the landscape is so magnificent that you should just get a takeaway. We had a fish supper – I know it’s not quite romantic, but it depends on the company. Some places like in Skye, looking out at the scenery and the sea, it’s incredible. Go au natural.
Best place to read a book or the best book shop?
GM: There are so many great bookshops!
SH: If you’re not seasick, I love the ferry journeys you can do in Scotland, and it’s a moment when you can sit, reflect and read as the landscape is going by. However, your travel companion might be in the canteen downstairs getting drunk…
Best place to go for a whiskey in Scotland (even if you don’t like whiskey)?
SH: Isla is the place of smoky Whiskey, which we visit in the first episode. You get to learn about why whiskey tastes a certain way, because of the peat and the landscape. That would be a great place to learn to love whiskey.
But it’s always about the company. Both of us have found ourselves in a little pub in the Highlands or on one of the islands and the locals are there playing live music. It really is a communal thing. And that’s the best place.
Most special Outlander location in Scotland?
GM: Doune Castle (used as Castle Leoch in the series) because it all started there. That’s where we did a lot of the early filming and we all bonded there. Lots of happy and magical memories.
SH: That’s a good one. But for me it’s the Kinloch Rannoch just below Schiehallion mountain, where we placed the stone circle. Also, it’s the mountain of the Caledonians and is just a really beautiful peak. And you’ve got Loch Rannoch there too.
Best way to spend a weekend in a post-lockdown Scotland?
SH: Climb a mountain, drink a whiskey and go listen to some live music.
GM: I concur with all of that. I stayed in a lovely hotel called Monachyle Mhor in the Scottish mountains, which I really loved. Oh and go hiking!
While fans can only dream of joining these Outlander stars on a road trip of Scotland, their tips seem like a pretty great way to get any travel plans together (and they’d probably be annoying car companions anyway, right?).
Men In Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham is available on STARZPLAY now