Monarch of The Glen

The outdoors has become a precious commodity in 2020, and our fantasies have called us to far-off lands with fiery mountains and golden sands. For the actor Sam Heughan, the Highlands of his native Scotland provide all the raw materials to nurture his senses of identity and purpose.

  • fashion director Grace Gilfeather

  • by The Rake

  • photography Charlie Gray

Khaki Despatch Rider’s coat, Grenfell at The Rake; brown cashmere roll-neck,New & Lingwood at The Rake; mottled olive green House trousers, Edward Sexton at The Rake; Damson Utah ‘Galway’ boots, Edward Green at The Rake.

Sam Heughan is Scotland’s most popular export in the 21st century. This is not exactly verifiable or quantifiable but I must err on the side of hyperbole to keep sweet the millions of fans he has accumulated by starring as Jamie Fraser in Outlander. Trust me, I learned that the hard way the last time we featured Sam in The Rake a few years ago. Seems he has done everything to earn it, and I do not wish to belittle those who love him, and love him they do. But what is refreshing is that you’re more likely to spot him in a rickety pub nursing a pint and telling stories rather than at the latest ‘hot’ metropolitan social hangout.

We are delighted to have him back, and this time arguably more in situ: specifically, Glenelg, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. It is fortuitous timing to be with him in Scotland, and not for Outlander but because of a new project he has been working on with his co-star Graham McTavish. Men in Kilts is a television docuseries and book that details their travels around their native country and simultaneously serves as a cultural exploration of Scotland. It has also given Sam an opportunity to reflect on his personal heritage. “Looking further into my family, and where I am from, I found out what kind of a mix I have in my ancestry,” he says. “I have French, German and Norwegian in there. You think of all the avenues and paths your family could have taken, and I ended up being Scottish.

Published

December 2020

Tags

Also read