How did you find the midges?
GM: Well, the midges found Sam!
SH: Yep! On Outlander we have to deal with them a lot. We've discovered is that midges like warm places that are slightly moist – they love to get under my wig and then your life is hell. They just live in your wig, which is pretty nasty. But on this shoot it was possibly even worse. I think they saw us coming. But Graham seems to be curiously not affected at all.
GM: I think just my sheer rage was enough to deter them. But they feasted on Sam. I mean, I would look around and there would be this cloud around his head – sometimes look like he was having a fit
SH: I feel like that’s partly the reason why I was semi-drunk the whole time.
GM: Nobody talks about the midges in Scotland. It's like this secret. You know when they're showing the beautiful vistas of Scotland on TV, the camera lenses are covered in clouds of midges.
SH: But if the secret gets out of then no-one will come, right?
It would probably defeat some of the romance of Outlander if everyone’s just itching the whole time…
SH: Yes! There have been so many times, you know you're doing a take or whatever and they’re just eating you alive and you're trying not to think about it or react. As soon as they call cut, I've seen myself and my co-stars just go crazy. It's like, ‘Argh!’
You mentioned enjoying a drink on the way. Which distilleries would you would you recommend?
SH: I personally would say visit them all because I'm a great fan. I love that that in each different part of Scotland, the whisky has different unique, characteristics. We do touch on whisky in the book – it gets a whole chapter! I would be remiss of me not to plug my own brand Sassenach, which will be available in the UK in November.
GM: We had a wonderful whisky tasting: six cask-strength whiskies at 9:00 in the morning. They were amazing, but that was the end of the driving that day.
SH: A good start the day, I thought. But in the book we talk not only about you know the process of making whisky, but the history of whisky. It really is part of Scottish culture. But we touch on all those things you know. We learn more about these traditional sort of Scottish stereotypes, about clans, about tartan, and dig into it a bit more as well.
Any good tips for riding a tandem bike?
GM: I have one: No. Just no. If they offer you the tandem option, say ‘No thanks. I'll go with the single…’ Especially if it's a tandem just made of cast iron, with sort of rudimentary breaks. And don't let Sam Heughan be sat behind you.
SH: I thoroughly enjoyed the tandem. It’s one of my great joys in life is to wind up Graham, and this was key. Also, it’s interesting to see how a man who claims to be a great cyclist…
GM: I am!
SH: He's seems to be very particular about the type of bike that he is allowed to ride…
GM: You know, it's those old-fashioned things like brakes that work, a saddle that doesn't actually cut your arse in two and that doesn't weigh more than you do. Those are the three things I go for in a bike.