- Outlander -How Sam Heughan Ended Up Skinny-Dipping On 'Men In Kilts'
The Outlander fan is no stranger to seeing Jamie Fraser in the nude on the Starz show. But Sam Heughan skinny-dipping on Men in Kilts is a whole other story. Heughan, who found himself in the particularly chilly situation after losing a bet to Graham McTavish, unfortunately has no one to blame but himself for the indecent exposure, since he was the one who proposed the bet and McTavish simply out-performed him. Yet, how did the man who plays the King of Men on Outlander end up in this position?
Although previews gave away who would lose this bare-ass bet, you may have wondered how exactly McTavish beat Heughan in a sports competition. That's not a knock on McTavish — as Outlander showrunner Matthew B. Roberts told Entertainment Weekly, he's in great shape! — but McTavish does have 20 years on the 40-year-old, My Peak Challenge founder Heughan. As McTavish says in the episode, "Isn't there a handicap for him being 20 years younger than me?" But even though his Outlander character Jamie Fraser apparently cannot age and is rarely defeated in combat, the real-life Heughan met his match in McTavish. Here's how the Men in Kilts loss went down.
Outside of Balquehidder, Heughan successfully lifts the Puterach stone on top of the Pudrac standing stone. As McTavish joked, Scottish people love making sports about lifting things. (You can read more about their visit and the tradition on Men in Kilts guide Peter Lawrie's website.) McTavish had barely moved the stone while it was on the ground, so it was an early success for Heughan that seemed to indicate that he'd be guaranteed the W in the overall bet. But you can never let an early lead go to your head...
There's a long history of the Highland Games in Scotland, but Heughan and McTavish get a taste of the modern version in Braemar. They throw some hammers with the help of Kyle Randalls (who you can also watch in the second episode of Netflix's Home Games). Though Heughan may have had a better technique, his amount of spins before throwing the hammer might have hurt him since McTavish's made it further. The score was now tied, but honestly, weren't Men in Kilts viewers the real winners for getting to see them in their Highland Games kilts and tank tops?
I have a sneaking suspicion that McTavish may spend more time on the links than Heughan, so the Dougal actor appeared to be at an advantage when they played golf at St. Andrews — the place where the 18-hole golf course was invented. McTavish was the victor of the long-drive contest. The tables had turned. Who would be the one to plunge their naked body into the frosty North Atlantic waters?
Heughan was pumped to be at the home of Scotland's national rugby team, Murrayfield. But his zeal for the sport didn't end up working in his favor. Though they tied in the passing rugby drill, McTavish reigned supreme in the kicking practice. Even with the competitive Heughan practicing some sports ahead of him (McTavish told me that Heughan had gone out surfing the day before they filmed "so that he would look better than me"), McTavish had undeniably won the bet.
Although a large part of Men in Kilts is showing off things to do when you visit Scotland, Heughan told Condé Nast Traveler that he would not advise doing his dipping deed. The skinny-dipping venture occurred off the Isle of Lewis in the North Atlantic, the waters of which Heughan described as "pretty damn cold." He added, "Normally when people go out swimming or surfing there, they're wearing a wetsuit. So, yeah, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone that's touring Scotland."
As a person who dove (clothed) into the Delaware Bay to ring in New Year's Day 2021, I can partially commiserate. But considering the Isle of Lewis is far further north and that even in the summer, the temperature of the water doesn't get above 60 degrees, Heughan had it rough. Couldn't he have at least done it when the tide was high? But his loss was spectators' gain, as McTavish's gleefully displayed while cozied up in a plaid blanket in the camper van and sipping what had to be a latte. So while Jamie has had memorable skinny-dipping moments in Outlander (dropping trou in "Lallybroch" or swimming in the healing hot springs in the Outlander book, a scene sadly cut from the adaptation), this time it was all Heughan — without the protection of his fictional character... or his kilt. As always, Heughan, Outlander fans thank you for the entertainment.