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First Look Scotland: An interview with Scottish actor Alan Cumming

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Alan Cumming - image by NBC

Alan Cumming – image by NBC

NBC’s First Look travel programme recently visited Scotland for a special episode due to be screened later this month. Featuring Scottish actor Alan Cumming – star of X-Men film X2 and US legal drama The Good Wife – the episode features areas of the country that are important to the actor and will showcase Scotland through Alan’s eyes.

During his stay in Scotland, Alan visited the country’s historic capital city Edinburgh where he stopped by the Scottish Parliament, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the famous Royal Mile. Next he headed to Perthshire, where he returned to his hometown, scenic Aberfeldy on the River Tay, enjoyed a Highland safari and visited the majestic Glamis Castle in neighbouring Angus.

Finally Alan brought his trip to a memorable close in Glasgow, Scotland’s city of style, where he took in the striking blend of modern and historic architecture and enjoyed a traditional Scottish ceilidh.

VisitScotland took the opportunity to catch up with Alan asked him a few questions about his beloved homeland.

Question :How would you spend your fantasy 24 hours in Scotland, with no travel restrictions?

Alan Cumming: “I’d take the train up the West Highland Way to Oban then get on a ferry or ferries and go to one of the Outer Hebridean islands and look at the stars, and drink whisky in a bar in the harbour!”

Q: When you come home, what is the temptation you can never resist?

AC: “Mushy peas. I would seriously kill for them. And the Edinburgh kind, with salt and sauce.”

Q: What’s your favourite smell in Scotland?

AC: “There are so many. The smell of hops being brewed into beer you get in Edinburgh. The smell of pine trees and the freshness of rain on the forest floor in Perthshire. The peaty smell of whisky. I could go on…”

Q: How do you relax when you’re at home?

AC: “Usually just by seeing friends and having a great meal, a few drinks and catching up. The great thing about Scotland is you always end up talking to someone, always find yourself having an adventure you never planned.”

Q: What’s your favourite Scottish word?

AC: “Numpty! As in, ‘ya daft numpty!’”

Alan Cumming gies off road in Perthshire | Photo by NBC

Alan Cumming and George Oliphant go off road in Perthshire | Photo by NBC

Q: What sight do you most like to see in Scotland?

AC: “Everything has changed for me recently since Kelpies have arrived! I had no idea they were so close to the motorway and so one day when I was driving north from Edinburgh I was shocked to see them towering above me. They are so beautiful and other worldly and I think of them all the time!”

Q: If you were leader of a clan what would your battle cry be?

AC: “Oh shut up and have a drink!”

Q: Do you have a particular Scottish food or drink you miss most living in the United States?

AC: “I miss the freshness and the flavour of vegetables. Mostly I also really miss my mum’s soup.”

Alan Cumming and George Oliphant in Highland Perthshire | Photo by NBC

Alan Cumming in Highland Perthshire | Photo by NBC

Q: When friends ask for travel recommendations for Scotland, what’s the first thing you think of?

AC: “I usually tell them to just ask the locals. People are always so friendly and open and love to give advice. But if you have time to get off the beaten path, the West coast and the islands are just magical, spiritual and life changing.”

Q: What do you miss most about Scotland?

AC: “The people and the sense of humour. I miss the darkness of our humour and the understanding of how necessary it is to be able to laugh at the bleakest things. And believe it or not, I miss the rain!”

To find out more about the places Alan visited during his trip to Scotland, visit our Edinburgh and The Lothians, Perthshire and Greater Glasgow and The Clyde Valley pages.

Comments

  • Tony

    A beautifully produced tour of Scottish culture. Thanks for this piece.

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