Sam Heuighan book cover

An interview with Sam Heughan

Southern Glazer’s Bridget Albert talks to Sam Heughan about his book Waypoints: My Scottish Journey.


Q&A interview


What inspired you to write “Waypoints: My Scottish Journey,” and can you tell us more about the journey and experiences that led to the creation of the book?


Waypoints is a memoir, of sorts. I had a small break in my filming schedule and wanted to walk the west highland way -- a 100-mile hike from near my home in Glasgow, up the west coast (past Loch Lomond, through Glencoe and all the way to Fort William and the base of Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in the UK). Along the way, I found myself reflecting on my career so far and my relationship to Scotland. So many locations along the hike reminded me of past experiences, either in my personal life or in my professional, primarily whilst filming in that breathtaking landscape. I used the journey as a metaphor, giving insight into my roots and upbringing, while walking (and almost failing) on this personal adventure. The crowning moment, reaching the summit of Ben Nevis --   and celebrating my life/achievements so far -- it really was very cathartic, and I can’t wait to get back out in to the hills again.


“Waypoints: My Scottish Journey” seems to be a deeply personal and reflective book. What message or theme do you hope readers will take away from your experiences and adventures shared in the book?


Yes, it’s very personal. I do like to keep my private life to myself, it’s something I’ve had to adapt to over the past decade, working on my show. Being in the public eye, no matter how small, can feel slightly intimidating and at times, perhaps slightly invasive. However, the journey and writing the book gave me insight and helped me work through some of my history. I also made new friends and challenged myself. I guess I hope that it’ll inspire the reader to also go complete or attempt something they have been considering for a while. To challenge themselves. Getting outdoors and walking alone can be beneficial for one’s mental health, but also leaving your comfort zone means you’ll be open to more experiences or even meeting new acquaintances and making friends.


Your book explores various outdoor challenges. Do you have a favorite or most memorable that you’d like to share with readers? What made it special to you?


I think this was such a rewarding challenge. I approached it thinking it’d be easy. I almost failed. But also, I was trying to control the narrative. Once I’d let go of my expectations (and ego), I relaxed into the walk and the moment. It became less about achieving the end goal and more about the journey. Each day, putting one foot in front of the other, was so simple but so rewarding. Reflective and good for the soul. I lost myself a little along the trail, let my imagination take over, talked to mushrooms and trees, cried a little, sweated a lot and felt that I accomplished something deeper by the end of the experience. 


How does your passion for Scotland outdoor exploration tie into your creative and professional life?  How has it influenced your career and personal growth?


Returning to Scotland to film Outlander gave me a renewed passion and love for my home country. I feel very fortunate, having grown up in that incredible landscape. It’s inspired countless stories, myths, and legends. We have a real connection to the past, a romance and dark past, but also so much humor and creativity. I’m proud to call myself the unofficial ambassador of Scotland. All my projects, from tv shows, books and now my multi award-winning spirits brand celebrate my Scottish roots and our vibrant culture. I hope to leave a legacy in Scotland and share my passion of this small but mighty country with the rest of the world.


Leave us with a toast!


My travels recently, took me to the mountains of Oaxaca, a seven hour off road drive to a remote producer, with stills overlooking a wild mountain river - much like those I’d left behind in the hills of Scotland, though the botanicals were more tropical - bananas, cocoa, and numerous varieties of herbaceous agave. We ate traditional Mole, a rich, deep, unctuous chili warm sauce, reduced over hot charcoals for 12 hours, all washed down with herbal-green mezcal and accompanied, not by bagpipes, but by live music, performed by a small band, that had walked through the tropical jungle from San Cristobal, a village in the valley opposite. I looked down at my fingers, charcoal black from cooking fresh tortillas on the hot plate and smelt the smoke and heady sweetness of their national dram. It was familiar and comforting, reminding me of the time I dived into the golden, fresh barley on the malting floor at a distillery on Islay, back in Scotland, breathing in the sweet grain and smelling the peat smoking in the ovens below. Smell and taste can conjure up such strong memories and for me, the strongest always takes me back home to Scotland. Slainte!



About Sam:


A Scottish actor, producer, author, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his starring role as Jamie Frazier in the hit drama series Outlander.



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