On the Road in Scotland: Part 1
Personally, as may be becoming apparent, my tipple of choice comes from within the Scotch family. Had you asked me last year, it would have been Speyside all the way. While Speyside is still generally my go to (more on this in another post, no doubt) I have found myself warming to the Islays. That traumatic experience all those years ago with the Laphroaig did not put me off and here I am, ready to chew peat with the best of them. Indeed, it is the reason I am enjoying the Dram Club so much. I am being taken out of my comfort zone in the comfort of my living room!
Having said that, of the trips I have been on in my life, some of the best have been travelling around Scotland. Going from distillery to distillery (staying overnight and eschewing the use of the car at each, of course) and sampling the nuances and quirks that occur within each region. So it was: I was finishing up at University; I was having a beer (forgive me) with a friend when an idea was born.
It really was as simple as that. Sitting with a pint and I said "you know, I'd love to do a driving trip of Scotland." "I'd love that" came the reply and a ferry was booked. No backing out at this point. My friend and I were very different in our tastes. His pilgrimage was to Islay and mine to Speyside. More precisely, his was to Laphroaig and mine to The Macallan. With that in mind, being that those regions are reasonably far apart we took a week and plotted out the delightfully imprecise map you see above. As you can see, and I'm sure you already knew, whisky is a serious business in Scotland. Incidentally, this map was marked up over a very well received Johnnie Walker Blue Label quarter bottle. Another for the must-buy list! Please excuse the crude photo of the map - it very much predates the idea of this blog. Had I known I would be sharing it, I would have used a scanner.
The journey we agreed on was this:
Day 1 - Drive to Pitlochry to visit The Edradour with a stop at Aberfeldy en route.
Day 2 - Drive to Craigelachie to the Macallan (all praise) passing by Balmoral Castle with a stop at Royal Lochnagar.
Day 3 - Drive to Skye for Talisker stopping by Inverness to visit Leakey's Bookshop.
Day 5 - A long, but stunning drive to catch the ferry to Islay (distressingly a day without a dram).
Day 5/6 - Spent on Islay with the car abandoned doing a tour de force
Day 7 - Drive back to catch the ferry home.
With a plan in our heads, map in our hands and me behind the wheel we set off on what would become 1,200 miles and a week I will always remember with exceptional fondness.
To be continued.