Outlander Jamie Fraser actor Sam Heughan recalls what moving to Edinburgh as teenager was like

It was a big change, but also hugely exciting says the world-famous Scottish actor

Outlander actor Sam Heughan has opened up about his family’s move to Edinburgh when he was a teenager – saying it was like a “like a whole new world for him”.

The Scottish actor, who plays Jamie Fraser in the hit time-travelling drama series, moved from his native Dumfries and Galloway to the Scottish capital at the age of 12.

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In his new memoir Waypoints, which currently tops the New York Times bestseller list, he talks about what it was like to be uprooted from a quiet community to a bustling city.

Outlander actor Sam Heughan has opened up about his family’s move to Edinburgh when he was a teenager

In a chapter titled ‘The Wake-Up Call’, Heughan reveals that his family moved to Edinburgh so his mother could enrol at Edinburgh College of Art.

He writes: “After years of living in a quiet community, my mother, my brother and I packed our belongings for what felt like a whole new world.

“Swapping the stable and the castle ruins for a suburban street in Edinburgh, we set about settling in for this new chapter in our lives.

“It was a big change, but also hugely exciting for two young lads like Cirdan and me. I had just finished at my little primary school, so I started high school at the same time as all my new classmates.

“It was a little overwhelming to begin with, but since I could now see without the dreaded glasses, I soon started to make friends and feel comfortable in a crowd.”

The 12-year-old Heughan attended James Gillespie's High School, which he recalls as having “very strong on rules and discipline”.

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He also remembers a run-in with the school’s head teacher, after an incident involving a carton of milk.

Heughan writes: “On one occasion, I came very close to getting into trouble from the top.

“At the time, I had just been made a school prefect... The incident began with a milk carton. I had been tasked with helping to dish them out at break time to pupils who were part of a milk-in-schools scheme.

“On finding one left over, I decided to join the scheme for one break only... A moment later, like a gunslinger in some two-bit town, the headmistress stepped out.

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“My eyes went wide with horror... I seized an escape route in the form of the door to the toilet block... I took one look at the open window and lobbed it out.”

Musing that it was the perhaps first time he ever got into character, Heughan goes on to describe raiding a bin once his headmistress questioned him about the missing milk carton – and how he bluffed her after luckily finding one at the bottom.

He writes: “The headmistress considered the carton in my hand... Once again she seemed to be searching my expression for cracks. The face-off only lasted for a couple of seconds, but it felt like a lifetime.

“It was perhaps the first occasion that I'd got into character, and it wouldn't be the last. Ultimately it showed me what was possible if I delivered it with conviction.”

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It’s not the first time the acclaimed actor has spoken fondly about his time living in Edinburgh.

In an interview last year with Square Mile, a men’s luxury lifestyle magazine for London, the Balmaclellan-born star was asked if he could think of a moment or experience that influenced who he is as a person today.

“I was living in the countryside as a young child, there were four people in my class at school. And then I moved to Edinburgh, which to me felt like a metropolis. I started going to the theatre.

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“Just being in the city was really inspiring. It opened up the world to me, as a teenager. There’s a whole world out there that I want to explore.”

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