Even with no pressure of a show, picking the right travel partner can make or break a trip. How did you choose to do this journey together and what was that dynamic like kilts for men?
On the exterior he’s this gruff, aggressive Scotsman. He plays with lots of very macho characters in TV and film–but actually, in actuality, Graham is a big pussycat. He’s such a big heart, he has a lot of pleasure, and he is a great historian. And I believe that we match each other: I’m a bit more of a doer; I love to go and perform activities and get out there, and he is probably a little more reluctant. He’s definitely one which likes to be driven around and recline and get snacks and cafe lattes as far as he desires. A good deal of the time I’m turning him up and placing him in places where he does not wish to be. But that’s the joy of the series, right?
Though he also put you at a location which you may not have wanted to be–I know it’s called Men in Kilts, but you had a little kilt-less dip in the Atlantic, did not you?
How did this come about?
Well, throughout the sports episode, we’re playing golf at St Andrews, we’re playing football, and we are at the home of the Highland Games in Braemar. . .And we chose to have a small competition and whoever lost would have to skinny dip in the North Sea off the coast of Lewis–and it is pretty damn chilly. Normally when folks go out swimming or surfing there, they’re wearing a wetsuit. So, yeah, I would not recommend it for anyone that’s touring Scotland.
Sam Heughan (left) and Graham McTavish on a fishing vessel in Pittenweem, Scotland.
Most people who visit Scotland go to Edinburgh and drive straight up the coast and back. However, in the event that you can get to the islands, then they really are magnificent. They have their very own personality. One of my favorite things to do is get a ferry from the mainland to the islands. You get to observe the mainland as well as the wildlife–there’s whales, dolphins, sea eagles. And then of course when you approach, the island kind of comes from the mist and it’s quite romantic and quite powerful.
What was the best thing you ate on this trip?
The first episode is all about food and beverage…[and] it is so hard to choose the very best thing we ate. Tony Singh, who is this excellent Scottish chef, made us recently caught lobster–we had caught it that afternoon –with cherry and chili butterwhich we cooked on the fire onto the beach. And he boiled some new potatoes in the seawater with some seaweed too. He added garam masala, a bit of spice, and it had been, honestly, the best thing I’ve ever tasted. And just being there on a Scottish beach. That day we had eaten fish and chips on the sanctuary, but as soon as he began cooking that lobster, we were hungry. It was just mouthwateringly magnificent kilts for men.
When you look back in this excursion years from now, what do you believe are the highlight of the full experience?
There’s so much we did, by the marching bands on Calton Hill to [visiting] Culloden with historians, to the browsing, to the castles we see. There’s so much. And I am such a huge sports fan, so going to Murrayfield [Stadium] and getting to kick a ball was a fantasy come true. But to be honest, I think that it’s about the friendship: Moving with this fantastic road trip with a good friend of yours and getting to share a few whiskies along the way–it was a great experience.