Sam Heughan Explores Real 'Outlander' History in 'Men in Kilts'

Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish continue to travel Scotland in their STARZ spinoff series, Men In Kilts. And in the latest episode, the actors explored real-life stories and sites related to the clans featured in Outlander

‘Men In Kilts’ was inspired by ‘Outlander’

Men In Kilts started out as an idea for a podcast called Clanlands. After working on Outlander for years, and seeing the immense interest in their home country, Heughan and McTavish decided to take a deeper dive into Scotland’s rich history. 

“I’ve always been interested in Scotland’s history, the clans, and the culture,” Heughan told Oprah Magazine. “We have such huge tourism from Outlander. We just wanted to sort of go on that adventure as well, and bring some of that to people, because it’s part of the show that we don’t get to explore anymore as the show has moved on.”

While Outlander tells a fictional story, it does often feature historical events and people. And with Men In Kilts, McTavish and Heughan are trying to dig deeper into those real-life stories.

 “It’s a really fun, light-hearted adventure around Scotland,” Heughan said in an appearance on Good Morning America. “We’re really dipping into Scotland as the country that we obviously know through working on Outlander, but actually learning more about the food the drink, the people, the stories.”

‘Men In Kilts’ episode 7 explores Scottish clans

In Outlander, Heughan plays Jamie Fraser and McTavish portrays Dougal MacKenzie — characters inspired by the very real Fraser and MacKenzie clans of Scotland. And in Men In Kilts’ seventh episode, “Clans and Tartans,” the actors explore the histories of some of these famous Scottish families.

After meeting with members of Scotland’s Macleods, MacDonalds, MacGregors, and MacLarens clans, McTavish and Hueghan take a plane to visit the MacTavishes ancestral home, Castle Sween. Built in the 11th century, it is the oldest stone castle in the country. 

The two then head to Beaufort Castle, which once belonged to the Fraser clan. The palatial structure sits about 13 miles from Inverness and was home to the Frasers, officially titled the Lords of Lovat up until 1995.

Heughan and McTavish meet with Sarah Fraser, a clan representative who explains the real history of the Frasers and their connection to the Murrays — another clan featured in Outlander. She also reveals that the Frasers feuded with the MacKenzies, and their rivalry is what likely inspired Dougal MacKenzie’s story arc in Diana Gabaldon’s story. 

The next episode will explore the Battle of Culloden, an event central to the ‘Outlander’ story

In episode 8 of Men In Kilts, titled “Culloden: Scotland’s Most Infamous Battle,” Heughan and McTavish will explore the history of the Battle of Culloden. The epic war was featured in the third season of Outlander, and played a crucial part in propelling the show’s storyline. 

In a trailer for the episode, which serves as the series finale, the pair visits the historic site of the battle and imagines what the war must have been like for the Jacobites and the British forces. The Men In Kilts finale will air on Sunday, April 11 on STARZ.

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