"Having long been possessed with an ardent desire to see the Distilleries of Scotland...", Alfred Barnard, 1885

"O Thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink", from Scotch Drink, by Robert Burns

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Quick update

Hi folks, just back from a fantastic tour round the north of Scotland covering 12 distillery sites, 9 of which were visited by Barnard between 1885 and 1886.  Sadly my luck with the weather ran out and after blue skies at Campbletown and Islay I now had to endure snow, wind, cold and rain as winter reminded me that it's not quite finished yet.  Barnard only made one trip north in winter, to see the now demolished Nevis Distillery, but he was travelling around by train and horse and cart so that's perhaps understandable.  I wonder if the rail service complained of the wrong type of snow on the line back then?

Cuillin Mountains, Skye
I did enjoy fantastic weather on one of the two days I was driving the most on, the pictures here testament to that.  I had never been north of Skye before and my journey round the northwest corner of Scotland offered spectacular views that kept stopping me in my tracks.  This part of God's own country is often a bleak and empty wilderness where mountains stand in stark relief against the landscape, in contrast to the closer peaks and glens of the central highland massifs, and the coastline is battered by Atlantic waves that carve out dramatic cliffs and secluded bays with golden sands.

Secret Beach, Durness
I am back at my writing desk now and will post up the next distilleries, Oban and Tobermory, from Friday evening onward.  Hoping for a quicker turnaround on the next stories as I can't wait to get back on the road for the next stage.  Despite the weather it was great fun driving on some amazing roads through epic scenery and also meeting some wonderful people at the distilleries, and I can't wait for more of the same as the days get longer and the distilleries closer.  For now, I am pouring a dram, sharpening my quill pen and reminiscing about some of the oldest distilleries in Scotland.  See you soon.

Road to Diabaig, Torridon

An Teallach, Wester Ross