27 September 2023

The Clanlands Almanac: Seasonal Stories from Scotland

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Sam Heughan & Graham McTavish with Charlotte Reather, Hodder & Stoughton, $32.99.

Turning tour guides, once again, Sam & Graham bring more epic tales … a seasonal meander through the wilds of Scotland.

As entertaining as it is practical, The Clanlands Almanac is a light-hearted education in Scottish history and culture, told through the eyes of two passionate Scotsmen.

Even though we are living in a world where travel abroad is just becoming an option again for a lot of us, this is one book that will make for satisfying reading if you are drawn to Scotland with its majestic landscapes and fascinating history.

Naturally this will be a great read for any fan of Outlander, since it also contains several behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the series. The authors also mention their TV show, Men in Kilts, and the comical incidents that took place during filming that viewers weren’t privy to.

The Outlander actors have once again put pen to paper, following Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other. “This Almanac is a top down, pedal to the metal, up-and-down odyssey through the many byways of a Scottish year.”

We join them “… in a crazy campervan exploration over 12 glorious, whisky-fueled months. Mountains, battles, famous (and infamous) Scots, the alarming competitiveness of Men in Kilts, clans, feuds, flora, fauna, with a healthy sprinkling of embarrassing personal reminiscences thrown in. Much is explored, all is shared. It is a campervan cornucopia of all things Alba.”

From First Footing to Samhain, Fringe Festival follies to whisky lore, Sam & Graham lead the way through a year of Scottish legends, traditions, historical and contemporary events, sharing personal stories and tips as only these two chalk-and-cheese friends can.

The Clanlands Almanac is an escapist guide that’s entertaining and practical. It’s a starting point for your own Scottish discoveries.

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