A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about whisky

Up North

sunny 14 °C
View Speyside on IainT's travel map.

Spey Fishing

Spey Fishing

Instead of 10 days in Kyiv or Tirana for my September holiday, I ended up with 3 nights in Aberlour - Speyside in Scotland.

Aye, the virus rages on…

It was a fairly random choice. I decided on midweek because accommodation is easier to get than on weekends. I decided on this part of the country because I know people here. I have driven through Aberlour and this part of Speyside countless times, always thinking I need to stop and spend time here sometime.

Craigellachie Bridge

Craigellachie Bridge

So, Aberlour it was. The town is tiny. Just under 1,000 people. However, it is at the heart of Speyside whisky. The Spey is one of the country’s best salmon rivers, so the fishing is a big part of the economy too.

You find whisky distilleries around almost every corner.

Random Distillery

Random Distillery

You see fisherman dotted along the river at regular intervals.

Aberlour

Aberlour

I chose Dowans - a small, family hotel - to stay in. I was very happy with it. Good value, excellent room, good food and service, quiet and relaxed. Just as importantly these days, their hygiene measures were spot on. Even the other guests managed to comply.

Hotel Restaurant

Hotel Restaurant

Partly because I knew about the excellent hygiene, I chose to eat there in the evening as well. I ate/drank in two other places while I was away. The cafe (Fresh) in the village was also right on the ball with hygiene. So was the Captain’s Table in Findhorn.

Findhorn Bay

Findhorn Bay

Three nights is too short, but in the circumstances it has been a godsend.

Posted by IainT 06:33 Archived in Scotland Tagged whisky scotland findhorn aberlour Comments (0)

Šljivovica, Anyone?

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View Islay on IainT's travel map.

I’ve written about getting to Islay (and I may also write about getting back) but what’s on offer on the island?

I had 48 hours there, so it was enough time to get a flavour without being long enough for a proper appreciation. It was mid May, so the days were long. On the other hand the weather was a bit... Scottish. The wind did mean my visit was midge free - another positive!

The whole Islay experience is too much for a single blog post, so this is part 1.

If you like malt whisky - of the island variety, which is very different to the likes of Speyside - it must be heaven. I do like it, but I was in the middle of one of my regular dry spells so a whiff of the angels’ share was good enough for me.

Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich

You’ll find 8 distilleries on Islay, and a ninth is being built. With a tiny bit of effort (5 minutes on a ferry and a few minutes on a bus) you could also visit the one on Jura.

Jura Ferry

Jura Ferry

Lagavulin is across the road from the bed and breakfast I stayed in. Laphroaig and Ardbeg are an easy stroll from there. Bowmore is smack in the of the town of the same name - you’ll pass it. Bruichladdich is on the road to Port Charlotte.

Lagavulin

Lagavulin

Off the beaten track, you’ll find Kilchoman. It’s worth a special mention as it’s Scotland’s second smallest distillery, and it’s very new. It started production in 2005 and is on a farm. The cow shed was converted.

Kilchoman

Kilchoman

To get there you leave the Port Charlotte road for the single track road to Machir Bay for about 5 miles. I had coffee and a scone in their cafe - a pleasant spot and excellent home baking.

Nice Spot

Nice Spot

Bunnahabhain is also hidden from view along a single track road, but on the other side of the island facing Jura.

Bunnahabhain

Bunnahabhain

The only one I didn’t see is Caol Ila, which is also away from the main roads not far from Port Askaig.

I sometimes wondered if I was “missing out” by not doing a couple of tours and sampling some of the goodies. Everyone else seemed to be getting stuck in! Well it’ll still be there next time I visit.

I also have to admit having done more than my fair share of distillery tours - Strathisla, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray and Glenfarclas on Speyside, Blair Atholl in Pitlochry, Bushmills in Northern Ireland, and even the Père Magloire Calvados distillery in Normandy.

I shouldn’t forget Keti’s dad’s home made šljivovica (plum brandy) sampled in his house near Despotovac (Serbia) during a massive thunderstorm. Long story, that... My eyesight may recover eventually.

Posted by IainT 07:15 Archived in Scotland Tagged whisky scotland islay islandlife Comments (0)

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