Scotland is certainly on the top of my travel wish list. But, the armchair adventures I went on with these two through the lands and history of Scotland is nearly as good as the real thing!
Two Men. One Country. And a lot of whisky.
As stars of “Outlander”, Sam and Graham eat, sleep and breathe the Highlands on this epic road trip around their homeland. They discover that the real thing is even greater than fiction.
“Clanlands” is the story of their journey. Armed with their trusty campervan and a sturdy friendship, these two Scotsmen are on the adventure of a lifetime to explore the majesty of Scotland. A wild ride by boat, kayak, bicycle and motorbike, they travel from coast to loch and peak to valley and delve into Scotland’s history and culture, from timeless poetry to bloody warfare.
With near-death experiences, many weeks in a confined space together, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Graham and Sam’s friendship matures like a fine Scotch. They reflect on their acting careers in film and theatre, find a new awestruck respect for their native country and, as with any good road trip, they even find themselves.
Hold onto your kilts … this is Scotland as you’ve never seen it before. from Goodreads.
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen Outlander. I read the first five books like I was they were in danger of being banned but then, as I often do with series, I forgot to pick up the next one. These historical romances are as fascinating as they are violent but the thing that appealed to me the most was that they were set in Scotland. Clanlands, narrated by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, two stars of the series Outlander, is the story of their quick RV trip through their native land. Stopping at historically relevant points and driving each other insane along the way, their bantering is second only to their obvious pride in their homeland.
The history of Scotland is unusual and endlessly interesting to me. Like my obsession with Canada, I find myself drawn to the rugged terrain and the people who happily continue to call such a place, “home.” As an American I have family from most major points in Europe and that makes for a varied, but watered down, personal history. I have to wonder what it is like to feel a generations old connection to the land.
As mentioned above, I haven’t seen Outlander. The book has numerous references to the sites that the authors visit in connection to the filming of the show. None of that detracted from my enjoyment since I had all the major plot points from the book tucked away in my brain. But, if you are a fan of the show this might bring a whole layer of enjoyment to their adventures through Scotland. Side note: if you are a fan of the show, it is super gross to stalk actors. One superfan just keeps popping up during their journey and it was genuinely uncomfortable to imagine. Don’t do it people. Actors are not Pokemon, you cannot collect them.
Graham McTavish is crabby, needs constant stacks, a latte IV drip and is risk adverse. Sam sounds like an adrenaline junky who juggles 15 projects at once and lives to annoy Graham. The back and forth banter made the audiobook an absolute delight to listen to, even when Graham listed off all of his pet peeves (of which there are a lot). For a taste of this you can check out this article from Big Issue. You would think they agree at least on whiskey but, no. The only thing in which they are absolutely in agreement on is the glory of Scotland. And, as they drive through the land it is clear that this is not a puppy-love. This is a well researched and articulate opinion based the history of the land, the organization and disintegration of the Clan system, and the long battles the Scottish people have in an attempt to maintain autonomy.
Traveling isn’t an option for me right now. If you are in the same boat, I highly suggest this wonderful book. I genuinely felt like I was sitting in the back of the RV, watching these two lovingly (for the most part) bicker while Scotland passed me by. I can hardly wait to get watch their adventures in Men in Kilts, the television show they filmed during this same road trip.
Tell me, please! Where would you like to armchair travel this holiday season?