I have been following @Tartan_Viking on Instagram, and I have to say not only does he post stunning scenes of Scotland, he sure can pull off a kilt! I have decided to interview him as we were hoping to get him in the 'Men in Kilts calendar' this year, but with lockdown, this is looking like we may have to postpone.
Hi, Eric Tell me a bit about yourself?
My real name is Eric Murdoch. I am 28 years old, with a wife, a 21-month-old son and two wee cats, Dougal and Loki. I've been a tour guide for eight years, starting with the Cadies and Witchery Tours while studying Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. During my time at Cadies and Witchery Tours, I was what you would call a 'Jumper Ooter' – someone who dresses up as ghostly historical characters and hides around corners, jumping out to scare tourists; it was great fun and certainly improved my cardio. Edinburgh is very hilly, and there's a lot of running involved in the job, and if you were leading the tour, you played the part of Adam Lyal (Deceased), a Highwayman hanged in the Grassmarket on the 27th of March 1811.
Tell us a bit about your current job role?
In November 2016, I started working for Rabbie's, less jumping and scaring but more driving and story-telling. As much as I loved working in the old town of Edinburgh, starting with Rabbie's was a fantastic opportunity to explore Scotland and get paid to do so; it never felt like work either! Both Rabbie's and the Witchery tours are like large families, and so I've been in the fortunate position for both jobs never to feel like 'work'. Every day is different too, touring different routes and with different faces, no single tour is the same. I love being able to travel around Scotland and tell people stories about the country I call home!
Having travelled so much can you tell us your favourite three places to visit?
My top 3 places in Scotland:
1. Has to be a place called Canty Bay. It's not a tourist hotspot, but I've got a lot of fond memories from spending time there, it sits just outside of North Berwick, very close to Tantallon Castle. Probably has the best view of the Bass Rock you can find. Nothing quite resets your mind like spending a weekend down there beside an open fire and listening to the waves crashing against the beach, and the sunrise is beautiful.
2. Brother's Point, Isle of Skye. It would be too easy to say, Skye! The whole island is incredible, but this one wee spot is something else. Not quite as popular as the Fairy Pools, the Quiraing, or Neist Point, but that's just down to the fact that it's not as easy to reach. One teeny car park and a path that's half fallen to bits…but when you get down there! Wow! Words don't do it justice. Boasts some incredible dinosaur footprints too!
3. Glencoe and this one kind of goes without saying, I must have driven through there hundreds of times and it never gets old! Rain, sunshine, or snow, it's always beautiful.
You are in incredible shape, what is your secret?
Health and fitness are essential to me! When I started at Rabbie's, I was aware I'd be sitting down for hours on end and got myself a gym membership, forcing myself in every morning before work, determined not to put on weight. It took a month or so before it became a habit and then it turned into a hobby. My diet changed along with it too, and I've become healthier now than I was before. It's all about mindset and prioritisation. I also have type 1 diabetes, and it helps keep it under control.
What is the best thing about being Scottish?
The best thing about being Scottish? Patter, humour, and banter. I don't know what it is, or if it's genetic, but nowhere else in the world does these things as Scotland does. From statues with cones on their heads to John Smeaton booting a flaming terrorist between the legs at Glasgow Airport or the fact that Scotland's motto is basically a threat "Nemo me impune lacessit". We don't take things too seriously, and I love it!
Do you have a clan name and if so, what are your tartan colours?
As for clans, I'm a bit of a mix, Murdoch, Galloway, McLeod and Miller, to name a few. There are tartans for each of those, but I don't own any. I have four kilts, one of which is a Great Kilt, or feileadh mhor, that tartan is Cuillins of Skye. The other three are Blue Ramsay, Thistle and Jaggy Thistle. The earthy colours of the feileadh mhor are great for a more traditional look, but I do like the purple of the thistle tartans, and I've never seen that many people who wear them either.
What do you love most about wearing a kilt, and the question everyone is dying to know: what do you wear underneath a kilt?
The best thing about wearing a kilt? Where do you start?! They're incredibly comfortable, great conversation starters, work well in formal dress, or more relaxed t-shirt and boots, and they keep Scotland's past and culture alive.
During the winter months, people frequently question, "Do you not get cold wearing that?". Not really, I quite like the cold weather, and the material is incredibly thick, so lovely and warm. That doesn't make them unbearable to wear in the summer though as they're open at the bottom, so you get a gentle breeze… which I feel helps answer your last question!