Gleneagles Townhouse

Welcoming Sam Heughan to Gleneagles

3 July 2018
Sam Sam Heaughan dressed in checked shirt kleaning on a fence with a Labrador

The hottest new talent to come out of Scotland, Sam Heughan’s role as Jamie Fraser in the Starz series, Outlander (based on Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling books) has certainly got everyone talking.

As Barbour’s first global brand ambassador, we were delighted to welcome Sam here to Gleneagles to shoot his latest campaign – and we were delighted to squeeze in an interview for The Gleneagle while he was here.

Sam, welcome to Gleneagles. The first seasons of Outlander are both set and shot in Scotland – do you think that’s an important element in its success?

Sam: As a Scot, I of course think that we are very lucky to shoot in Scotland, showcasing our history, craft and culture. Scotland’s versatility plus excellent crew and production teams also mean we can use Scotland as a double for various locations. I’m proud of Scotland and its people; I believe we’ve attracted a vast audience and helped tourism immensely. It’s an honour to be involved, all thanks to Diana Gabaldon’s book series.

What’s your favourite part of Scotland and what do you like doing here?

I love the Scottish islands and hope to explore many more of them. They’re peaceful, remote and life-affirming, with an abundance of wildlife and spectacular views. It’s a very special place for me and holds memories that I cherish deeply. I love hiking, Munro bagging and exploring. It’s so accessible. Cycling, climbing, kayaking… you can do it all here.

Do you have a favourite Outlander location?

There are so many but Loch Rannoch holds some very special memories as we’ve shot there many times and the landscape is beautiful. Schiehallion towers above the loch – it’s magical.

What do you miss about Scotland?

Funnily enough the weather! And of course, the countryside and the people. I enjoy travelling and love the sun but somehow it never feels like home.

Do you miss Scottish food?

I miss haggis… no, actually I miss whisky most. I’m also really excited about Scotland’s thriving gin industry – no matter how much I travel, I have yet to find gin that beats ours.

What’s your top tip for anyone visiting Scotland for the first time?

Hire a car and explore, take a ferry somewhere, climb a hill, drink a large dram. Tell us about being Barbour’s global brand ambassador I’m delighted to be working with Barbour and feel privileged that they chose me to be their first global brand ambassador. I grew up with the brand and have always been a big fan – I was actually born in the same area as their founder John Barbour. They have a long history and heritage; their archive goes right back to 1910 across so many periods of momentous change. I’m fascinated by the way Barbour has adapted, while managing to retain their strong identity. Since I started working with them it feels like I’ve become part of the extended family. As well as modelling two of their collections, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to launch my very own Barbour Sam Heughan Signature Collection. It’s been great fun working with the design team and the collection reflects my personal off-duty style, my Scottish roots and my love for the great British outdoors.

Sam Heaughan walking across a heather moorland

Did you enjoy shooting your Barbour campaign at Gleneagles?

Gleneagles is one of my favourite places to relax and to get away from it all. It has everything you need – wonderful service, luxurious surroundings, great food and drink and a choice of country activities plus a superb gym and spa, so you are guaranteed never to get bored. It was the perfect back drop for the Autumn/Winter Barbour campaign – dramatic Scottish scenery with rich colours and a true sense of the outdoors. And I didn’t have too far to travel which was a bonus! You’ll see the fruits of this campaign in-store from July.

Tell us about My Peak Challenge

My Peak Challenge is about challenging yourself, whilst helping others. I wanted to share my love of the outdoors, of seeking new horizons and of creating healthy habits. We have an online international community, daily workout videos, meal plans, tutoring, merchandise, annual events and forums. It’s incredible to see people making positive changes to their lives and having fun with others, plus I’m so proud that we’ve already raised over a million dollars for charity.

Gleneagles sponsors a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where you studied. Did you enjoy your time there?

I had an amazing time and feel very lucky to have attended. It’s important to reward and support new talent and the RCS is the place for that. The tutoring and facilities are wonderful and the skills you learn are so useful for anyone looking for a career in the creative arts.

How do you relax between shoots?

I’m very physical so I like to run or go to the gym. Weekends are usually busy but if I have time I train, hike, then relax over brunch.

What’s next?

My movie The Spy Who Dumped Me is out in August. It’s an action comedy with me, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon and it’s going to be fun. We finish season four of Outlander this summer, then I hope to find a beach for a few days.